Luau Time

If there is a word that people around the world associate witlh "Hawaiian party," it has to be luau. Conjuring visions of hula dancers, exotic drinks, and partiers wearing grass skirts and lei, a luau is something many visitors feel they must experience while in the islands. The luau marketed to visitors are not typically attended by locals, but island residents do host luau of their own to celebrate special occassions like a baby's first birthday. Such local versions of luau are also a feast with lots of food, but they are typically much lower key and less commercialized.
Nevertheless, attending a commerical luau does provide a means of experiencing some hula, music, and food unique to the islands. Some of the items served may include:
1. Poi -- a mashed form of taro that has a paste-like texture and rather bland flavor, poi was a staple in the diet of Native Hawaiians. The Hawaiians believe that taro was one of their original ancestors and thus have great respect for the plant.
2. Kalua Pig -- pork that is cooked in an underground imu and then shredded. You are likely to see the whole pig being removed from the imu when you arrive at the luau.
3. Poke -- pieces of raw fish (often ahi or yellowfin tuna), sliced and marinated with a variety of ingredients that typically include sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed, and crushed pepper.
4. Lomi Salmon -- tomato and salmon salad mixed with onions and served cold.
5. Haupia -- a dessert made from coconut milk that resembles Jello in consistency.

As interesting and unique as these foods may sound, they are definitely worth a try -- so be sure to be adventurous and keep an open mind.

Luau can be found on every island island. Some of my favorites are:
1. Oahu: Paradise Cove Luau
2. Maui: Feast at Lele
3. Kauai: Luau Kalamaku
4. Big Island: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Luau

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