Kona Hawaiian Feast

Luau in Kona

Lu'au's in Hawaii are a really fun way to spend an evening. The food is tasty and plentiful and the entertainment is great. It is like having a huge picnic where everything is taken care of for you and all you have to do is enjoy the tropical climate and breezes, eat until your tired, and sit back and enjoy the show.

This is a photo description of a Lu'au we went to in Kona. This Lu'au was on the grass in front of the King Kamehameha Hotel and hosted by Island Breeze productions. We really enjoyed the food and the entertainment. We have been to other Lu'aus on Maui and Oahu and enjoyed them too. Each production company differs a little, but the food is usually great and the environment is always beautiful. This will give you an idea of what a Lu'au in Hawaii is like.

We arrived early to get a good place in line. The line got long quickly.

Line for Luau

Luau crowd

We were greeted by a Hawaiian comedian that encouraged us to buy leis and enjoy the show.

Luau greetings

We were seated with a great view of Kona Kailua bay. The sun was low in the sky, so it wasn't hot at all. The weather was perfect for sitting outside.

Luau setting Kona

Luau dining area

After being seated, we were told that Mai Tai's and fruit punch were available on the lawn. The Mai Tais were low on alcohol, but beer and wine were also available at a bar and the bartender was happy to add rum to the Mai Tais. There was entertainment on the lawn.

Luau announcer

First we went for the Mai Tais.

Mai Tai at Luau

Then we wandered around the lawn to check out the entertainment. We got a close view of the cooking pit where the pig had been cooked. Pork is a big part of the Lu'au feast and it is cooked in a special outdoor pit in the traditional Hawaiian manner.

Luau pig cooking pit

The Lu'au staff led a session in weaving with leaves and drew temporary tatoos on the kids. The activities engaged the kids and adults.

Crowd around fun activities

Luau weaving demo

Here is a video of the fun.

When the fun on the lawn ended, everyone was urged to return to the dining area. The buffet had been set out in preparation for everyone to help themselves, cafeteria style.

Lu'aus are feasts, so that means a lot of dishes heaped with food. The purple stuff in the bowl below is Poi - a paste made from pounding Taro root. Poi is always served at a Lu'au. Some folks like it and others don't, but it is fun to try all the special local foods. Lomi salmon is made with cold diced salmon, tomatoes and onion (in the bowl at the bottom); it is a local favorite.

Hawaii Luau Food

Hawaii Luau salads

In addition to green lettuce salad, there are tropical fruit mixes, pineapple, potato-mac salad, jello, corn salad, and more.

Hawaii Luau Food

The traditional Hawaiian Lu'au entree is Kalua Pig which is shredded pork (at the bottom) and is accompanied by other meats like beef, chicken, fish, and Lau Lau (meat stuffed in Ti or Taro leaves).

Hawaiian traditional Luau food

Below is a closeup of Pork Lau Lau, Teriaki Beef, and Kalua Pig.

Hawaii Traditional Luau food

Lines are set up so everyone can get their food as quickly as possible. Hawaiians understand being hungry.

Hawaii Luau food

Banana bread and purple sweet potatoes below are a Big Island specialty.

Hawaii Banana bread and sweet potato

There was no shortage of deserts!! Pineapple cake, coconut cake, banana breads, and traditional Hawaiian coconut pudding (Haupia) were served.

Hawaii Luau cake

The next phase of the Lu'au was loading up our plates with as much food as we could. At most Lu'aus you can eat all you want, 2nds and 3rds, until the food is gone. We always run out of stomach space before we want to stop eating.

Hawaii Luau food lines

Hawaii Luau dining

We were instructed to go up to the serving lines, table by table, so there was not a crush of people. While everyone was filling up their plates, or waiting to fill their plates, the hula show began.

Luau Dance troup

And while we ate, the entertainment continued.

Luau entertainment

As the evening progressed, it got darker and darker. Entertainment at our Lu'au included a married couples dance, finding the oldest person in the crowd, and other light hearted fun. Lu'aus often have a Christian orientation and meles, as Hawaiians are predominately Christian.

The highlight of the Lu'au entertainment was the fire dance.

Luau fire dancer

You can see a net in front of the dancer to protect the crowd from a stray fire stick.

Hawaii Luau fire dancing

Luau fire dancing Kona

Then it was over. A wonderful and very filling evening for everyone.

Some Tips:

Many Lu'aus offer a special seating package which includes a lei, a smaller line that enters first, is seated closer to the stage, and is first in line for food. For $15 or $20, it may be worth avoiding the wait in a longer line.

If you don't want to pay for special seating, get in line early to ensure a better seat. We were early and very happy with our close up seating.

We were able to get better prices by watching a timeshare presentation. If anyone in the group is willing to spend a hour or so doing that, it saves money for a large group.

Take a hat to avoid the sun being in your eyes during sun set.

Cameras are OK to take, though at our Luau they asked us not to video tape the dancers. Only pictures were allowed of the hula and fire dances.

Copyright 2009, 2010