The Luau Today
The feast fare is usually traditional: poi (from the taro plant), fish, kalau pig (cooked in an underground oven called an imu), sweet potatoes, poke, lomilomi salmon, squid, tropical fruits, haupia ( a coconut pudding), and more. The name “luau” evolved from a dish of taro (luau) leaves, coconut milk, and meat, usually chicken or squid. It is a staple on the feast menu. At a luau, be prepared to eat on mats on the floor and with your fingers! Luaus are held outside to enjoy the lush tropical scenery resplendent in palms, ferns and flowers (especially stunning orchids), and sometimes the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. As an attendee you are surrounded with the sights and smells of Hawaii. And you will probably be sporting a lei (necklace of flowers) as a welcome gesture.
Luaus are often accompanied by entertainment; ukuleles, drums and hula dancing. As luaus are a common feature across the Polynesian culture, some luaus feature Tahitian dances and the Samoan fire dance, spectacular at night. It’s a real party!
Attend a Luau on Your Visit
Some cruise lines offer shore excursions which incorporate a luau. The luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center is a popular one. And if you are in Hawaii enjoying a sunshine and beach vacation at a resort or hotel, be sure to ask your travel adviser about attending a luau on the island where you will be staying – it’s something you don’t want to miss.