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Unless you’ve been to Hawaii, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of poi. One of the Aloha State’s most traditional ingredients, poi has always been much loved by Hawaiians, but it wasn’t until recently that it’s started to make appearances in innovative dishes at restaurants across Hawaii, from fine dining restaurants to casual cafés and even bakeries.

The primary ingredient in poi is taro, a starchy root vegetable with a pale purple hue. Playing a significant role in Hawaii’s heritage, the simple taro plant (called kalo in Hawaiian) has been a respected cultural symbol for generations.