Lana‘i Feature

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On Lanai Today

Despite its fancy resorts, Lanai still has that languid-Hawaii feel. The island is 97% owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, who is in the process of revitalizing the island. Old-time residents are a mix of just about everything: Hawaiian, Chinese, German, Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, French, Puerto Rican, English, Norwegian—you name it. When Dole owned the island in the early 20th century and grew pineapples, the plantation was divided into ethnic camps, which helped retain cultural cuisines. Potluck dinners feature sashimi, Portuguese bean soup, laulau (morsels of pork, chicken, butterfish, or other ingredients steamed in ti leaves), potato salad, teriyaki steak, chicken hekka (a gingery Japanese chicken stir-fry), and Jell-O. The local language is pidgin, a mix of words as complicated and rich as the food. Newly arrived residents have added to the cultural mix.

Updated: 2014-06-23

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