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Kauai Luaus And Shows

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The Best Luau in Kauai.

The Best Luau in Kauai really has two contenders. Each Kauai luau has a deep lineage in the island (see history of Luau) and has a heritage that predates any new challengers. Review these options for the Best Kauai Luau. Each luau gets high rankings for food, setting and entertainment. Pick the one you want and rest assured that you will not have gone wrong in choosing the Best Luau in Kauai (Hawaiian Luau Party).

Each of the best luau in Kauai contenders has deep roots in Kauai's past. More so than any other island these Kauai events are held at places that have a major historical background on the island. One is located at the mouth of what is the largest fresh water river in Hawaii, the Wailua River. The grounds are nestled on the jungle banks of the river just before it empties into the ocean. This region was well populated by the ancient Hawaiians and the luau itself dates way back to being one of the first commercial shows in the state. The second luau also has historical significance in that it is located on the site of the immense Kilohana Plantation with its extravagant 16,000 sq/ft estate that was built in 1935 by Kauai's original sugar baron, Gaylord Wilcox. 

What Happens at each Kauai Luau?
  • The luau in Kauai is the quintessential Hawaiian feast and shows such as these can only be found in Hawaii. Those featured here will provide you with the essential elements: traditional food including the cooking of the pig in an Imu, cocktails, hula dancing and entertainment, and fire-knife dance.
  • These performances are essentially a giant Hawaiian feast where people come together from near and far to enjoy an evening of fun, entertainment and great food and take enjoyment in each other's company.

Food at your Luau

The food is the key ingredient and is always found in abundance.

The sharing of food (Luau Food) is a ritual in itself and many of the individual foods you will be eating at your luau each have their own respected place in the culture of old Hawaii.

You may find some of these foods different from what you are accustomed to eating and that is part of the whole experience.

There are so many familiar items on your buffet, so you won't go away hungry. You should at least taste the food choices, no matter how exotic. You might not be familiar with them but you might be surprised to find that you really like them.

Pig Cooked in a Pit or underground oven called an 'Imu'

  • The absolute single cornerstone of food prepared at your luau will be the "kalua pork", or pig, which is prepared in the traditional manner in an underground pit called an "imu".
  • The preparation will begin early in the morning when your large imu pit is dug in the sand.
  • Dry, and hard Kiawe limbs and branches (these trees are known in North America by their Indian name Mesquite) are placed on the bottom of the pit with many rounded river rocks placed on top of the pile. The Kiawe is lit on fire and after a couple of hours all that is left on the bottom of the pit are hot coals and incredibly hot rocks which will maintain the heat for hours to come.
  • These hot rocks are then leveled on the bottom of the pit and juicy fresh cut banana stalks are placed over them followed by banana leaves to provide a bed to place the pig upon.
  • The pig is then lowered into the pit and covered with more banana leaves and "ti" leaves to keep the heat in. A tapa cloth, tarp or blanket is then placed over the whole affair and then the pit is covered with beach sand.
  • The rocks heating the juicy banana stalks will cause a steam or pressure cooker effect in the imu and after about 6 to 8 hours the pig will be unearthed. The intense steam will have cooked the meat to the extent that it's tender and juicy meat will just fall away from the bone and the moisture from the banana stalks will have kept the meat moist and delicious for later in the evening.

Other delicacies which are usually provided:

  • lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, haupia (coconut dessert), poi (pounded from the taro root--very nutritious), veggies, salad, steaks, roasted chicken, fresh fish, rice, lots of specialty items, desserts and much more.
  • An open bar is also usually provided which will include Mai Tai's and mixed drinks of all kinds with wine and beer. There will be plenty of selected drinks for the children as well.

Entertainment at your luau

The major entertainment of the evening will of course include hula dancing and the fire-knife dance but this is where each of your shows will vary in their originality with different performances.
  • Kauai shows tend toward an emphasis on traditional Hawaiian in that they provide dance and song that is specific to the culture of old Hawaii.
  • Both will also provide entertainment that can be found from other cultures throughout the Pacific Rim such as from New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji and Tahiti. The most memorable and perhaps the most exciting of all forms of entertainment would be the Samoan Fire-Knife dancing. This usually comes near the end of the evening and is a performance children in particular look forward to seeing.

