A Luau Made in Paradise (Cove)

Evening entertainment at Paradise Cove Luau

Evening entertainment at Paradise Cove Luau

When you’re planning your Hawaiian holiday, or you’re already here and looking for a fun way to spend an evening, there’s no denying the popularity of Oahu luaus.

The History

A royal luau in the 1880s

A royal luau in the 1880s

With a history that dates to ancient times, luaus have traditionally been a feast to celebrate special occasions. This could be anything from coming of age to welcoming visitors from afar. It’s all about fun, food and family! Originally called ‘aha‘aina, these feasts were long subject to strict rules and religious taboos. Men and women weren’t allowed to eat together, and certain foods—including pork and bananas—were reserved for only the male alii, or nobility.

This stuffy tradition changed under the rule of King Kamehameha II (bless him), who ended those practices in the early 1800s when he sat down for a festive meal with his female relatives, forever changing Hawaiian society and creating a new tradition: the modern-day luau. The first meal shared between men and women included a dish of chicken wrapped in the young leaves of a taro plant and baked in coconut milk. The dish was called luau, which lent its name to this new type of party.

As visitor numbers increased to the islands, the luau to welcome them because a tourist attraction in itself, and today, there are lots of luau options when you visit Hawaii.

A Feast For Eyes and Tastebuds

Regardless of which of the many luaus on Oahu you choose, you’re likely to find many of the same staples on the menu. Luaus traditionally include the following dishes, among others:

  • Paradise Cove buffet

    You won’t go away hungry at Paradise Cove Luau

    Kalua pig: a delicious dish prepared by roasting a whole pig in an imu, or underground oven

  • Poi: pounded taro root
  • Chicken long rice: kinda sorta similar to chicken noodle soup, only less soupy and more Hawaiian
  • Laulau: a Polynesian tamale made of vegetables, meat, and fish steamed in ti leaves
  • Lomilomi salmon: Raw salmon, tomato, and onion “massaged” together and served very cold

Most Hawaiian luaus today serve a buffet that includes these delicacies, along with a range of other, more familiar foods to suit adults and children alike. This way, organizers can ensure there’s something for every palate.

One of the loveliest traditions of the luau is that every guest receives a lei when they arrive. This is a necklace made of fresh flowers, kukui nuts, or shells. It’s presented to welcome you, and is a way for locals to show affection towards visitors. As such, the offer of a lei should never be refused.

A Luau Made in Paradise…Paradise Cove, That Is

Paradise Cove crafts

Learn traditional Hawaiian crafts

One of Oahu’s favorite luaus is Paradise Cove, which offers a traditional luau with sunset coastal views. At Paradise Cove, you receive a mai tai with your welcoming lei and enjoy a feast of seafood, meats, tasty side dishes, and tropical fruit. The experience lasts around five hours so you can feast to your heart’s content, and then sit back and enjoy the show of Polynesian music, dance, and storytelling.

Even before your feast begins, you have a chance to learn about the arts and crafts of the island, and play some Hawaiian games. Learn the net fishing techniques with local fisherman on the beach, and witness the imu ceremony, where you see your main course being unearthed!

With three luau packages to choose from, there’s sure to be one for every taste and pocketbook.

Paradise Cove Luau is much more than just a feast, it’s an experience!

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