Not only is there a lot to do at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, but I found out on a recent visit that there is a lot to learn as well. Brimming with Hawaiian culture, the resort is a treasure trove of knowledge.
One of the first things guests see when they arrive at the resort is a large patch where taro plants grow. Once mashed and pounded, a taro plant yields poi, one of the most sacred dishes in Hawai’i. It’s high in vitamins, low in fat and easy to digest, making it a favorite baby food as well as part of the main dish for family dinners.
In fact, taro and poi are considered to be a member of a traditional Hawaiian family. When poi is served at the table, all conflict must immediately cease because the spirit of the family’s ancestors is present in the dish.
One of the island’s legendary taro farmers, Calvin, took time to show me how to pick the perfect taro plant from the resort’s patch, then pound it into poi using traditional tools. It was my first taste of poi and the first time I heard the storied history of the plant.
And here’s a fun fact about Calvin: he’s such a legend in the area that he is actually a part of Aulani. Calvin and his son are two of the people featured in the massive, painted mural that encircles the resort’s main lobby.