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.