Old Lahaina Luau

Hi friends! How’s the day going? Ready for the weekend? I’m heading to LA for an event, we have an afternoon of SUP planned with friends, and we’re taking Liv to see Inside Out. (Confession: I think I want to see it just as much as she does.) If you’re over the Hawaii recaps (our adventures/hotel are here and the delightful food is here!), this is the final one: the Old Lahaina Luau.

We knew that we wanted to attend at least one luau for the full Hawaii experience, and to enjoy some traditional dance, music and food during our stay. When I put the call out for Maui recommendations, the Old Lahaina Luau was the most frequent luau suggestion, as many of you have visited and claimed that it was the best. I checked out a LOT of reviews online and immediately decided that this would be the one; it has a reputation for being the most authentic luau, with the best food and entertainment. Needless to say, we were thrilled when Old Lahaina offered to host our luau experience since we were planning on attending anyway.  

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We arrived at the venue, where we were immediately greeted with fresh flower leis and drinks. (I got a virgin Mai Tai, the Pilot got the real deal. Drinks were bottomless all night, and they had a full drink menu. All of the beverages could be made without alcohol, so Livi and I shared a couple of virgin Lava Flows <— dessert in liquid form.)

Right away, I was surprised by the vast property. We had a luau at our hotel, which is also supposed to be very good, but it was in a much smaller space (a stage with surrounding dinner tables). At Old Lahaina Luau, the property includes sprawling areas of lush greens with the ocean and exquisite sunset in the background.

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They have two seating options: dining tables (8 to a table, so you may be sitting by people you don’t know), and traditional-style seating with low tables and pillow seats on the ground. We had a front dining table with a perfect view of the entertainment. Immediately the mood was set with live musicians,

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traditional dancers,

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and stations throughout the property for photo ops (they had photographers on site) and to check out traditional crafts.

We learned about the instruments,

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how printed fabric is made (using seed pods and dyes from plants and berries),

and walked past the area where the pig was cooking in the underground grill.

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Liv was very interested to hear about how the pig was removed, and this guy kindly showed her the tool they use and explained that the pig is very heavy (250 lbs of meat).

(Don’t worry, no pig pictures to follow.)

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We headed back to our table, where we met the families seated near us (a husband and wife from Phoenix, and a dad with two daughters who were so sweet and lovely to Liv), and our server, Randy. Each table was called up to the buffet to avoid pure food chaos (the whole process was seamless) and I tried to get little bits of everything (minus the pork and red meat) to taste.

Luau cheers

Luau food

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I wish I would have snapped a pic of the full spread, but here’s a list of the menu:

Kalua Puaʻa

Pork roasted in our beachside Imu; the Hawaiian underground oven

Laulau: Pork wrapped in Lūʻau leaf steamed to perfection

Maui Style Mahi-Mahi Chef’s Special Preparation

Pulehu Steak Tenderloin style steak, grilled to perfection

Chicken Long Rice: Shredded chicken, Maui onions, ginger and rice bean noodles in broth

Island Style Chicken: Chicken marinated with guava sauce garnished with fresh pineapples and toasted sesame seeds

Stir Fry Vegetables: Zucchini, Maui onions, carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and baby corn

Local-Style Fried Rice: Fried rice with green onions, peas, and sesame oil

Sweet Potato: Warm sliced Big Island sweet potatoes

Island Crab Salad: Crab, shrimp and water chestnuts

Taro Salad: Taro and spinach folded in coconut sauce

Pohole Salad: Fern shoots, Maui onions and tomatoes served in a vinaigrette sauce

Lomi-Lomi Salmon: Tomatoes, Maui onions, and salted salmon

Ahi Poke: Fresh raw ahi (yellow fin tuna) with green onions and Maui onions

Poi: Made from boiling and mashing the root of the taro plant

Fresh Island Fruit & Banana Bread 

Assorted Island Desserts: Passion Fruit Cake, Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie, and Haupia

I loved EVERYTHING, but the stars of the show (to me!) were the crab salad, mahi-mahi, banana bread, and the haupia (which is like a coconut pudding. If anyone has a recipe, please send my way!)

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While we were feasting to our hearts’ delight, the show began, which included live music, chanting, singing, dancing, and an enchanting narration of the history of Hawaii.

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Livi soaked in every second. I spent half of the show watching her, and the entranced look on her face. 

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Hula dreams do come true.

