What To Expect At A Maui Luau

One of the things you should plan to experience when you come to Maui is a luau. It’s a centuries-old celebration of a tradition steeped in Hawaiian culture and cuisine. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the food, entertainment and camaraderie shared at a Maui luau.

Modern celebrations retain the traditional aspects of luau, such as hula dancing. They also offer contemporary amenities such as tables and chairs in addition to ground seating (on cushions) with low tables.

A warm greeting awaits all guests upon arrival at the luau, many of which are beachside. Most luaus offer a flower, lei or other gift upon arrival while others do not, depending on the luau. From there, it’s e olokaa na manawa maikai (“let the good times roll.”)

The Luau Celebration

Traditionally, luaus were a celebration for an event. While locals still do that, most often the luau is a party that showcases the Island culture and Hawaiian history.

Consider learning a few words that are frequently used at the luau, such as “mahalo,” for “thank you,” and “keiki,” meaning “child” or “children.” You’ll show your appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and be able to understand everything going on in the luau.

Of course, there is the incredible local cuisine, but there is so much more. These family-friendly gatherings offer entertainment that tells and explores the story and history of Hawaii, its customs and the stories of the people who voyaged across the Pacific to this beautiful island paradise.

You’ll experience local arts and crafts and other hands-on activities that are an integral part of Hawaiian culture. Learn the hula, craft a lei, or any other activity that has been a part of Island life for centuries. Bring a desire to learn and respect for the activity so that you’ll truly enjoy yourself.

Luau For Foodies

There are many aspects to a luau, but food is one of the focal points.

Roast pig is traditional, and it’s always cooked in an imu, or underground oven, a 2-to-4-foot deep hole in the ground with sloped sides. This ancient version of the slow cooker is literally a hole dug into the ground, and kindling used to start the fire. It heats the rocks that take the place of coals during cooking. The size of the imu depends on how much is being prepared.

The food is placed on top of a bed of banana, coconut palm and ti leaves for cooking. Heated rocks slow roast the pig as well as vegetables that are either in with the pork or separately wrapped.

Steam produced in the day-long process creates a deliciously moist pork along with the vegetables. When the pork is finished cooking, it’s shredded and used for a variety of different dishes.

Even if you’re not a fan of pork, there are other choices, including vegetarian options. Expect more local cuisine, such as:

  • Poi, steamed and mashed taro root
  • Poke, a sliced raw fish dish served in a bowl
  • Huli chicken
  • Teriyaki chicken or beef
  • Kulolo, a pudding made with steamed and grated kalo and coconut milk
  • Haupia, a pudding made from coconut milk
  • Other desserts featuring locally grown fruits (maybe even banana bread) 

It’s a sign of respect to at least sample as much of the food at a luau as you can. Some may have to pass on a few things, but the wide range of locally-produced food is meant to be enjoyed. With an array of interesting and delicious local foods served, a luau has something for everyone.

Attending The Luau

There are luaus that accommodate tourists and visitors, and there are authentic luaus that celebrate the Maui culture and Hawaiian history. Which you choose is up to you. Each luau is designed to present the stories of the culture and lifestyle of Maui and of Hawaii, along with respect and care.

Because it’s a big celebration, you’ll likely be seated with strangers. Take the opportunity to meet new people from here and abroad.

Of course, like your entire vacation, you’ll go to the luau dressed in casual and comfortable clothes. Besides, you’ll want freedom of movement when it’s your turn to dance the hula! It’s also wise to take a light wrap or jacket during winter months for when the night air turns chilly. (Please wear clothes that are comfortable, but modest.)

For the men, a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts along with sandals, sneakers or even flip flops are just fine. Women may also feel comfortable in the same thing, as well as a floral sundress and equally flat shoes, since you’ll sink in sand wearing anything else. No matter what you wear, make sure to include sunscreen, since the sun will still be up when you arrive.

After the luau, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what “Aloha” means that will stay with you long after you leave Maui.

Ready For Your First—Or Next Luau—In Maui? Hana Kai Maui Condos Is Ready

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.