Do a Maui Luau

Article by Linda Nagata

Do a Maui luau! Why not? It's a lot of fun. Most luaus offer dining by torch light, under the open sky, usually with a grand view of the ocean, and an energetic and highly entertaining Polynesian show, that may include any or all of traditional hula, drums, song, comedy, Tahitian dance, fire dance, and story-telling.

Of course a luau is not just a show, it's a feast! Be assured that the buffet will include many familiar foods – but why stick to what you know? A luau is an eating adventure, so come prepared to try the traditional luau foods. Here's a list of the top five dishes to sample, for an authentic Maui luau experience:

Kalua pork – this is the main course. It's a very tender and moist shredded pork mixed with salt. The pig is traditionally cooked in an imu or underground oven. Very ono (delicious)!

Poi – the nutritionally-packed staple of the Hawaiian diet. Poi is made from the starchy, swollen stem that forms the base of the taro plant. Taro grows in lo'i – fields flooded with slowly-flowing water. The taro stems are harvested, baked, then processed into a smooth paste. As you taste your poi, imagine the taro it came from, growing in a quiet lo'i on the edge of a rainforest, where a stream runs down to the sea. Maybe you'll love it. Maybe you'll detest it. But at least you've tried it.

Poke (po-kee) – the Hawaiian version of raw fish. The fish should be dark, tender, and boneless. It's usually mixed with green onions and chopped bits of seaweed, and often flavored with soy sauce (not a traditional ingredient from ancient days, but required in most modern interpretations).

Lomi Lomi Salmon – bits of smoked salmon with tomatoes and onions. It's true that none of these ingredients were available in ancient Hawaii, but in the modern era, Lomi Lomi salmon has become required luau fare. When made at home, the dish is mixed by hand, thus "Lomi Lomi" the same word used to mean "massage."

Haupia – this is your desert, essentially a coconut pudding. Sit back and savor, as you enjoy a night under the Hawaiian stars.

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