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In old Hawaii, laulau was assembled by taking a few luau leaves and placing a few pieces of fish and pork in the center. The ends of the luau leaf are folded and wrapped again in ti leaf. When ready, all the laulau is placed in an underground oven, called an imu. Hot rocks are placed on the dish and covered in banana leaves and buried again. A few hours later the laulau is ready to eat.
In modern times, the dish uses taro leaves, salted butterfish, and either pork, beef, or chicken and is usually steamed on the stove. Laulau is a typical plate lunch dish and is usually served with a side of rice and macaroni salad.
Similar Polynesian dishes include Tongan "lupulu" (containing corned beef) and Samoan "palusami" and "fai'ai" (which can contain fish, eel, shrimp, etc. alone or in combination).
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