If you are looking for the best way to take in dinner and a show in Hawai`i, nothing compares to a Hawaiian luau. Treat yourself to sweet fruits, slow-roasted succulent meats, and traditional delicacies (poi!) in a party-like atmosphere beneath swaying palm trees, the setting sun, and rhythmic island drums. Combining elements of traditional Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, and other Polynesian cultures, luaus are feast, celebration, and party rolled into one, all while taking a journey through the Pacific islands without ever leaving your lauhala mat.
Party Like It’s 1819
The modern luau took shape in the 19th century when King Kamehameha II put a halt to the Hawaiian tradition of separating men and women at meal time. To commemorate, he also removed the royal ban on foods previously enjoyed only by the ali`i (elite), and the resulting celebration was the first luau feast as we know it today. Over time, the feast grew to reflect elements of the islands’ culture, from hula dances to fire spinning to Polynesian knife dancing. Each island contributed its own flair, and the result today is the incredible celebration of life, culture, and food of the Hawaiian people.
A Feast For The Senses
Luaus allow you to immerse yourself in the rich Polynesian culture, and guests can try their hand at traditional Hawaiian games, learn a luau, bring in the hukilau (a shore-cast fishing net, named after the “dancing of the leaves” on the rope, used to herd fish), and sing along to mele, Hawaiian chants used to pass down oral traditions and stories. Of course, as exciting as the spectacle of a luau Oahu is, it really is all about the food. Luaus derive their name from a featured dish, lu`au, chicken steamed in taro leaves and coconut milk. There is no shortage of dishes to enjoy however, as every luau is a showcase of island flavors. One of our favorites is roasted pork, slow cooked in an imu (underground oven) for hours until it melts in your mouth. You also have to try poi (pounded taro root, a starchy island delicacy), lau lau (meat steamed in taro leaves), fresh fish served poke style, and a healthy supporting cast of sweet breads, fresh fruits, apple bananas, and sweet potatoes.
On the Lookout For Luaus Oahu
There are three exceptional luaus Oahu at Ko Olina Resort, all of which offer guests transportation (from all over the island, if needed), festive drinks, fabulous food, and a night of celebrating traditional island life and culture on the warm beaches of Leeward O`ahu. Germaine’s Luau (“family style feasting”), Paradise Cove (an “amazing spectacle”), and the Fia Fia Polynesian Dinner Show are all award-winning in their own rights, and each offers the chance to experience the magic of the islands.
If you are making a day of it on the North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center is worth a visit. It features regional “snapshots” of the cultures of Polynesia, and hosts amazing shows and an Ali`i luau feast every night.
Hawaiian Luaus are popular with island guests, so we encourage you to make your reservations in advance. Dinners are buffet style with options for those with dietary restrictions, so everyone will enjoy the party. Keep your eyes open and your stomach empty, and enjoy the feast while staying in your Oahu vacation rental!