Food You Will Find at a Hawaiian Luau

By March 30, 2022Luaus


This is the most common food you will find not only at a Luau but anywhere on the island. Poke, pronounced “Poh-KAY”, means to “cut crosswise into pieces” referring to the way our Hawaiian ancestors would cut fresh, raw fish. There are many fish and marinades that are used but generally it is prepared with ahi (tuna), soy sauce, sesame oil, and onions.



Poi is created by steaming taro roots and pounding them into a purple/gray paste. To locals of the islands it is a delicacy however, visitors deem it as an acquired taste. Depending on the age of the poi the taste can vary from lightly sweet mixed with a sour tang. As poi is very mild in taste it can be similar to unseasoned mashed potatoes. It is served as a side dish and we recommend getting some on your fork before taking a bite of kalua pig, poke, or laulau.


Kalua Pig

The word kalua means to bake in an underground oven also known as an imu. A whole pig is put into the ground and baked to perfection, the meat is shredded, and salted before serving. This dish can be served on its own or with chopped cabbage. It is commonly compared to pulled pork.



Is a traditional Hawaiian dish in which salted cubed pork, fish, and a starch (usually breadfruit) are wrapped in taro and ti leaves. It is then steamed until tender. The steamed taro leaves resemble the taste of steamed spinach. We recommended eating laulau with soy sauce and poi.


Lomi Lomi Salmon

Is a cold dish containing diced salmon, tomatoes, onions, and Hawaiian sea salt. As lomi means to massage, the ingredients are then hand mixed and served. It is a delicious savory side dish.


Chicken Long Rice

Introduced in the 19th century by the Chinese, this savory dish is the best on a cold day. It consists of shredded chicken, onions, ginger, garlic, chicken broth, and cellophane noodles. Depending on the chef it can resemble either a noodle soup or wet noodle dish.


Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is a fundamental part of any plate lunch in Hawai’i, you will find that it pairs perfectly with any local favorite dishes. This popular side dish contains elbow macaroni, mayonnaise, carrots, and seasonings.


Squid Luau

This authentic Hawaiian dish is made up of simmered luau leaves with sliced octopus or squid, sweetened coconut milk, and Hawaiian salt. The simmered luau leaves combined with the sweetened coconut milk resemble sweet creamed spinach in both its taste and appearance. Due to the color and texture it is one of Hawai’i’s more bizarre dishes for visitors, but the taste is phenomenal and definitely a must try.



This is the most common dessert you will find at any get together in Hawai’i. This sweet and creamy dish is composed of coconut milk and sugar that turns into a creamy jello pudding texture.


If you are at a luau and do not find these foods, you may not be at a true Hawaiian luau!