Commonly served at Hawaiian luaus, Kalua pig is a cornerstone of Hawaiian cuisine. While unfamiliar to most mainlanders, this style of cooking is well-known among locals, chosen at restaurants throughout Maui for its rich history and sweet, satisfying taste. With a knack for mouthwatering Filipino and local dishes, Plantation Grindz of Kahului offers a brief guide to the history of Kalua pig. Here, they discuss what makes this dish a crowd favorite around the island.
Since becoming a celebrated tourist attraction at local luaus, Kalua pig is now cooked over gas and electric stoves. However, its name derives from a technique involving an underground oven called an imu.
These ovens were traditionally built in dirt pits about six feet long and four feet wide. In addition, Hawaiians place rocks at the bottom of the pit. This modification allows the oven to continue cooking the meat long after the flames have settled down, giving your favorite Filipino dishes adequate time to cook while avoiding an unpleasant burnt taste.
Once hot, the oven is lined with banana leaves, and the pig is cured with salt, stuffed with hot rocks, and wrapped in banana. Finally, the meat is covered with wet burlap and a layer of sand or soil. Once fully cooked, the pig is removed from the oven and shredded, resulting in tender, thin strips that perfectly complement traditional Filipino side dishes.
Whether you’re a local looking for a new haunt or an eager visitor from the mainland, Kalua pig is an integral part of an authentic Hawaiian experience. It’s also the perfect way to fill up on sweet, melt-in-your-mouth meat after a long day of surfing or sightseeing. Are you ready to try Kalua pig and other Filipino dishes locals swear by? Call (808) 873-3663 or follow the restaurant on Facebook for exclusive deals.