The Essential Guide to Taro: How Kalo is Eaten Around the World

Here are 12 other places that include taro in their diet (and one that doesn’t).


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Taro around the world

 

Azores (Portugal)

Known as inhame or coco, it’s commonly steamed with potatoes, veggies and meats or used as a dessert. Inhames fritos, or fried taro root, is a traditional Azorean specialty.

 

Costa Rica

Known as tiquisque, it’s eaten in soups and stews as a replacement for potatoes. Olla de carne, Spanish for “pot of meat,” is a Costa Rican beef stew that uses taro root.

 

Taiwan

Before rice, taro was one of the staple foods. It’s in desserts and fried as chips. Taro balls are traditional Taiwanese desserts using mashed taro shaped into balls.

 

Fiji

Known as dalo, taro has been a staple in the Fijian diet for centuries. Taro Day is celebrated on the first full moon in May. Rourou is a traditional Fijian dish of sautéed taro leaves often simmered in coconut milk.

 

Korea

Known as toran, the corm is stewed and the stem, most often dried, is stir-fried. Dried taro stems are often found in the spicy beef soup yukgaejang.

 

Maldives

Called ala, it’s widely grown in the southern atolls. Garudiya, a traditional fish soup, is often eaten with boiled taro and grated coconut.

 

Pakistan

Known as eddoe or arbi, it’s commonly served with beef, lamb or mutton or in curries. Arbi patta are fritters made from the leaves, which are rolled in a flour batter then fried or steamed and finished with red chili and other spices.

 

Jamaica

Wild taro, or dasheen, is considered an agricultural weed.

 

Nepal

Nepalese use all parts of the taro plant, known as karkalo. The corms, or pidalu, are steamed, fried or cooked. The leaves and tender stalks are often cooked together like spinach or mustard greens. Karkalo ko tarkari is a veggie curry dish made with the leaves, stems and root.

 

Philippines

Known as gabi, the leaves, stems and corms are all eaten. Laing is made from taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and salted with fermented shrimp or fish bagoong. Sinigang is a stew made with pork or beef and diced corms. Ginataan is a dessert of coconut milk and taro.

 

Cook Islands

It’s the main crop of the islands and surpasses all other crops in terms of land area devoted to production. The root is boiled and eaten. Leaves are cooked with coconut milk, onions and fish. Rukau is a dish of cooked taro leaves and coconut cream. Ika mata is a raw-fish salad that’s often served with cooked taro.

 

Kenya

Known as nduma, it’s commonly boiled and served with vegetables or in stews.

 

Rome

Known as colocasia, the early Romans used taro the way potatoes are used today.

 

Read more about taro in the December issue of HONOLULU Magazine, on newsstands now, or click here for the digital edition. You can also purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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