Poi has always received reactions as mixed as the very bag it’s sold in. Some swear by this Hawaiian staple, while others swear to never put poi in their mouths. That’s likely the reason why poi has quickly become the darkhorse in a nationwide contest for America’s most iconic regional foods.

10best.com, part of USA Today, hopes to put favorite foods on the map by asking foodies which delectable eat most defines a city? The website narrowed down its list to 20 semifinalists. They include salivating selections, like Cincinnati chilli or Philadelphia’s Philly cheese steaks.

While preference may determine where poi sits on your taste palate, the same could also apply to other foods on the list. I’m not really a seafood person, which means more than half the listed choices I would not vote for. To be totally honest, I probably would not even bother trying them.

UNLESS, I traveled to the destination. I am all for experiencing a place and its culture, and when food is the language of the natives, I fully comprehend. I feel like anyone who travels should adopt such a mindset or, in this case, taste buds. It took me a while to really give in, but I am glad I opened my mind to tasty (and not-so-tasty) foods.

Contest aside, you must at least try a spoonful of poi while on vacation in Hawaii. You may or may not like it, but hey, at least you can say you tried! Food embodies a culture and connects you to the essence of a place. Whether you try poi at a luau or a grocery store, someone worked hard to prepare this traditional dish, so don’t let it go to waste!

Photo Courtesy: Screenshot from 10best.com


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