Why Everyone’s Bucket List Should Have “Attend An Authentic Maui Luau”

Most visitors to Maui have at least heard of a luau, but may not have had the opportunity to attend one. But if you’re planning a trip, a luau is a fun, interesting and frequently delicious way to experience real Hawaiian culture.

Why Everyone's Bucket List Should Have "Attend An Authentic Maui Luau”

More than just a party with leis, a luau is a long-standing tradition of celebrations throughout the Islands. Luaus are a traditional party and celebration with a range of native Island dishes that are a culinary delight. If a luau isn’t on your bucket list, it’s time to add it.

History Of The Luau

Like many cultures, Hawaiian men and women didn’t have their meals together until 1819. Then King Kamehameha II banished this tradition and began eating with the women, eliminating the previous religious prohibitions on integrated dining. The name “luau” comes from a native food made from chicken and taro leaves combined with coconut milk and baked.

Traditionally, diners sat on Lauhala mats on the floor, and dined on traditional Poi, meats, and other locally grown staples. Everything served were “finger foods,” and “ruffled the feathers” of their prim-and-proper Victorian visitors.

Tables were set with white linens and an abundance of flowers, including settings and centerpieces along with leis worn by partygoers.

King Kalakaua was a huge fan of luaus, earning the nickname the “Merry Monarch.” His 50th birthday party saw 1500 invited guests.

Modern luaus are not quite as large, and include utensils. They’re just as much fun as the larger ones of previous years, even without Island royalty. Much of the same traditional food is included, as well as dancing the hula. (Hint: dancing the hula should also be on your bucket list.)  

Food Of The Luau

Commercial luaus are designed to give visitors a real taste of authentic Polynesian foods and a great time while you’re there.

Kalua pua’a, or a seasoned slow-roasted pork, is traditionally the main dish at a luau, and is cooked in the traditional manner—underground—for about 8 hours. Sweet potatoes and other traditional foods are also cooked in the underground pit wrapped in plenty of banana leaves.

Other traditional luau dishes include:

  • Poi
  • Chicken long rice
  • Lomi salmon
  • Haupia or coconut custard
  • Tropical fruit—mango, pineapple, papaya
  • Salad
  • Fish
  • Rice

Beverage choices include Mai Tais and other tropical drinks, including fruit punch and soft drinks for younger attendees.

Luaus are usually about three hours long and held at sunset on a beach, and include a wide range of entertainment.

Having A Luau-Themed Party At Home

If you haven’t made it to a real luau in Maui yet, it’s easy to make the luau the theme of your next outdoor party. If you’ve been to a luau and want to bring that experience to your friends and family, having one at home will be an event nobody will forget.  

Of course, the first step is to serve (somewhat) traditional Hawaiian foods, like Poi, Chicken Long Rice and Lomilomi Salmon. The Polynesian Cultural Center offers recipes for traditional luau foods, as well as a list of music and games for your backyard luau.

If you’re interested in learning more, find some Hawaiian cookbooks that offer more in the way of native cuisine to make your luau a little more authentic:

Include some flowers and leis for your guests, and you might not realize you’re not on a beach in Maui.

Stay At Hana Kai Maui Condos For Your Next Visit

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaii time to answer all of your questions. Get in touch today to begin reserving your visit to Hana Kai Maui.

Things You Shouldn’t Do When Visiting Maui

Do a search, and you’ll find any number of articles and videos on “things you must do” when visiting Maui. The Road to Hana, Seven Sacred Pools, and many other things that are some of the well-known places to visit in Maui. But being friendly hosts, we thought we should let you know about things you shouldn’t do when you decide to come and visit.

Things You Shouldn't Do When Visiting Maui. Provided by Hana Kai Maui Oceanfront Condos.

We touched on this in a previous blog about etiquette for visitors to Maui. Being aware of these things means you’re less likely to make an inadvertent slip, like saying you’re from “back in the states” or “back in the US.”  Hawaii is also a US state, so you would refer to the Continental US as the “Mainland.”

So while we don’t want to overload you with rules, here are a few more things to avoid when you’re visiting our beautiful Island.

Don’t Hang Out Under Coconut Trees

We love coconuts in Maui, and they grow everywhere. But if you decide to sit and have a picnic under one, chances are you’ll see—or feel—a coconut drop on you. Check before you decide to sit, picnic, or park under a coconut tree. Because they’re so high, if one falls and hits you, it will really hurt. There may not be warning signs nearby, so it’s up to you to check. If you see coconuts growing, keep going, or you’ll risk injury to yourself and your traveling companions, or damage to your rental car.

Don’t Forget To Pack Up All Food Containers

Bugs of all kinds are part and parcel of Maui’s warm tropical climate. Most places work hard to keep them out of places like homes and hotels, but they’re always around. Leaving food out is an open-ended invitation to insects of all kinds. Best bet: don’t leave any food out, whether in your hotel room, in your vehicle, on your balcony or lanai.

Don’t Neglect Sunscreen

It doesn’t take long to burn in the Maui sun, so make sure you have—and use—plenty of sunscreen with a high SPF. If you’re planning to go into the ocean, use mineral-based sunscreens that contain titanium oxide or zinc oxide to avoid the substances that can harm our coral reefs. Rash guards and long-sleeved t-shirts can also help prevent a sunburn.

Don’t Leave Valuables In Your Car

Like any major US city, valuables left in a car have a high chance of being stolen, in addition to the damages to the car. Best bet: leave your valuables locked in the hotel safe, or take them with you. Local thieves recognize rental cars and are quick to clean them out. Of course, it’s also a good idea to leave most valuable safely at home, and have as few as possible while in Maui. 

Don’t Plan On Going Barefoot

“Sand between your toes” is what many people associate with Maui beaches. But sand and cement can become painfully hot during the day, and thorns from some of our trees can be excruciating when you step on them. Even flip flops offer a small amount of protection from these “foot hazards.” Wear some kind of shoes no matter where you are.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Local Cuisine

While you can find many of the same chain restaurants here that you can find at home, why would you? Between freshly caught fish, food trucks, locally grown fruits and vegetables, (some organic)  local eateries with wildly different ethnic cuisine, you’ll never have the same thing twice. Tacos to go and poke bowls are just some of the delicious regional offerings you’ll find throughout local Maui eateries. Your hotel may have some nice onsite restaurants, but they may not offer the kind of freshly prepared food you’ll find when you leave the property and eat with the locals.

Don’t Ignore Safety And Brave The Ocean Alone

Some things you don't want to do while in Maui

Whether you’re swimming, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, or just hanging out, remember that the ocean is one of Mother Nature’s most powerful forces. Shorebreak waves can take down even the most experienced swimmers, knocking you off your feet quickly and pulling you back in. Avoid murky waters at all costs—wait until they clear before going in to make sure any predators have left the area.

We hope we haven’t scared you off from a Maui vacation. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and we hope to see you soon.

Hana Kai Maui For Your Next Hawaiian Getaway

Headed to Maui? Hana Kai Maui’s comfortably designed beachfront condos on Waikaloa Beach are a great place to stay any time of the year. Whether it’s your first visit or your fifteenth, you’ll feel the warmth of Maui when you book your stay at Hana Kai Maui. 

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaiian time to answer all of your questions.

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