When you visit Hawaii, you must go to at least one luau. To miss
it would be like going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower.
Some of the best luau food and Polynesian entertainment in the
Islands can be found at "commercial" luaus. These guys
make a business out of making sure you have a great time!
put together a list of recommended luaus
on each island.
What to Expect
Preparations for cooking in the "imu" are begun early
in the morning of the day of the luau. A large pit is dug in the
sand. Kiawe logs are placed in the bottom of the pit and topped
with river rocks. A fire is started and after a couple of hours,
the hot coals and hot rocks are ready for the next step. The rocks
are evened out on the bottom of the pit and moist banana stalks
are placed on top followed by a bed of banana leaves to put the
The pig, sweet potatoes and laulau are placed in the imu and covered
with more banana leaves and ti leaves. Usually several wet burlap
bags top this to add steam and keep the heat in. A tarp of some
kind is then placed over the whole affair and then the pit is covered
with sand. After 6 to 8 hours of this steam-cooking, the kalua pig
Other foods which are usually found at a luau are poi, chicken
long rice, lomi salmon, haupia or coconut custard, sweet potato,
salad, fish, rice and lots of specialty items. (If you're wondering
what these foods are, check our recipe
page for descriptions.)
Most have an open bar where you can find Mai Tais as well as other
tasty tropical drinks, and children get a bright pink fruit-punch
or soft drink of their choice.
Be adventuresome and try all the unusual foods you'll be served.
There's sure to be plenty that you'll find delicious.
Luaus are always held at sunset. Many are located on beautiful
estates adjacent to beaches with a view of the setting sun over
the ocean. A luau typically lasts about 3 hours and by the time
it's over you'll have had more than a "taste of the tropics."
Our Luau Recommendations
We must admit, we have our favorites on each island. Click on the
island you're interested in to read about our picks. Once you've
found a luau you like, you can click on the link to read more about
it and go to a reputable site where you can make reservations and
buy tickets. It's a good idea to book your reservations in advance
as seating is limited and the popular luaus sell out fast!