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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
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.
Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Kaua'i, our Royal Sonesta Kaua'i Resort Lihue is a Garden Island oasis. Our Kaua'i resort enjoys a glorious setting on golden sands, with opportunities to indulge in beachside spa treatments, five restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, a weekly luau, and the largest one-level pool in Hawaii. And if you’re here for business or planning a special event, we have over 27,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.
Wings Over Kauai offers safe, fun and informative airplane tours. Cruise native forest waterfalls, the Waimea Canyon, and the world-famous Napali coastline in a proven 4-seat Cessna Skyhawk at a comfortable altitude and for a very affordable price.
Wyndham Bali Hai is located in the picturesque Princeville community and offers spacious one- and two-bedroom suites that are appointed with full kitchens, dining and living areas and washer/dryer combinations that enable you to enjoy the comforts of home in this tropical paradise.
Ocean front resort, centrally located, 15 minutes east of the Lihue Airport. Within walking distance to shopping, restaurants and supermarkets. Delivering hospitality, creating value, every customer, every time.
Purveyors of Handcrafted Shave Ice. Our goal at The Fresh Shave is to serve the best all–natural and delicious shave ice. We offer a healthier alternative to Hawaii’s most famous treat. We strive to use organic ingredients and local farm fresh produce in all our products.
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.
Spacious one and two bedroom suites set on 35 tropical landscaped acres. Located oceanfront on white sandy beach in Poipu. Plantation-style condominiums feature fully equipped kitchens, color TV, VCR and in-room safes.
Top rated, privately managed Lae Nani beachfront condos on Kauai's Coconut Coast. Well maintained 1, 2, and 3 bedroom oceanfront condos in a peaceful beachside resort, walking distance to shopping, dining, attractions and the coastal path.
Explore Kauai's spectacular coastlines and wilderness areas in the safety and comfort of our custom designed AStar and Hughes 500 helicopters. Our expert pilots describe the history, geology, and native ecosystems that make Kauai so extraordinary!