New Recipe: Kalua Pork with Cabbage

Although modern Hawaiian "luaus" are held every day for the entertainment of tourists, these ancient traditional celebrations have existed for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. In fact, these Polynesian feasts were held to celebrate anything from the launch of a new canoe to a battle victory or a ceremony to honor Hawaiian Gods.

The traditional center piece of these feasts was usually Kalua Pork, a whole pig that's wrapped in banana leaves and slow cooked with hot stones in an imu (underground oven). These days, the same dish can be recreated in a smoker, slow baked for hours in an oven, or cooked in a pressure cooker. The key ingredient is banana leaves which is available frozen at your local Asian grocer. Steaming meat with banana leaves imparts a unique subtle sweet flavor and aroma to the dish. 

Learn how to make this unique pulled pork dish, plus Hawaii's famous Huli Huli chicken, an authentic tuna poke bowl, and a very tropical coconut custard dessert at my "Taste of Hawaii" cooking class on June 29, 2023.

This class is part of the fifth season of my "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series at Urbana Park District's Phillips Recreation Center. This series is almost sold out, but there are just a few seats left for this luau-style dinner party which also includes an open bar with retro tropical tiki cocktails. Registration info is here.

More recipes and information about my cooking classes and pop-up events can always be found at For the latest news, feel free to subscribe to my monthly email newsletter.