“Ka Uluwehi o ke Kai”


“Plants of the Sea”- na Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole

Limu. In this instance, seaweeds. A dizzying array of colors, textures, tastes, habitats. An integral part of our culinary experience. And new species are still being discovered, especially at Papahānaumokuākea.

In the realm of “Donʻt ask. Donʻt tell,” it’s the height of “mahaʻoi-ness” to ask, “Wea you got da kohu?” As if anyone would share the location of their gathering places. Especially these days, when so many desire so much. One must simply appreciate and enjoy the gifts of the sea.

Back then, before poke bars and poke bowls were found on the continent, before sesame and mayo and sriracha became part of the mix, limu played a big role in the deliciousness of seafoods and stews. Sometimes subtle, sometimes nearly overpowering, we have very particular opinions of how and when to use limu. Very often, poke just consisted of fish, limu, inamona, and paʻakai. Simple. Tasty. Fresh.

Kohu has a nearly overpowering iodine taste, and it’s used sparingly. Still sold in salted balls, traditions continue. A favorite when camping at the shore is bright green, crunchy pālahalaha. Pick, rinse, eat. Kala is part of ritual because it can mean to release or to forgive.