Saturday, July 5, 2014

Luau in Lahaina

If you asked each of us what we liked best about our trip, you would get answers that were both the same and different.  Our answers would be the same because we would tell you we liked the entire trip, everything.  The difference would come if we were pressed to name the one favorite part of the trip.  JD would say surfing.  Rob and Scott would say snorkeling with the manta rays. Tyler would say biking Haleakala. But me?  For me the very best thing was the Old Lahaina Luau. 
The evening could not have been more perfect!

I've been to luaus before. I've even been to a luau in Maui, but I've never been to a luau like this one.  It was entertainment, history, activities, education, food and fun all rolled up into one delightful evening.  

When we arrived, we were divided into groups and escorted into the luau entrance where we received leis, flowers, tropical drinks, menus and programs.  At this point we could tell this was going to be one special luau.  

Rob, Tony, Tyler and JD
Then we were shown to our table by our host for the night and his name was Tony. Tony was not only a host, he was also one of the entertainers. We cheered quite loudly for Tony when he was performing.  He said he could hear us!

Our table was a traditional, low to the ground, table and we were seated on pillows around it. There were no chairs.  We honestly had the best seats in the house because we were on the very front row in the middle, right next to the stage.  There was also conventional table and chair seating for those who didn't want to sit on the ground.  All conventional tables were located behind the front row of traditional tables. 

Getting the meat out of a coconut

Making kapa, a traditional bark cloth.  Look at the beautiful koa bowls and tools.

Poi pounding
Hawaiian maracas...uli uli
Green coconuts do not taste like mature coconuts!

Hawaiian jewelry

'Ulu Maika

You have to roll the stone between two stakes about 6" apart.
Pu'ili: Hawaiian Rhythm Sticks
Tony told us to wander around the grounds for a while to check out some of the demonstrations. The demonstrations included lei making, hula dancing, poi pounding, kapa and lauhala weaving, traditional games and music, just to name a few.   We tasted green coconut and poi, neither of which actually had much taste and the texture was, to us, odd.  But we were brave and glad that we can say we gave it a shot.  I could definitely see how both could be used in other recipes and why they were a staple to early Hawaiian people.  

Getting ready to remove the Kalua pig from the imu.

Kalua pig
We watched as the Kalua pig was removed from the imu in the ground and ceremonially taken to the buffet.  

I think we tried some of everything.

The removal of the pig was also the signal for everyone to head to their tables.  Tony met us at our table and escorted us to the buffet.  In addition to the Kalua pig, the entree selections included lau lau (steamed pork wrapped in a leaf), mahi mahi, Pulehu (tenderloin) steak, island chicken, lomi lomi salmon, he'e poke and ahi poke.  Poke is everywhere in Hawaii.  It is pronounced pokay and is usually made with raw fish marinated and served cold, much like ceviche. The He'e poke was a cooked and marinated octopus salad. There were lots of vegetables and sides, too, such as fried rice, stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, fresh island fruits, crab salad, taro salad, and pohole salad. The pohole salad was made from fern fronds. Traditional breads such as poi rolls, taro rolls and banana bread rounded out the buffet. 

Dessert trays were delivered to our tables as we finished the main course.  The trays included coconut haupia, chocolate macadamia nut brownies, macadamia nut cookies, and pineapple butter squares.  The haupia is an aquired taste.  It tastes like coconut, but it is a cold, gelatin square, similar to an aspic.  
Enjoying lava flows!

Tropical drinks were refilled every time one was emptied.  Our favorite drink was the lava flow, which was almost like a dessert by itself.  The open bar was available throughout the night and all drinks were included in the original luau price, so no extra charges for drinks. We really wish we had sampled some more drinks, but those tropical drinks can be very filling, not to mention dangerous!  We didn't want to overdo it! 

Several people (we won't mention any names) at our table were very impressed with "orange girl"!
The dancers were so graceful.
Drums, music, chants and dancing made for a magical performance.
Those are the Hawaiian Islands tattooed on his abdomen.
The sunset made a beautiful backdrop.
The show began just as we finished sampling all the lovely desserts.  It was the story of the Hawaiian Islands and the Hawaiian people told by the graceful and beautiful hula dancers.  The story began with the discovery of the islands by the Polynesians, followed by the ancient hula, the arrival of the missionaries and finally, the modern hula.  The costumes, the setting and the talented performers made for an amazing show.  

If you happen to go to Maui, take the time to enjoy the Old Lahaina Luau.  It is an amazing experience!
Three Friends and a Fork give the Old Lahaina Luau 3 Ono Loa (very delicious) Yums UP!

Old Lahaina Lu'au on Urbanspoon

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