After going to several Luau’s in Hawaii, I was intrigued by how to throw a party like this back state side. This is my menu inspiration – taking the authentic menu staples and altering them a bit. Traditional with a twist.
1. Lomilomi – a salad consisting of salmon, tomatoes, and other condiments.
I love the idea of turning this traditional salad into a fun appetizer by making it into a crostini. All the same ingredients in a more convenient package. Smoked salmon slices, a relish of tomato, onion and herbs on top of toast points with herb butter. Squeeze some lemon on top for a bit of brightness and you have a great appetizer with the authentic flavors.
2. Poke – bite size raw fish (usually tuna), salt, onions, and other components such as sesame oil or soy sauce.
Why mess with perfection? This on trend food is everywhere in many different versions. Pick your favorite and go with it. Serve on crispy wontons or have them on the side.
Supplement these two appetizers with a medley of macadamian nuts and tropical fruit. The macadamian nuts come in all sorts of flavors. My favorites are onion & garlic and kona coffee glaze. Available here.
3. Kalua Pua’a – or roast pork is THE centerpiece of any Luau. It is traditionally roasted in an underground oven called an imu.
But… I’d stick to a crock pot – great way to prepare food for parties, so easy. Keep the seasoning simple. Some sea salt, onions, throw in a good Hawaiian beer for some liquid and extra flavor.
My favorite tricks for getting that smoky flavor and texture are searing the meat on all sides before putting it in the crock pot. Yes, it adds an extra step, but the texture of that crispy skin with the tender pork definitely makes a huge difference.
Second trick? Add a little liquid smoke to the crock pot. This quick cheat definitely helps get that smoked all day taste.
4. Potato Salad – yup, the same kind served at most summer picnics and 4th of July celebrations.
Although I love a good traditional potato salad, for this menu I am inspired to go with simple roasted potatoes. I love the idea of incorporating the purple Okinawan potatoes found all over Hawaii. Keep it easy, butter or olive oil, salt & pepper, herbs. Just like this recipe.
5 . Taro Rolls – spice up this traditional Hawaiian bread roll with a coconut butter spread! Mmmm. Don’t feel like making the rolls? Just pick up some King’s Hawaiian rolls. The coconut butter would go great with them as well!
Supplement these menu items with some grilled pineapple slices and a simple green salad. I love the idea of using a pineapple salad dressing to keep with the Hawaiian flavors.
6. Haupia – cubes of coconut custard.
Although this dessert is delicious, I’m keeping things on the easy side and suggesting serving some coconut ice cream for the end of this meal. Same flavors, but the stress free and refreshing version.
I hope this menu is as inspiring to you as it is to me! Check back next week for Luau decor!