We picked 'Germaine's Luau' as it seemed to be the one with the most traditional food, the others appearing to cater more to unadventurous food types. Germaine's advertised:
This uses a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, or underground oven. Extremely hot volcanic rocks are placed in a hole and the hole is lined with vegetation such as banana leaves. A salted pig is placed inside and covered with more banana leaves to preserve the heat and flavor. Then, covered with burlap and soil, it's left to steam all day.
This is a fresh tomato and salmon salad, and was introduced to Hawaiians by early western sailors but still considered a traditional Hawaiian food. It is typically prepared by mixing raw salted, diced salmon with tomatoes, onion and occasionally flakes of hot red chili pepper.
A dish made from taro, which is kind of like sweet potato I guess, but purple...
Chicken long rice
A dish of cellophane noodles in chicken broth (Hawaiian food is heavily influenced by Asian cultures)
A coconut milk based dessert
It also served a local fish dish. All the fish we have had here to date has been great!
On arrival we were greeted with a shell lei and our photo was taken, which they attempted to flog to us for $20 when we left. It was actually a really nice photo, but rather than forking out $20 I sneakily took a photo of the photo without being noticed
Ahh, blurry... I guess that's karma...
The ticket price include 3 free drinks (well - "free" is a bit liberal as we'd already paid for our tickets!!), which we could 'supersize' if we bought large souvenier gasses from the gift shop. Which we did, of course :) First up - a Blue Hawaii
Only these and mai tai's were available for 1 drink ticket. These were a bit sweet and sickly and the mai tai's were blow-your-head-off strong, so that was disappointing. We still had drink tickets left over at the end of the night - imagine that!!
Next up - the big unveiling of the pig!
In all honesty this kind of grossed me out...
Never mind - on to the bit we were looking forward to the most - trying all this food!!
Lining up in anticipation, waiting, I could see the food (we were pretty hungry by this stage), the line creeping along so slowly - the food must be great and so people are taking their time to put a lot on their plate, hope they leave some for us! FINALLY at the food! First dish, pineapple colesaw.... Oh... well, give that a miss and leave room for the good stuff! Next up, potato and macaroni salad, then a garden salad (which, as per my previous post, we now know isn't done well in America!!), followed by a three-bean salad and fried chicken.... What the??? At this stage my plate was pretty empty. Well, totally empty apart from cutlery and a small serving of beans (not wanting to look like I was shunning everything...!!) But now - the real food, the food we had come to try! I filled my plate with kalua pig, lomi-lomi salmon, fried mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) and poi, yum!!
Actually, no - disappointing :(
The pig was nice but only in small doses (even Stu didn't finish his serve, which is saying something as he was so lookig forward to it), the fish was super dry having obviously been fried earlier then re-heated, and the poi was - well, you saw the picture - purple glue...! The lomi lomi salmon was nice, but we only got a small pre-portioned serving of that. Disappointed, I headed back to the buffet to load up on some of the rest of the (un-Hawaiian) dishes, needing more food. Bean salad, green salad, chicken, teriyaki beef - none of which was particularly enjoyable. At least they couldn't get dessert wrong, could they? Well, the chocolate cake was terrible, but the haupia was actually quite nice, sort of like a coconut flavoured custard in a jelly consistency (sounds gross, but good!).
To add to this, the bar lost power so drinks weren't available...
Throughout the night there was hula to entertain, complete with an MC straight out of a caberet show (think hawaiian shirt, beige trousers and a voice made for radio, who like bursting in to song in Hawaiian) and audience participation.
What - we have to participate?
Cold sweat, slide down in our seats so as not to be noticed, not even more drinks available to give us courage!! But - phew - it was purely voluntary. And I can now say that Americans love to participate! There was no stopping them! They were up there as quick as could be, solo-huluing (solo! as in up there on stage by themselves!!) and dancing around like they were at home with curtains closed!! Maybe this isn't unusual, but for two 'public display' introverts it was cringe-worthy... At least we didn't have to do it!
So all in all not quite the luau experince we had hoped for, but an experience all the same and isn't that what this trip is all about??!