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One of the most festive experiences to be had on a visit to the Hawaiian Islands is a luau – a Hawaiian feast featuring lively music and vibrant cultural performances from Hawaii and greater Polynesia.
History of the Luau
The first feast in Hawaii resembling a modern-day luau was probably held in 1819. Before then, the kapu system of restrictions, religion and resource management separated men and women at mealtimes, even in times of celebration. Other names for these feasts are ahaaina or paina, but over the course of time, the nickname luau – a reference to the taro leaves at the core of many popular dishes – stuck.
Two centuries later, luau are still being celebrated. But it is important to note that despite the name and its Hawaiian roots, not all food or entertainment at a luau today is Hawaiian. A contemporary luau in Hawaii reflects our multi-cultural society. Food at a family luau is as diverse as the various branches of the family tree. Entertainment at a visitor luau often includes dances and music from other Polynesian cultures.
Popular Luau Dishes
- Poi: Pounded taro plant root; a starch meant to be eaten with everything.
- Kalua Pig: Pork prepared in an imu (underground oven) and shredded.
- Laulau: Meat wrapped in luau (taro) leaves and steamed, traditionally prepared in an imu.
- Haupia: Coconut pudding.
- Poke: A term that literally means to cut into pieces, this newly global delicacy is traditionally prepared with raw fish, shoyu (soy sauce), green onions, kukui nut (candlenut), and limu (seaweed).
Find a Luau to Attend
Royal Kahana Maui by Outrigger is an oceanfront condominium located between Kaanapali and Kapalua on Maui. Upgraded studios, one- and two-bedroom units feature spectacular ocean views, with the islands of Lanai and Molokai in the distance.
Full service, low-rise traditional Hawaiian style condominium resort located oceanfront in West Maui on the beach at Napili Bay. The full service Sea House Restaurant sits oceanfront on the bay.
This limited service con-tel was completely restored in 2018. The 52 individually owned studios and 1 bedroom units vary widely in style. They are uniquely furnished with many options to choose from. All rooms feature private lanai’s, ceiling fans and usual cool northeast trade winds. All rooms also come with fully appointed customized kitchens and bathrooms for your convenience.
Immerse yourself in a true Hawaiian experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, a AAA Five-Diamond beachfront resort. Cultural and environmental appreciation combined with world-class service and facilities deliver a true escape.
Hotel / Condominium offering 17 completely furnished vacation condominiums overlooking Hana Bay and the Pacific Ocean in the heart of historic Hana town.
This Maui beachfront resort with low-rise buildings spans 34 acres of tropical landscaping and terraces down to Keawakapu Beach. Amenities include 4 swimming pools, paddle tennis, shuffleboard, barbecue grills and beachfront pavilion.
Nestled along the famed Road to Hana—a 64-mile stretch of picturesque road that winds along Maui’s northern coast—Hana-Maui Resort offers travelers a peaceful place to savor the journey. Discover a luxury oasis close to the beach, iconic waterfalls, and viewpoints.
As the sun sets across famed Kaanapali Beach, beating drums and the call of a conch shell signal the start of Maui's most exciting and longest running Polynesian luau. Enjoy a stunning celebration of music and dance that culminates with an amazing fire knife finale sure to dazzle the entire family.
Maui Beach Hotel, located just 10 mins from Kahului airport, positions travelers in the ideal starting point to any type of stay. Over 12,000 sq feet of meeting space both indoor and outdoor, ideal for business meetings, incentive trips and weddings.
Ali'i Kula Lavender's 13.5-acre farm resides at an elevation of roughly 4000 ft. and is home to approximately 55,000 lavender plants and 20 different varieties of lavender as well as an exceptional variety of other plants.