Lau Lau Making | Highway Inn

Our lau lau. Handmade with love. A tradition in Hawai‘i.

We’ve been making this iconic, traditional Hawaiian dish for 75 years.

What goes into making our mouth-watering lau lau? It starts with a bed of lū‘au leaves. Lū‘au leaf is a Hawaiian staple and similar in texture and taste to spinach or collard greens, with a deep, savory taste. Pork shoulder and a cut of salted butterfish (or succulent chicken thigh pieces, for our chicken version) are placed inside. It’s all wrapped in two tī leaves with the stems tied in a traditional Hawaiian way with a knot at the top. It takes a lot of dexterity and practice to do it right! “It takes a lot of strength to keep it tight,” says Monica Toguchi, owner of Highway Inn. The lau lau are steamed for about two hours, slow-cooked to seal in the flavors. Hot, fresh and delicious, the tī leaves are snipped right before serving.

Did You Know… Sometimes the meat inside lau lau may have a pink color; this is not indicative of doneness, but a factor of the myoglobin content and pH of the meat. We cook our lau lau thoroughly to safe temperature for the meat, and to ensure that the lū‘au leaves are also safe to eat. Uncooked taro leaves can cause an itchy throat or other reactions.