Although many luaus today include such varied foods as sushi and macaroni salad, more traditional foods, including those that have been eaten in Hawaii, are still served at most luau events, both in Hawaii and on the mainland. If you’re visiting Hawaii, attend a large luau party for an exotic feast. On the mainland, throw your own Hawaiian-themed luau party as the perfect summer event.
For the ultimate Luau feast, start with Kalua Pork. At the largest luau events, an entire pig may be roasted in a specially made pit oven all day long. For smaller luaus, combine a pork roast with water, liquid smoke, and Hawaiian rock salt. Cook in a crock pot or in the oven, and then shred it once it’s fully cooked. Most people think of a whole roast pig when they think of luaus, but you can closely approximate this delicious dish with a pork roast.
Another popular meat for luaus is chicken with teriyaki sauce. The sauce gives the chicken the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors. Serve your chicken with pineapple rings on the side. If you love seafood, Lomi Salmon would be a delicious choice for your luau party. This contemporary dish combines diced tomatoes, crushed ice, and shredded Salmon filet.
Poi is a unique side dish that is found at nearly every traditional luau. This nutritious dish is made from the root of the taro plant. In some locations, you may be able to purchase fresh poi. To make it yourself, peel, steam, and mash the taro root. Then add water until the consistency is similar to pudding. Chill before serving. Another traditional luau food, which is actually known as “luau,” is chicken wrapped in the leaves of the taro plant, and then baked in coconut milk. Don’t forget about a fruit platter featuring coconut and pineapple, the perfect tropical side dish. Serve the meat with long rice cooked in garlic, soy sauce, ginger, or teriyaki sauce.
Luau food is often very creative, and this creativity often continues with the way the food is served. Often, the fruit is found in the shape of kabobs, or in a bowl made of a hollowed out watermelon. Many luaus incorporate the use of bamboo skewers or toothpick umbrellas, or use the various foods to create a uniquely shaped display on the buffet table.
For dessert, nothing would be more fitting than coconut milk. To make Haupia, a traditional dessert, you’ll need three cups of coconut milk and a half cup each of cornstarch and sugar. Mix all of the ingredients except cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Once warm, stir in cornstarch, which will thicken the mixture. Do not let it boil. Once thickened, pour the coconut mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, and chill until it becomes firm. If you don’t want to make your own dessert, coconut pie or lemon bread would also make great luau desserts.
One of the most important aspects of a luau is the food. The modern luau party, a feast for the senses, combines both traditional Hawaiian dishes and newly created luau-style cuisine. To create your own luau feast, use plenty of teriyaki sauce and tropical fruits. Your inspiration for luau party food should come from the tropical environment of Hawaii; any number of tropically-inspired foods will complete the luau feeling.