Saturday, April 12, 2014


 PUPUS, Hawaiian snacks similar to hors d’oeuvers, tapas, and canapés,
make up the third segment of my A-to-Z Challenge theme.

 Kalua means “to bake in an  underground oven” known as an imu. A very short excerpt from my novel With Fiery Vengeance illustrates a sliver of the preparation behind that luau pork you devoured on your last trip to Hawaii.

Wedding guests had stationed themselves two and three-deep around Uncle Mondo’s imu, the underground pit he had prepared for baking the pig. Since last evening, he had directed all the outside projects. He had instructed the keiki to scour the property for kindling and fist-sized rocks.
“Get plenny twigs and small branches ’cause we need a blazing hot fire to heat these stones,” he’d called out to the older children as they headed to the overgrowth beyond the landscaped yard. To the young ones, he said, “Help your mothers gather ti leaves, grasses, and banana leaves.”

Aunty Vai and some of her friends had rubbed the pig inside and out with rock salt. She refused my help, citing my lack of experience. “Need everything for go just right,” she’d said. Though I had been born in Hawaiˋi, and visited my son in Hawi every year, it didn’t seem to qualify me for participation in long-standing rituals. Or else she secretly thought I was incompetent. Her one concession had been to let me help pound taro roots into poi. My arms would be sore for a week.

Everyone watched in anticipation as the men removed the baked pig from the ground. Then someone yelled, “Outta the way, make a path.” Rick grabbed Cary and Cassie by the arm and pulled them to the side. Men and boys grunted with the effort of carrying the bundle to the back door of the house, Nate grinning the entire way.

No time to build an imu? Check out Chef Sam Choy’s oven-roasted kalua pig:


  1. That sounds yummy! I don't think I've ever had Hawaiian food before.

  2. I have seen this as a child as one of our neighbors did this in Fort Worth, Texas if you can believe it.

  3. Thanks for visiting, Deniz and Glenda.

    Glenda, I wonder if the neighbors had just returned from a trip to Hawaii.

  4. Roast suckling pig is delicious, and is a favourite in Jamaica too. I like your post.

  5. Dear Gail, how wonderful and a greatly atmospheric entry, I felt as if I were there!!! jean :)

  6. I saw a special recently that showed them cooking in a pit like that. Amazing how wrapped up in leaves, meat and vegetables cook so well.

  7. Mmmm... Hawaiian BBQ...
    Yeah it's time to go make lunch hah

    Thanks for stopping by this week!

    AJ @ Naturally Sweet
    An A-Z Co-host blog
    Tweet me! @ayjaylauer

  8. Michelle, I agree that the pork is delicious cooked that way.

    Jean, glad you enjoyed the visit. An open-air luau is always relaxing.

    Thank you both for visiting. I'll be around again next week!

  9. Alex, wrapping the meat in banana leaves gives it an unbelievable flavor.


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