Tiki torches, grass skirts, flowery leis and plenty of music, roasting a pig and fun? It’s a luau, the traditional Hawaiian feast that’s become synonymous with good times.
Tips for Roasting a Pig and Making Your Hawaiian Luau
The Hawaiian word “luau” may be technically defined as a feast, but it’s so much more. A genuine luau in Hawaiian tradition took months to plan and prepare because it’s a community gathering as well a contest of skill and smarts. So allow plenty of time and set up a budget as a guideline for the party.
Start by planning to hold a luau outside, as it would be in authentic Hawaiian culture. If palm trees don’t grow in the region, set up some cutouts and think about adding some vivid tropical flowers in pots. Decorate the party space with tiki torches, seashells, fishnets, grass skirts, colored streamers – anything to suggest the warm, bright atmosphere of the islands. Make sure these are movable decorations in case the party has to move indoors for some reason.
Let the guests know well in advance of the Hawaiian luau theme. Emphasize that dress is tropic casual – Hawaiian shirts and baggie shorts, muu-muus, sarongs and sandals, straw hats and bikini tops and grass skirts. Greet each guest with a flower lei (real if the budget allows, silk if cost is an issue). Don’t forget a warm “Aloha!”
For drinks there’s no problem — tropical cocktails like Mai Tais, Pina Coladas and Daiquiris are a perfect choice, especially if presented in coconut shells. Be sure to serve non-alcoholic cocktails, iced tea or fruit punch for the underage crowd and those who don’t drink alcohol. Top all the drinks with colorful little cocktail umbrellas.
Roasting a Pig is Included in Your Hawaiian Luau
Luau menus center on generous portions of roasted meat and side dishes, especially fruit in chunks. Roasting a pig on your backyard will definitely impress the guests. Check with a local butcher about getting a pig for roasting. Other menu options include entrees of chicken, pork, beef or fish, often marinated with teriyaki sauce and grilled on the barbecue.
Teriyaki sauce’s savory-sweet flavor also makes a great dipping sauce. As a last resort, there’s always a pineapple-and-clove-studded ham, but think about trying at least one unusual recipe. To complete your luau experience, make sure to have the right tools of roasting a pig and use your La Caja China.
Hawaiian Luau, Roasting a Pig and More Fun
A real luau’s fun includes music, dancing and games of skill and strength. Again, if the budget allows, there may be a local social club of Pacific Islanders with a dance group who’d be happy to entertain for a donation. They may even teach guests the hula. Rig games with a Hawaiian theme, such as “Pin the Tail on the Piggy,” “Bobbing for Fish” in a toddler swimming pool, or “Hot Coconut” instead of “Hot Potato.” Younger children can string their own leis with plastic flowers and fishing line, while older children and adults can join in spear-throwing contests (make sure the ends are blunt). For prizes, the little ones will love small, tropical-themed toys while the grown-ups will probably appreciate bags of ground Kona coffee (especially if they’ve had too many Mai-Tais).
Most of all, a Hawaiian luau is for enjoying good food and good company. So put on the island music, don a grass skirt and get in the South Pacific spirit and start roasting a pig!