What comes to mind when you hear the word “luau”? Hawaii? Hula dances? Feasts that are simply overflowing with food? Well, we’re going to introduce you to the basics of the contemporary luau from the history to the foods that you can expect to be served during your experience. Stick around as we delve into this exciting tradition.

The traditional and the contemporary luau

Now, what is a traditional luau and how does it differ from the contemporary luau? The luau is a Hawaiian feast that includes high-spirited music, dance and performance. This feast was originally referred to as “ahaaina,” combining the words for gathering and meal. There was a transition to the use of the word “luau,” which is a taro leaf served throughout the Pacific Islands.

  • The traditional luau focused primarily on the dancing of men rather than women. And, rather than simply being parties, they were celebrations of accomplishments or milestones. An example of such a milestone would be coming of age. In addition, the food being served was consumed by hand.
  • The contemporary luau is often for the festive entertainment of tourists. Guests receive a colorful garland or “lei” to be worn around the neck. Often, there is a greater emphasis on female dancers and the “hula dance,” involving the movement of the hips, which tourists can often readily associate with the luau.
  • However, in the case of both the traditional and contemporary luau, there is a feast and, generally, a roast pig is served.

Which foods should you expect to be served?

As we mentioned previously, a roast pig (or “Kalua pig,” which utilizes an underground oven) is both a traditional and contemporary staple that you should expect at any luau. Another staple is mashed taro root. If you aren’t already aware, taro is nutty, mild-tasting and is a root vegetable. Here are some of the other foods that are popular at the contemporary luau:

  • Lau Lau, which is an assortment of meats folded in a taro leaf and then steamed
  • Chicken Luau, which is chicken served in taro leaves with coconut milk
  • Fried rice with meat and vegetables
  • Banana, coconut, and/or guava cake
  • Lomi Lomi salmon, which is a salmon and tomato salad
  • Haupia, which is a coconut-flavored dessert
  • Poke, which is diced raw fish
  • Huli-Huli Chicken, which is grilled chicken with soy sauce, pineapple juice and a variety of seasonings
  • Shrimp ono nui, which is deep-fried shrimp with shredded coconut and a pineapple sauce

Is your mouth watering yet? Prepare to be dazzled the next time you stay with Ola Properties and attend a contemporary luau. At Ola Properties, we will help you make the most out of your tropical getaway.