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Kau Kau - 10th Anniversary Edition

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Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands

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  • Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands (Back Cover)

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NOTE: THIS TITLE IS ON PRE-ORDER STATUS. Orders placed now will be fulfilled on or around February 17, 2020.

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The beloved, bestselling book is back! Kau kau: It’s the all-purpose pidgin word for food, probably derived from the Chinese “chow chow.” On Hawai‘i’s sugar and pineapple plantations, kau kau came to encompass the amazing range of foods brought to the Islands by immigrant laborers from East and West: Japanese, Portuguese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Koreans and others. On the plantations, lunch break was “kau kau time,” and the kau kau could be anything from adobo to chow fun to tsukemono.

In Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands, author Arnold Hiura—a writer with roots in the plantation culture—explores the rich history and heritage of food in Hawai‘i, with little-known culinary tidbits, interviews with chefs and farmers, and a treasury of rare photos and illustrations. This hardcover book includes the essential—the “Kau Kau 100 Ethnic Potluck Primer,” a guide to 100 different items commonly found in local cuisine—and the esoteric—a 1920’s recipe for a “poi cocktail”—in a single, well-researched volume. From the early Polynesians to the chefs of fusion cuisine, Kau Kau follows those who have shaped Island society with their food and folkways: immigrant plantation workers from East and West, the military in wartime, modern entrepreneurs who tap the potential of local tastes and diversified agriculture, and many others.

Recognized by critics and readers as a landmark chronicle of the Islands’ unique culinary landscape, the book received the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award of Excellence in Cookbooks in 2010. The tenth anniversary reprint gives a new generation of food lovers a glimpse into the ways Hawai‘i’s food and culture are inextricably intertwined—and why. The new edition includes fresh material exploring the evolution of food in Hawai‘i during the decade since the book was first published, and a foreword from respected Island chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Group.

Author Arnold Hiura is an independent writer, editor and author. He is the co-author of James Beard Award-winning chef Alan Wong’s cookbook, The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong (2011 winner, Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award of Excellence in Cookbooks; 2012 International Association of Culinary Professionals “Chefs and Restaurants” category winner) and in 2013 collaborated with Derek Kurisu of KTA Super Stores and Chef Jason Takemura of Pagoda Floating Restaurant on From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now (2014 winner, Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award of Excellence in Cookbooks). Hiura is the president and executive director of the Hawai‘i Japanese Center in Hilo, Hawai‘i Island. He previously served as editor of the Hawai‘i Herald and curator for the Japanese American National Museum. He was born and raised in the sugar plantation town of Pāpa‘ikou, about five miles north of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, where he and his wife, Eloise, reside today.

“A great history lesson of Hawai‘i through its food. Uncle Arnold captures the soul of Hawai‘i cuisine.” —Chef Sheldon Simeon, Tin Roof and Lineage, Maui; two-time Top Chef Fan Favorite

“Kau Kau is a must-read for anyone looking to understand Hawai‘i’s diverse food traditions and their role in our collective identity. Food speaks to us all and connects us. Arnold Hiura does a wonderful job of sharing our rich narrative history and contextualizing Hawai‘i’s vibrant food culture. E ola ka mo‘olelo—let the stories live.” —Monica Toguchi Ryan, third-generation owner, Highway Inn, O‘ahu


Hardcover w/ dustjacket; 192 pp
Author: Arnold Hiura
Release Date: February 2020

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