Whether you take in a luau at one of the resort hotels, at Makiki, at Paradise Cove, or the Polynesian Culture Center, it helps to know what you are eating. Here are some hints:
Laulau – is the unwrapping of the outer ti leaves to expose the inner (edible) taro leaves. Expect the taste to be spinach like. Inside the ti leaves you’ll find either pork, chicken, or butterfish. Often cooked in the imu (underground), laulau is also cooked on the stove top.
Kalua – is pig that’s been cooking in the imu for years. The flavor is smoky and salty, and it is tender and juicy. If you don’t have an imu, you can also cook kalua in a crock pot, oven, or other slow cooker.
Lomi-lomi – Diced salmon, tomatoes, green and round onions, and salt; marinated overnight to enhance the flavors.
Poi – Mashed steamed or baked taro root with water added. Kalo, the taro plant, is central to the Hawaiian people so being offered poi is an honored tradition. Poi is very bland for our American palates, so don’t be a bad guest and turn your nose up at it. Instead, add sugar and eat it like a local.
Cites: O’ahu This Week; Welcome to O’ahu