Along with the chocolate-covered mac nuts and Kona coffee that visitors might bring back as Hawaiian souvenirs, it is very likely they will be taking home poi, too. The mashed-up taro paste can be a tricky thing to travel with because – while it comes in a bag – it is neither a liquid nor a solid.
So the big question is always the same for travelers: “Can I bring poi on the plane?”
Back when the 3-oz. limit first went into effect, bags of poi seemed to sneak under the radar. I used to carry on poi from Kauai to Oahu all the time. Airport screeners have since become more strict in what they allow as carry-ons, and because poi falls into that gray area of liquid or solid, it is likely the poi will not make the cut.
Passing over the poi will no doubt turn travelers sour. One, because the bag probably costed them a pretty penny, and two, poi is perhaps the most valued island food. Hawaiians not only considered this an important staple but also a distant ancestor. The main ingredient in poi is kalo (taro), which Hawaiians believed to be their brother – Haloa.
That’s why it is so important not to waste poi, and by waste, I mean surrendering it to airport security. All confiscated items are discarded, so if you find yourself in this sticky situation, scarf down that poi!