No visit to Hawai‘i would be complete without attending a lū‘au, an island feast featuring an abundance of tropical delicacies and an array of riveting hula performances. Originally called an ‘aha ‘aina or pā‘ina in the old days, these feasts were a way to thank the gods and celebrate the bounty of the land. While lū‘au have changed significantly in modern times, it’s still an essential part of life in Hawai‘i and is something every visitor should experience. Here on the Garden Isle, there are different ways to lū‘au.
Set amidst a beautiful garden, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Lu‘au welcomes visitors with fresh flower lei to the sound of a blowing conch shell. Learn to hula, make Hawaiian crafts and watch wood carvers before heading to the open bar and all-you-can-eat buffet of salads, fresh island fish, roasted pig, coconut pudding and other traditional and contemporary Island favorites. The “Havaiki Nui … A Journey to New Lands” show will take you on a journey across the Pacific, from Tahiti to New Zealand and Samoa and Hawai‘i, telling the epic tale of Polynesian migration, culminating in an exhilarating fire-knife performance. Thursdays and Saturdays, 5:30-8 pm. (808) 240-6546.
On Kaua‘i’s “Coconut Coast” on the banks of the sacred Wailua River, the Smith Family Garden Lu‘au is held on the grounds of Smith’s Tropical Paradise, a lush 30-acre cultural and botanical park. After touring the gardens, watch as a pig is ceremoniously unearthed from an imu, or underground oven. Meet members of the Smith family, who have been offering tours of Wailea River and Fern Grotto for four generations. During the lu‘au feast, the Rhythms of Aloha show includes traditional dances from around the Pacific and Asia in the spacious open-air, torch-lit Pele Amphitheater. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 5-9 pm. (808) 821-6895.
The Garden Isle’s “only oceanfront lu‘au” is just footsteps away from the crescent shaped Po‘ipu Beach. The Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort’s “Surf to Sunset Lu‘au” features award-winning entertainment, an extensive menu, and is great for the whole family. The elaborate banquet features both traditional Hawai‘i foods, like kālua pig, poi and poke, dishes inspired by North and Southeast Asia and an array of tropical desserts. Two packages are available, the traditional, or upgrade to the Golden Circle package which includes premier, stage-side seating, table service and a signature lei. Mondays and Fridays, 6 pm (808) 742-1661.