Livi and hula dancers

Thank you again to Old Lahaina Luau for making our last night in Maui so magical <3

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  1. I think I went to that same Luau when I was in 5th grade 🙂

  2. Lauren R says:

    OMG Livi’s face in that picture with the dancers =pure joy!!!

  3. Erika S. says:

    The last family pic and the one with Liv and the dancers is too adorable! looks awesome and I hope to go some day!!

  4. I am from Kauai and live in Portland. I enjoyed your sharing of your Maui vacation. They have hula (halaus-schools) in southern California if Liv is interested in taking lessons!

  5. erin m. says:

    Liv is so adorable! I can’t believe how much food they had…it all looks amazing!

  6. I’m surprised you liked the food so much- my husband and I were pretty disappointed with it. The location can’t be beat, though!

  7. Your pictures are so beautiful!
    I am so excited to see Inside Out it’s not even funny! 🙂

  8. Just wonderful. You have a precious family.

    That food looks amazing, maybe one day soon we will visit. Thanks for sharing your vacation.. Have a wonderful evening.

  9. Yay! I’m so happy your sweet family enjoyed Hawaii. The pics brought back good wedding memories for me 😉 We need to go back…

    I cannot wait to take the Girls to see Inside Out!!!! So there.

  10. I LOVE that picture of the three of you! Oh man do I miss Hawaii!

    The first time I had Haupia was at the Polynesian Cultural Center and I loved it! Here’s their recipe!


  11. Yaara Leve says:

    Liv’s entraced face is so precious! She’s such a beauty! Now I want to take Hula lessons! Looks like you had an amazing time!
    PS: your eye makeup is on point girlfriend! I love that sky blue–it matches your dress so nicely! What color is that? So gorgeous!

  12. We did the luau at the Hyatt when we were there a few months ago, and had a great time. The Old Lahaina Luau looks awesome, though!

    I don’t have a recipe for haupia, but I bought a mix from World Market recently. I have no idea if it’ll be any good, but I was feeling nostalgic for Maui when I bought it, so, we’ll see!

  13. That is beyond cool and fun!

  14. Ohhh my gosh, that food sounds AMAZING. And that is definitely a show I’d be super into! Liv’s face watching it is the absolute best. I love how forward she is and not shy! My niece is just like that hahah.

    • Fitnessista says:

      she’s shy for about 30 seconds when you first meet her. then, you can’t find the “off” button haha

  15. It looks like Livi had a blast! Her little face looking at every thing! So cute!! What a great way to end your trip!

  16. This looks like such a special experience! And that menu of food! Wow.

  17. Angelica says:

    Thank you so much for recapping your trip to Hawaii! I brought back wonderful memories! My husband and I went for our honeymoon and stayed at the same resort and went to the same luau! By the second day, I was already looking for rental properties to permanently stay!

  18. Jacqueline says:

    Ahhhhh, Maui…. I lived across the street from the Old Lahaina Luau for about a year, a little further down Front Street, but I did have the opportunity to go to many, if not most, Luaus in Maui and this one is simply the best. So glad you had a wonderful time. Hawaii is a certainly a most magical majestic place.

  19. I’m going to see Inside Out tonight and I cannot wait! I will most likely be the only one their above 12 without a child, but I’m going anyways! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  20. Here’s a haupia recipe: http://onokinegrindz.typepad.com/ono_kine_grindz/2005/10/haupia.html

    Credentials: I was born and raised in Hawaii, this is the real deal. 😉 Some people add a bit of vanilla, but it’s not necessary.

    AND THEN, once you’ve succeeded at that, you NEED to make this. In fact, make this first, since you’re on a pie kick these days:

    Chocolate haupia pie (http://www.recipezaar.com/Chocolate-Haupia-Coconut-Pie-112524)

    There’s a place (on Oahu) that makes THE BEST pies and the chocolate haupia is hands down the best thing in the world. I have made it 100 million times and it has 100% disappeared every time. For this recipe, I usually go the full dairy, full sugary route, but some modifications are: sometimes I do a graham cracker crust with crushed macadamia nuts mixed in or something like that, too, which is also good. You can also substitute the regular milk with another non-dairy milk, and whip coconut cream instead of regular cream. And use dark instead of semi-sweet chocolate). Please make this, thank me later. 😉

  21. Livi’s hair and outfit. OMG! She is so adorable. I went to that luau 20 years ago when I was 16. So fun to hear about your experience!

  22. I never comment on anything but Ohhhhhmyg Olivia is so freakin cute I can’t stand it!!!!

  23. That photo of Liv entranced and then with the hula girls = priceless! Looks like a wonderful nigh t.

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