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Hāhā with Pork and Dry ‘Ōpae

Eleanor Kalawai‘akamali‘iwahineli‘ili‘i Simeona Ahuna

 E Ho‘olako Mau, Vol II: All Hawaiian Cook Book. Tamar Luke Pane‘e.


Hāhā from 3 bundles of lū‘au 
Dry ‘ōpae
2 lbs chop suey pork  
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp Crisco or Puritan oil


8 hāhā (taro stalks) 1 foot long
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Wash and cut hāhā into 2 or 3-inch lengths. Cut the very thick hāhā lengthwise and peel them.
Bring water to a boil.
Add salt then hāhā in the water. Partially cover the pot until hāhā begins to wilt, then lower heat while water continues to boil gently.
Simmer hāhā for 10 minutes or until there is no "sting" noticeable to the taste. The hāhā should be quite soft.
Season with butter, salt, and serve hot.


Heat a saucepan until hot then add oil.
Add garlic, pork and ‘ōpae and stir fry until pork changes color.
Add a little water and bring to a boil.
Peel the skin from the hāhā and place them in a bowl of water. When all the hāhā have been stripped, drain water and cut into 1½ inches.
Add hāhā to pork and ‘ōpae and cook until soft.
Add shoyu or salt to taste.

About Hāhā

The word hāhā refers to the stalk of the kalo plant that supports the leaf and enfolds the stem (from the root word, hā). It cooks quickly when peeled and has the texture of cooked eggplant. It can be eaten as a vegetable, or it can be combined with pork, beef, butterfish, or salted salmon. Importantly, it must be cooked for at least 10 minutes before it is palatable.

When used in laulau, the hāhā is cut into small pieces and added to the laulau to make wrapping easier. It is not necessary to strip the hāhā when used in laulau because of the length of steaming. The Chinese pickle the hāhā and use it to stir fry with pork. When using as a stir-fry it is adviseable to peel. In recipes such as he‘e (octopus) lū‘au, the hāhā is removed, and only the lū‘au is used. It is a matter of preference.

The hāhā has been found to have the least amount of calcium oxalate.