Luau Food

There are two different ways that luau food is prepared and served.
Traditional luau food includes kalua pig cooked in an imu (covered underground pit), poi (mashed taro root), and haupia (coconut custard).

A pig was roasted all day in an covered underground pit (imu), then uncovered at the beginning or our luau.    • Imu. First you feast on traditional Hawaiian foods such as kalua pig roasted in an imu - a sort of natural sand underground steam oven.

On the morning of the luau, river rocks are placed over firewood and heated.

After several hours the firewood is removed and plants, such as crushed banana stumps saturated with water, are placed on top of the hot rocks to create the steam.

   • Kalua Pig. Then the kaluau pig is placed in the pit and covered to seal in the steam.

The main luau food is kalua pig, which is  so tender it just falls apart and appears shredded. After the pig has roasted for several hours in the covered underground pit imu, it is uncovered in a ceremony at the beginning of the luau.

Other foods may also be steamed in the imu along with the kalua pig.

The word kalua comes from ka (the) lua (hole) - food that comes from the hole - the imu underground oven.

   • Poi. During the luau, you will get to taste other Hawaiian staples. Poi is prepared by first steaming or baking the root of the taro plant, then mashing the cooked root until it is a liquid.

Poi, made from the crushed root of the taro plant, is a staple at luaus. Water is added to get to different levels of mushiness, from liquid to dough-like.

Poi is referred to as two finger or three finger, depending on how many fingers are needed to scoop it out of the bowl based on how gooey it is.

The poi story is better than the poi taste and appearance - for the normal vacationer, poi looks like purple paste, and a couple spoonfuls is our normal ration.

   • Haupia. Haupia (coconut custard) is a luau staple for dessert. Haupia (coconut custard) is a luau staple for dessert.

Haupia is more like a gelatin-based dessert than a custard or pudding. Cut into squares and served alone, it has a smooth texture.

Haupia is integrated into all types of desserts - you may be served haupia pie or haupia cake. Even the Hawaii McDonalds replaced the filling in their apple pie turnover with haupia and created a Haupia Pie.

Photo by obiwanhavanese

Maui Prince Luau food, including kalua pork and poi

When you place all your luau food such as kalua pig, lomi-lomi salmon, macaroni salad, poi, and haupia on your platter, the end result is visually appealing.

Then you get to settle back and enjoy the luau music and dance.

Luau Food Pictures

The imu ceremony at the beginning of the Old Lahaina Luau. The roasted kalua pig is roasted in the imu underground roasting pit.

Imu underground oven at a luau

Photo by tweber1

After a kalua pig has roasted for several hours in the imu, the top covering of sand is removed to expose the vegetation - often banana leaves - wrapped around the roasted pig at the Marriott Maui Luau in Wailea (south Maui). Imu kalua pig

The uncovered kalua roast pig is removed from the imu at the Grand Wailea Luau.
Grand Wailea Luau Imu Kalua Pig

At most luaus, you leave your table and serve yourself, similar to this Royal Lahaina luau buffet area.

Maui Luaus: Royal Lahaina luau buffet line

Photo by Randy Robert

Luau food ready to eat - kalua pig, poi, lomi-lomi salmon, haupia and other Hawaiian delicacies.

Luau food: kalua pig, poi, haupia

Photo by obiwanhavanese

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