Young’s Fish Market’s Laulau Collaboration with Lanai Tabura Launches Today
And all I can say is Oh Wow, Laulau. (I know, I know.)
oxtail laulau ($9.50) can be added to any plate at young’s Fish market in march.
Photo: Christi Young
Sometimes the best ideas come over lunch. Of course, it all depends who you are eating with.
In this case, it was Young’s Fish Market President and CEO Daniel Young and comedian, Emmy Award-winning TV host and (my favorite) Food Truck Race winner Lanai Tabura. The conversation turned to Young’s signature family recipe for laulau, which goes back to his grandparents' original Fish Market takeout counter on Liliha Street. Young mentioned he wanted to create his own spins on the traditional pork, butterfish and chicken combinations. Lanai agreed. And their collab oxtail laulau was conceived.
Fortunately for us.
The Chinese-style oxtail laulau is available today at both the Kapolei and Kalihi locations of Young’s Fish Market. The oxtail, a favorite of Young’s family, sits in shoyu-and-ginger-based marinade, then is braised for 30 to 40 minutes. Next, it’s wrapped in leaves and steamed for four hours.
The result in the laulau we tried for the media preview last week was tender oxtail encompassed in a generous serving of Young’s perfectly seasoned lū‘au leaves. The oxtail easily falls apart and retains the slight gaminess that I love. Once the bigger chunks were gone, I dove in with my fingers and pulled every shred of meat off of the bones, an always sticky but satisfying job. For a Chinese girl who grew up in Hawaiʻi, it was the ultimate version of comfort food. For my Okinawan husband who got to try the few scraps I was kind enough to bring home, it was the same.
Young says every laulau holds about 10 ounces of oxtail, which was just the right balance with the amount of leaves in the 1-pound serving. Right now, plans are to make at least 75 oxtail laulau every day, but it may be adjusted if it runs out.
The oxtail laulau with Tabura is the first of monthly specials that are planned for the year. Young, and a post on @youngsfishmarket on Instagram, hinted at a turkey tail version in the works. Corned beef and vegetarian options are also in discussion—Young’s already has a vegetarian laulau on the regular menu, filled with sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash and tofu. When I stopped in to pick up my plate at City Square, there was talk of jackfruit experiments.
“I personally am excited to try working with some of the ingredients that you would not have thought to put in a laulau,” Young says, “like possibly beef tongue or tendon. I’m also looking forward to being able to find some great locally sourced ingredients to put in our laulau.”
I can’t wait to find out what is next. But I am planning to make another run for oxtail laulau before it runs out this month. But this time I’m getting two, one for me and one for my husband. Because there’s no reason why I should share.
$9.50 for the laulau, $14.75 for a mini plate with with rice or poi and lomi salmon. Young’s Fish Market: Kalihi City Square, 1286 Kalani St., (808) 841-4885; and Kapolei Commons, 4480 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, (808) 312-1377, youngsfishmarket.com