In my recent visit to Hawaii (The Big Island) I searched out the opportunity to try Kava (or Awa), a traditional Hawaiian (and Polynesian and Micronesian) drink made from a local root that allegedly produces a feeling of relaxation and fights off depression. It acts as a mild sedative. Wikipedia has a detailed article on Kava and Kava culture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava
I like to believe that there is no food (or drink) that I can not come to like, but I must confess that Kava will take some time. Although I like bitter tastes, Kava has a taste that is both bitter, dirt-like, and medicine-like. It is hard to describe, and, interestingly enough, the wiki article does not describe the taste. I was supposed to drink the entire cup in one draught, but found that I could not. But I did feel more relaxed, although perhaps that was simply a function of no longer drinking kava! Still kava is part of Pacific culture, and various forms of kava are available on the internet.Kava - Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
, on Flickr
I ordered my Kava from Kanaka Kava, which is run by a very friendly woman, Johanna Gibson (perhaps slightly counter-cultural) and her husband Zachary. The kava was kept in a large stone bowl, poured into a coconut shell cup. In addition, they serve traditional Hawaiian food such as Poke (raw fish), Squid Luau (described as steamed taro leaves and octopus with coconut milk - I'm not sure about whether it is squid or octopus), poi, taro, breadfruit, and opihi (a type of mollusk). They also serve Kavalada (a Kava smoothie) and, oddly, a kava chocolate bar. For $35 you can buy a gallon of kava to go, which is a commitment to relaxation that I am not yet ready to make.
Coconut Grove Marketplace
75-5803 Alii Drive, Space B6
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
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