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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
Looking for the best tour and transportation company in Hawaii? A locally owned and operated business since 1941 committed to the highest level of service with a genuine Aloha spirit? Look no further than Roberts Hawaii.
Tasting Kauai invites residents and visitors on a culinary romp through paradise. Learn how to buy local through educational and fun events while connecting with Kauai’s culture, aloha, people and land. A portion of all book and tour sales are donated to the Hawaii Food Bank - Kauai Branch.
Ali'i Air Tours & Charters specializes in Private Helicopter and Airplane Tours of Kauai . A 5 Star Rated Company that offers 2 types of aircraft for your viewing pleasure. Doors Off/On Helicopters or High Wing Airplanes which guarantees a unobstructed window seats for all passengers. Save $40
Discount Kauai car rental service for the Island of Kauai. With locations at the Kauai Lihue Airport (LIH), Popui, Princeville Airport (HPV) and Nawiliwili Port near Lihue. Specially negotiated rates through national rental agencies. FREE mileage and no penalty to cancel or change your reservations.
Trail information, Natural History Museum. Open every day. Visitor programs, volunteer opportunities, research support, local craft and bookstore, no admission charge.
Kilohana Plantation is a historic landmark and premier visitor attraction offering visitors and locals a glimpse into Kauai’s past combined with assorted island-style activities, dining and shopping.
Enjoy a garden luau followed by Kauai's most spectacular international pageant at the lagoon amphitheater. The Golden People of Hawaii depicts dances and songs from Polynesia and Asia. Luau's are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Polynesian Adventure Tours provides the best tour and transportation services in the Hawaiian Islands, offering visitors truly unique and memorable experiences. We offer land, one day flyaway tours and more. Our charter department specializes in custom tours and services.
Every year since 1996, Frommer's Hawaii has called Blue Hawaiian, "The Cadillac of helicopter tour companies"—featuring the incredible, 21st-Century "ECO-Star" helicopter, superlative tours, award-winning customer service, and the world's finest pilots. Daily departures from Lihue and Princeville.
Lydgate Farms is run by our fifth generation Kaua’i family. We grow high-quality cacao to make the finest craft chocolate. We also raise award-winning vanilla and honey.