Luau's in Hawaii
Maui, Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii
A true luau in Hawaii (in Hawaiian, luau) is actually a Hawaiian feast. It usually features food, such as kalua pig, poi, poke, lomi salmon, haupia, and beverages. The festivities also include entertainment, such as Hawaiian music and hula dancing. Among the people of Hawaii, the concepts of "luau" and "party" are often combined, resulting in a variety of luau celebrations. Everything from parades and birthday luaus to wedding luaus are common.
The name "luau" goes back, "at least to 1856, when so used by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser." Earlier, such a feast was called a "paina" or ahaaina. The newer name comes from a specific dish always served at a luau: young taro tops baked with coconut milk and chicken or octopus.
Below are just a few of the menu items you might find at a luau.
Chicken long rice
At many modern luaus, drinks may include beer, mixed-drinks, soda-pop, juice, etc. Many 19th century public luaus would have been "teetotal". At the lavish private luaus hosted by 19th century figures like the genial King Kalakaua, imported wine and liquor were prominent items on the menu.
Hawaiian feasts before 1778 would have featured pig, chicken, seafood, bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, taro and more. None of those, except seafood, were indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, but were introduced by Polynesian settlers. Many of the foods now considered "traditional" at luaus were introduced by Europeans, Americans, or Asians.
Before the breaking of the Kapus in 1819, Hawaiian men and women ate separately, and specific foods, such as pork and most species of bananas, were forbidden to women.
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