This is a taro laulau. = This is a taro wrapping. The History of Hawaiian Lau Lau Pork:
Lau Lau translates to Leaf, leaf.
The kalo plant (taro) is so central to Hawaiian culture that Hawaiian origin stories place kalo as the elder brother of man. Both the leaves and the corm (root) were central to the Hawaiian diet, and the plant was intricately woven into every part of Hawaiian culture. The taro (luau) leaf is the essential Lau Lau ingredient which is very healthy and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The Lau Lau wrapper is a ti leaf which is a tough waxy leaf that can withstand high temperatures. In Hawaiian culture, ti leaves hold ceremonial and medicinal importance as they are regarded as having protective powers and believed to ward off negative energy. Lau Lau is essential to any lu’au gathering. Islanders may judge your feast by the quality of your Lau Lau. Did it have a true island flavor? Enough saltiness, fatty or meatiness to it?
Traditional Lau Lau is known as a form of cooking and not a specific dish. The cooking method involves chunks of a fatty meat (usually pork) and a piece of salted fish (salted cod – also called butterfish) and some sweet potato wrapped in taro (luau) leaves. It is then tied up in a ti leaf packet and steamed in an underground imu. An imu oven is a large pit dug into the ground with a layer of hot rocks over a fire (wet banana leaves are layered over the hot rocks). The Lau Lau packets are placed on top of the banana leaves for steaming and another layer of banana leaves are covered on top. Then everything is buried with a layer of dirt to slowly steam for hours.
Now days, many Hawaiians will also cook Lau Lau in a pressure cooker, rice cooker, or bake in an oven to reduce the need for an underground oven. Other types of meat used could be any fresh-caught fish of the day, turkey tails, chicken thighs, or corned beef to add a fatty content. It is a personal preference for most islanders and everyone has their own special technique for Lau Lau.