What’s a Hawaiian luau all about?
Luau (Hawaiian: lu’au) is a traditional Hawaiian feast, party or celebration, usually accompanied by entertainment and food… lots of food! It started in old Hawaii and is still alive today, where native and local Hawaiians invite their loved ones to their special celebration luaus. They get to cook their traditional Hawaiiandishes and entertain their guests with music and hula dancing. The hula is Hawaii’s only traditional dance which is usually accompanied by a chant (Hawaiian: oli) or song (Hawaiian: mele). It tells a story; it’s the means the Hawaiians passed on their history and legends from generation to generation. Here in Hawaii we don’t need too many reasons to get together, eat and have fun! You don’t need to know someone in Hawaii inorder to enjoy a luau. At our Maui luaus we are sure you’ll experience our Hawaiian hospitality, flavor and true “aloha”.
Luau Shows… Are they different or all the same?
Each Maui Luau is unique and showcases its own artistic vision as they share the history and legends of Hawaii and its people. All Maui luaus have a common goal, beyond the obvious, which is to entertain; that goal is to transport their guests to the exotic and mysterious world of ancient Hawaii and the islands of Polynesia, unknown to most visitors. We hope you will not only leave your Maui luau having enjoyed a fun evening, but will also come to know and taste the “Aloha Spirit” through the Hawaiian hospitality. We hope you’ll also learn to appreciate the rich inheritance of our native Hawaiians and their ancestry, traced all the way back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.
Despite all the different performances, as unique as they may be, there are two specific luau styles; the Traditional Hawaiian Revue and the Polynesian Revue. The former focuses strictly on Hawaiian dances and the history of the only dance of Hawaii, the Hula. The latter is a copulation of dances of Hawaii and the islands of Polynesia, and may include dances of New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Rapa Nui, Tahiti, Tonga, and the most exciting and highly acclaimed Samoa, and their fire-knife dancers.
Which is the best Maui luau show for you?
Traditional Hawaiian Shows – The traditional Hawaiian luaus focus their entire performance on showcasing the rich history of hula dancing. Ancient hula and traditional Hawaiian chants are the first performances, followedby Hawaiian legends of local gods, and culminate with fun and lively “modern hula”, very popular during the 60’s and widely featured in many of Elvis Presley’s movies and special performances. There’s only one luau on Maui, and possibly anywhere in Hawaii, which can, without a doubt, be considered a 100% representation of the traditional Hawaiian luau style, and that’s the Old Lahaina Luau.
Polynesian Revues – The Polynesian Revues are by far the most popular and widely used style of performance chosen by most luaus in Hawaii, as they combine not only the beauty and authenticity of the Hawaiian Hula, but also the exciting and extremely entertaining dances and moves of the Polynesians, who came to Hawaii and settled here thousands of years ago (AD 350-700). The Polynesian Revues may feature dances of Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand, and the majority culminates their show with a mesmerizing fire-knife dancer grand finale, from the island of Samoa. This is possibly the best Maui luau choice for those who want excitement and fast moves! If you are bringing your kids (you could add your husband, boyfriend or any “guy”, pretty much, to the “kids category”), this should definitely be on the top of your list!
What should I expect once I arrive at my luau?
- You’ll be greeted with a Hawaiian lei by a friendly host/hostess, who will collect your voucher and walk you to your table.
- On your way, you’ll be asked to take a picture of your group. You will have the opportunity to see your picture after the performance, and have the option to purchase it. There’s NO COMMITMENT, so don’t sweat it… just “go with the flow”, take the picture then decide later!
- Once seated, your waiters will come by to get your drink orders.
- Your MC (Master of Ceremony) will announce any special activities available prior to dinner. You may just walk around the grounds or participate (Hawaiian games, hula lessons, craft exhibitions, where available). This is a great opportunity to take some awesome pictures of your special Maui luau.
- Imu Ceremony – View cast members as they unveil the Kalua Pig, cooked in the Hawaiian pit (Imu) for9+ hours (where available)
- Dinner is served! You’ll be invited by your luau manager to head over to the buffet
- Enjoy your performance
- As you exit the grounds, you’ll have the opportunity to take pictures with cast members (where available)
What is there to eat in a Maui luau?
No matter your Maui luau choice, you should get ready to bring an appetite not just for eating, but also for discovery! The Hawaiian cuisine is unique and exotic, featuring tastes that might be completely new to your taste buds (It would be a shame to see you leave Hawaii before trying our delicious traditional dishes). Most luaus on Maui feature a traditional Hawaiian buffet dinner; there’s something for everyone! If you are more inclined to a more private setting, fine dining and dinner served at your private table, the Feast At Lele Luau might be the perfect option for you. Whether you want it served to you or buffet style, here are some of the most popular luau dishes* offered at our Maui luaus:
Kalua Puaʻa – Pork, usually roasted in the Imu, the Hawaiian underground oven
Laulau – Steamed pork wrapped in Lūʻau leaf
Maui Style Mahi – Mahi, Ono or Ahi (Fish) – Prepared many different ways
Teriyaki Steak – Tenderloin style steak, grilled to perfection
Chicken Long Rice – Shredded chicken, Maui onions, ginger and rice bean noodles in broth
Island Style Chicken – Chicken marinated with custom ingredients
Stir Fry Vegetables – May include Zucchini, Maui onions, carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and baby corn
Local-Style Fried Rice and/or Sticky Rice – Fried rice with all sorts of “goodies”, picked by your luau’s chef
Sweet Potato – Warm sliced purple Big Island sweet potatoes
Taro Salad – Taro and spinach folded in coconut sauce
Lomi-Lomi Salmon – Tomatoes, Maui onions, and salted salmon
Ahi Poke – Fresh raw ahi (yellow fin tuna) with green onions and Maui onions
Poi – Made from boiling and mashing the root of the taro plant
Desserts – Haupia, pineapple upside down cake, guava cake, chocolate brownies,…
*These are just some of the most commonly featured dishes at our Maui luaus. Please review each individual luau page for its own menu selections.
What exactly is an “open bar”?
The majority of our luaus on Maui feature an “open bar” included in your luau admission. That means you will be entitled to unlimited beverages** from a selection of alcoholic (adults only*) and non-alcoholic beverages. Some of our Maui luaus will offer a longer list of beverages for VIP seat holders. For instance, VIP guests at the Royal Lahaina Luau not only get premium blended drinks, they also receive a beautiful souvenir Tiki Mug as part of their package.
* Hawaii drinking age is 21. Maui County Ordinance requires ALL adults consuming alcoholic beverages to present a valid Government issued picture I.D. in order to be served.
** drink responsibly. We recommend assigning a designated driver or taking a taxi or public transportation if one is not available. Please call us at 808-214-1013 and we’ll be happy to assist you with transportation options.
What should I wear? Is there a dress code for the luau?
Maui Luaus do not have a dress code. You can wear whatever you’d like, however since this will be one of your special evenings while on Maui, we recommend wearing something fun… something that screams “ALOHA”. You’ll find awesome deals on Aloha Wear (even matching outfits) throughout Maui. Most luaus will check you in an hour prior to sunset, so whatever you decide to wear, make it light and comfortable.
What should I bring?
- Camera with plenty of battery & memory
- Light cover-up. Temperatures will drop a bit after the sunset
- Cash or Credit Card for possible purchase of pictures, local crafts, fresh flower lei, etc.
- Cash for a gratuity for your waiters (not included in price and much appreciated!)