Hawaii Luau Party


Lynn Makalani Oakley

Get your friends involved in the preparation and planning. Getting ready is half the fun! Do as much preparation as possible ahead of time so that you can enjoy yourself at the lu’au.

You’ll want colorful flowers everywhere: on your clothes, in your hair, around your neck, on your tables. Use the most fragrant flowers available to you. Otherwise, douse your silk flowers with floral perfumes. Anthurium floral arrangements conjure up visions of Hawai'i. Hardy flowers like stephanotis make nice lei and are easy to string together with needle and thread.

For venue décor use lots of greens (ferns, palm fronds, banana leaves) and flowers; drape fishnets and sarongs; display seashells and surfboards; put up Hawai‘i travel posters. Be creative and make it colorful and fun.

Use tiki torches if your venue allows. Line the driveway with them and decorate the yard. Add festivity and soften the lighting with paper lanterns.

Lu'au are informal seated affairs, almost picnic-style. Traditionally, lu'au guests sat on the grass or on woven lauhala mats placed on the ground or floor, and frequently ate off low tables. Long tables of any height are preferable, allowing more guests to eat and laugh together.

Cover your eating and serving tables with plain white paper or decorated wrapping paper. This inexpensive paper table covering makes for easier clean up. At the close of your lu’au, simply roll up your “tablecloth” – plastic forks and spoons, paper plates, empty plastic cups and all – and toss it in the nearest garbage bag!

Decorate tables with greens (leaves, ferns) down the center, and top with flowers and tropical fruits. Add to the dinner tables wood bowls of pupu (hors d’oeuvres) like macadamia nuts, smoked meats and fish and cut pineapple.

Serving dinner buffet style is the easiest. Use wood bowls and platters if you can. Decorate the buffet table with greens, tropical fruits, flowers and seashells. Use raffia skirts or Hawaiian print fabric as table skirts.

Learn and use the “shaka” sign, which shows you mean to seriously “hang loose.” Make a fist and put a smile on it by extending your thumb and pinky finger out. This happy Hawaiian hand sign is very popular with locals in Hawai’i.  Flash the “shaka” sign often, as the natives do. 

Dressing Hawaiian style is easy: wear bright colorful clothes, especially with floral prints. For men: aloha shirts with slacks or shorts, or surf attire. For women: sarongs, sundresses and mu‘umu‘u (Hawai‘i’s popular loose fitting, long flowing dresses). Wear slippers or go barefoot.  Wear flowers in your hair and a lei or two around your neck.

Hawaiians are known for their generous hospitality. Welcomes are very important. Greet your arriving guests with a lei and a kiss and with aloha, the Hawaiian greeting meaning love.

(Be sure to check out Uncle Don's Hawaiian Recipes for more ideas!)


4                      pieces flank steak (cut into 3" lengths, thin sliced )
1 cup               soy sauce
4 Tbsp             granulated sugar
2                      cloves garlic (minced) or (grated)
2 Tbsp             sweet sherry (optional)
2 tbsp             sesame seeds (optional)
1 tsp                grated fresh ginger

Put all in a plastic bag, shake to coat, and marinate 24 hours in the refrigerator. Place meat on a cake rack (line the pan with foil first) and bake at 200 degrees for 5 hours. Check after 5 hours. The meat should be chewy but dry.



3                 medium red potatoes
1 pkg          elbow macaroni
½ bag         frozen peas (rinsed in cold water)
4                 hard-boiled eggs (save one for garnish)
½ C.           grated carrots
½ C.           celery, chopped fine
2 Tbsp        onion, grated or chopped finely
1 ½-2 C.    Best Foods mayonnaise, to taste
¼ C.           pickle relish (optional)
                  Salt & pepper to taste

Cook potatoes; peel and cut into cubes while still slightly warm and season lightly with salt. Boil macaroni in salted water until tender. Rinse in cold water and drain.

Mix potatoes and macaroni in big bowl with the frozen peas (no need to cook them).
Add 3 of the chopped eggs, grated carrots, celery and onion. Add mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Garnish with egg slices and parsley before serving.

Note: This salad can be made the night before but you will have to add some more mayonnaise the next day to moisten.

Serves 8.

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