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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
Immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of Hawaii’s marine life at Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii. Encounter schooling reef fish, sharks, stingrays, turtles, and experience the world's first virtual encounter with Hawaii's humpback whales at the Humpbacks of Hawai`i Exhibit and Sphere.
A genuine hideaway from all things mainstream. Located on the exotic beach of Kamiloloa, you'll find our Polynesian village of bungalows replete with kitchenettes and Wi-Fi. Hotel Moloka'i is just five minutes from the island’s largest city, Kaunakakai.
A garden paradise on magical Maui. This oceanfront haven is set within 13 acres of freshwater ponds, picturesque bridges, expansive lawns, and tropical landscaping. Each unit has a full kitchen and an in-room washer/dryer. Enjoy 2 pools and hot tubs, bbq grills, putting greens and tennis courts.
Proud to be known as “Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel”, Kaanapali Beach Hotel invites guests to enjoy a picture-perfect tropical island vacation while infusing Hawaiian culture and tradition in everything they do. Come and experience the welcome and warmth of genuine Hawaiian hospitality.
Ala Kukui is a cultural center for native Hawaiian spiritual and intellectual advancement. Our retreat space offers a unique opportunity to engage with our local community of cultural practitioners who pay respect to the environment through traditional Hawaiian practices.
At Spago in the Four Seasons Resort Maui, guests will enjoy a sunset and evening that is guaranteed to remember. Whether you are planning an intimate affair or a gala event, Spago offers versatile private dining. The private dining room or entire restaurant is available for your special occasion.
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.
The Kapalua Villas is located in the stunning 22,000-acre Kapalua Resort on Maui’s northwest coast and features upscale accommodations with a choice of beachfront, mountain-side or golf course locations.
Just steps from the stunning Pacific Ocean, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali has redefined the luxury getaway. The centerpiece of the property’s USD $120 million transformation is the 217-room Hokupa'a Tower. Come experience new dining options and the resort's iconic 6-pool playground.
Located in Sunny South Maui just across the street from a six mile stretch of Maui's beautiful and award-winning beaches, the Maui Coast Hotel is the only Premier Full Service Hotel in Kihei, one of Maui's favorite vacation destinations.