At the core of the ancient Hawaiian diet was the taro (kalo in the Hawaiian language) plant. Taro was used most commonly used to create the Hawaiian's staple food, poi. Poi is made by roasting/steaming the taro corm (or root) and then mashing it into a paste. The final product is generally purplish in color and traditionally eaten by hand.
Other than the taro plant, the ancient Hawaiians introduced a variety of other edible plants. These included:
- ‘Uala (Sweet potatoes)
- ‘Ulu (breadfruit)
- Coconut (niu)
- Sugar Cane (ko)
- Polynesian arrowroot (pia)
- Kukui Tree (kukui nuts were crushed to make inamona)
Non-native animals where also brought to the Hawaiian island chain for food and pets. These included:
- Pua‘a (pigs)
- Moa (chickens)
- Poi dogs
Hawaiians utilized the ocean for net and deep sea fishing. Hawaiians were also very proficient in aquaculture. In the coastal shallows they built large loko i‘a (fishponds), which they kept well stocked with ‘ama ‘ama (mullet), and awa ( milkfish).