So, I think I mentioned a couple posts ago that we had originally thought our luau was on fishing day, but in reality it was on Road to Hana day. We had four “traditional” seats (meaning sitting at a low table on the ground) at the Old Lahaina Luau, right in front. The whole dining area surrounds a circular stage just off the surf, surrounded with thatched-roof buildings and palm trees. This place has all the charisma and Hawaii feel that the hotel luau we could see from our balcony lacked. If you want the real deal, I’d say go here.
As we walked in the door, we were lei’d and handed our choice of a Mai Tai or Mai Tai. I took a sip as we were ushered to our seats; way too much coconut for me. I scoped out the bar as we walked past. No sooner than we were seated did we all get up and wander back over to the bar. I don’t think anybody was happy with their mai tai, but no matter, because open bar! I ordered what was the first of a great many longboard lagers, and the girls both got some other mixed drinks.
Much happier now, we walked back around to the other side where the pig was buried. Thanks to the Hyatt Luau, I know how this part works:
Well in advance (the pig needs 8-12 hours to cook), they light a fire in the Imu (a big hole in the ground layered with large river rocks). Once the fire has burned down, the pig – well seasoned and tightly wrapped in banana leaves – is set over the rocks, and then the dirt from digging the hole is piled over the top. The hot rocks heat the banana leaves, creating steam, both of which do the cooking. Eight to twelve hours later, you dig the pig out of the pit, and serve it as Kahlua pig.
They made an event out of unearthing the pig, so much so that a large crowd had gathered so we weren’t able to see. I reached the camera up in the air and shot blindly; all I was rewarded with was a few shots of white hair. Oh well.
We went back to our seats where our server had brought us more drinks. We sat for a while and enjoyed our drinks as more people were seated. It wasn’t long before the buffet was ready and we were ushered over by our server as the first table to go. It was a good thing that the plates were huge; there were tons of food options. Ahi Tuna salad, barbecued chicken, salad with “Maui Onion dressing”, some interesting clear noodles, and of course, the Kahlua pig. I took a bit of most everything, filling my plate all the way up.
As we ate, the show started. This was much more traditional, with chants sung in a traditional tongue, and a drum leader who explained each dance before it began. The focus was on telling the stories of the Polynesian and Hawaiian gods, and of how the people came to find Hawaii. The dancing was very interesting and the clothing very distracting, but not in the way you think. I definitely came to this luau expecting coconuts and grass skirts, and I was not disappointed. However, as this was a traditional luau, the men were dancing as well. They didn’t have coconuts, and sometimes they didn’t have grass skirts – sometimes they had what looked like two hand towels, hanging front and back, to protect their modesty. That combined with the vigorous dancing made for quite the display.
The lighting was difficult, so I didn’t end up with too many pictures of the dancing itself. But overall, I’d say it was a lot of fun!