Traditional Luau Foods

If you’ve ever been to an authentic luau while visiting Hawaii, you can expect there to be a few things at each. The first is the beautiful setting. Next, you can guarantee that there will be great entertainment for the evening, and maybe even a few pre-luau activities. And finally you know that there will be a delicious buffet that is filled with staples of Hawaiian cuisine, many dishes dating all the way back to the days of ancient Hawaii, when luaus were reserved for royalty and the feast was fit for a King or Queen.

The buffet is always one of the most anticipated parts of the luau, and when you have an all you can eat setting, with so many incredible dishes, you can expect to be heading back for seconds, possibly thirds, and of course the dessert. The best idea is to take very small portions so you don't stuff yourself on the first trip, and then you can head back to try more, or return for more of what was the tastiest on the first go round. There are a few dishes that are staples of the buffet and a luau wouldn’t be a luau without these dishes:

Kalua Pork – prepared in the underground over, the whole pig is placed inside the pit, which is lined with banana leaves directly on top of the heat. The pig is wrapped with the leaves, topped with more heat, covered with dirt and more leaves, and finally a burlap sack topped with rocks. This underground oven creates the perfect environment for cooking the pig, and is as old of a technique as any in Hawaii

Locally caught fish – every luau will include fresh fish that was caught very recently, ensuring it is as fresh as possible for the party. Common fish on the luau menu include Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Ono.

Island fruits and veggies – we all know that veggies are an important part of any diet, and that holds true at a luau. You can always expect to find a fresh salad, veggies that have been prepared an assortment of different ways, and even purple sweet potatoes, which are a common side dish in Hawaii.

Dessert – when you’re on vacation, you can splurge a little right? Have a slice of the Haupia Pie, enjoy a pineapple bar, or dig into the bread pudding. A luau is time to unwind, so take advantage. And don’t forget the after dinner (or before, or even during) cocktails, including a tropical mai tai or locally brewed beer.  

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