Friday, July 19, 2013

Traditional Hawaiian Poi Supper

In Honolulu during the late 1800s, the Poi Supper was the traditional culinary entertainment for the Hawaiian Ali'i (nobility) and the elite haole (non native residents). There were strict rules for the Poi Supper: the decor and table arrangements had to be as special and meaningful as the cuisine. Fragrant leis were draped on each chair, while floweres, ti leaves, and ferns were scattered down the middle of the table. In the centre was a display of gorgeous tropical fruit. Elegant crystal glasses and heavy silver cutlery were contrasted with poi cups made from coconut shells and bowls made from koa wood. The menu was usually a hybrid selection of Hawaiian and Western specialties. Typically, the starter was a fruit cocktail, f'ollowed by a fish steamed in ti leaves, pork laulau, poi, and western side dishes. Dessert was baked bananas or coconut cake. Princess Ka'iulani, the last Crown Princess of Hawaii would have been an honored guest at many such occasion. She would have worn a floral holoku or formal mu'umu'u while her escort would have been wearing a loose white silk shirt with a colorful cummerbund.

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