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A new ʻulu cookbook offers a unique take on a Hawaiʻi staple

Lillian Tsang

Beloved local chef Sam Choy has written over a dozen cookbooks and this holiday season he's sharing his newest one — Sam Choy’s ‘Ulu Cookbook, Hawaiʻi's Breadfruit Recipes.

Choy grew up on Oʻahu's North Shore, where he said he experienced a “mixture of Polynesia,” by watching others around him cook authentic breadfruit recipes.

“Watching them cook the breadfruit the way they did back then and the way I like it,” Choy explained. “You know, under charcoal and get all black and kind of white, and then peel the outside and just dip that fresh hot right into coconut milk.”

He said that although there are creative ways to cook breadfruit, the taste has to remain the same.

“I think that's what has gotten me a lot of places because people like what I do, because I haven't really strayed away from island cuisine,” Choy said. “But I've kind of beefed it up a little bit in presentation.”

His new cookbook is a comprehensive guide to the handling and preparation of ‘ulu, done in collaboration with the late Gay Wong, the Hawai’i ʻUlu Cooperative, and assisted by Betty Shimabukuro. It’s out on bookshelves now through Mutual Publishing.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Nov. 15, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Lillian Tsang is the senior producer of The Conversation. She has been part of the talk show team since it first aired in 2011. Contact her at ltsang@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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