Ideas for Luau Food

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The pineapple is a traditional luau fruit served in many dishes.
The pineapple is a traditional luau fruit served in many dishes. (Image: pineapple image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

If you are hosting a Hawaiian-themed party, give your guests an authentic experience by preparing traditional luau foods. Hawaiian and Polynesian culture have influenced luau cuisine, which can be easily recreated with some research, practice and preparation. To complete the theme, don't forget the festive leis and grass skirts (for those who are daring enough to wear them).

Appetizers

Luaus are centered around food, so it's only right to offer your luau guests an assortment of appetizers to munch on while they mingle, dance and listen to music. Start off with Hawaiian poi, which, according to Polynesia.com, is a Hawaiian staple. Poi is a starchy dish of taro roots boiled in water and served with salt, sugar or soy sauce. Taro rolls are another common luau appetizer, made from taro flour, which have a purple hue and can be a vibrant way to add color to your appetizer table.

Main Courses

Chicken, fish, pork and beef are all acceptable ideas for luau entrees. Such foods are often smoked, barbecued or baked. What separates Hawaiian/Polynesian meat dishes from other cuisines is the sauce and flavorings. Coconut cream marinades, pineapple glazes and tangy sauces are primarily used in luau foods to keep meats rich and moist. Some traditional dishes include teriyaki chicken or beef, chicken with hoisin sauce and honey, and Kalua pua'a, or roast pork. Additionally, kabobs with meat, vegetables and pineapple are popular luau foods for grilling.

Desserts

Luaus offer lots of fruit to pair with main entrees or to be eaten individually for dessert. Tropical fruits, such as pineapple, coconut and papaya, add authenticity to your party. Fruit can be sliced or chopped into fruit salads, blended into smoothies or frozen for sorbets. Other types of traditional luau desserts include Haupia (coconut pudding) and Kulolo (taro pudding). And cakes, such as pineapple upside down cake, guava cake, coconut pie or banana custard, also make popular luau desserts.

Beverages

Offer your guests some luau punch by blending tropical fruit juices together, such as mangos, papaya, coconut and pineapple. You can even add some ice cream into the beverage to thicken the consistency. Blended icy drinks are popular for luaus, since they typically take place outside and often in hot temperatures. Coconut milk can be strained and poured over ice for a refreshing, milky beverage.

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