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opening spread for "the joy of limu" article, Ka Pili Kai Hooilo 2019

The Joy of Limu

by Miwa Tamanaha

Limu is food, first and foremost, for fish, forming part of the foundation of a complex trophic web that spans from plankton to people. Limu is also food for people, probably most commonly brought to mind as an essential ingredient in our lunchtime poke bowls. Limu has extensive uses in all manner of foods, both Hawaiian and the many other ethnic types represented in our communities, and at events from baby parties to New Year celebrations. Pickled, salted, dried, raw, chopped, fried, boiled, no matter the form, limu for eating is a gift shared among friends and family for affirming ties.

Unfortunately, as urbanization and invasive species pressures increase, the limu which we eat so fondly is disappearing from our coastlines, and only by deliberate effort can we reverse that trend. The recipes on the following pages propose a different, more abundant relationship with limu, from a taste being lost to us, to an ingredient that is vibrantly present, both on our shorelines and in our bellies. In caring for our ocean places, we can all be a part of bringing these recipes to life and to our tables. From soups and salads to crispy snacks, explore and experiment with the tastes and textures of this traditional, yet novel, ingredient.


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