Luaus are always held at sunset time, continue into the evening and are filled with the romance of the islands and its people. Whether you're a child or a senior citizen, just-married or celebrating your 65th, this evening will be a special one for you, and a uniquely Hawaiian experience.

Norwegian Cruise Line - Pride of America Cruise Ship:

Of the 2 best Kauai Luaus, the Smith Family Luau will arrange for a shuttle pick up at the cruise ship pier starting Feb. 2nd, 2017 at an additional cost of $13.00 This popular show can be set up for the Thursday of your cruise itinerary. The Kalamaku Luau does not operate on Thursday evenings

Checkout Tom's Tips and Insights about Kauai Lu'aus And Shows

Tom Barefoot's Tips
  • Tom's Tips - Kauai Lu'aus

    So its May 23rd today. We just had someone call 15 minutes ago to make a booking for the Smith's Lu'au for January 1st of next year. That's how popular this lu'au is. It is one of the oldest and longest running lu'aus in all of Hawaii and it has the charm that comes with old time Kauai. The setting along side the Wailua River with the jagged emerald covered mountains of Kauai's coastal east side in the background, make this location a Hawaii icon. If you get to the lu'au a bit early you will have time to wander the outdoor gardens with all the tropical planting and trees that have existed along the river for years on end. That in itself could occupy all your time but it can't, because you have a lu'au to attend. You will be instantly attracted to the demeanor of all the staff who will treat you like family and the entire evening will be one to remember all the way through to the end of the show which is held at their own 'specific built' amphitheater... read more.

Luaus And Shows Sorted by Company

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(24 Reviews, 4.9 Stars)

Smith's Tropical Paradise

1 Activity Option

Smith's Tropical River Cruise, Wailua Marina State Park, Wailua River and Marina State Park, River B

No lu'au on Kauai has ever been able to compare in any way with the Smith's Lu'au on the banks of the Wailua River. Dating back decades to its opening, its location, ambiance and Hawaiian hospitality bring you back to the days of old Hawaii. The acres of grounds filled with Hawaiian plants by themselves are worthy of a visit here and the dinner and special bowl like amphitheater they created specifically for their entertainment creates just the perfect environment for the quintessential Hawaiian lu'au.
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(9 Reviews, 4.6 Stars)

Lu'au Kalamaku

3 Activity Options

Lu'au Kalamaku

Like other lu'aus, we feature ono Hawaiian food, a dramatic torch lighting and imu ceremony, Tahitian rhythms, Hawaiian games, fantastic music, and traditional hula dancing...even the drums are crafted by the hands of our own drummers. This is where the similarity ends. Lu'au Kalamaku features a state-of-the-art media system and an interactive stage design which transports you to ancient Polynesia during the time of their remarkable migration to the Islands.
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Recent Reviews

Video Transcript

The general topic we're doing with here is Kauai lu'aus.

I'm sure you all know what a lu'au is, a giant Hawaiian feast, lots and lots of food, tons of food, lots of drink, all sorts of beverages, lots of entertainment, hula and otherwise, and just a general party.

Here's a few things you might now know about a lu'au, lu'aus of old. In the old days men and women were not allowed to be at the same table. Everyone also ate with their fingers. That was the tradition. We think we have big lu'aus now, but they were giant in the old days. There was one recorded event, 1847, King Kamehameha III had a lu'au in Honolulu in which they actually served 300 pigs cooked in a imu. If you can imagine how large that would've been, amazing.

One of the things that is really a tradition in Hawaii about lu'aus, one of the biggest things about getting married, having a family, having a child, is that the first birthday of a newborn is an extreme event in Hawaii. The lu'au for a first birthday is a big, big event. Quite often much larger than the actual Wedding itself, kind of celebrating the hard times it used to be to get a child to actually live to the age of one. It was a big celebration, still continues today.

One of the things that you should know, I think, about Hawaiian, or excuse me, Kauai lu'aus in general, is that the oldest commercial lu'au, and absolutely one of the very best that we have, not only in Kauai but in the state of Hawaii, is the Smith family lu'au on the Wailua River. You can learn about this a little bit more on our website. We love to recommend it. People are always writing us back about how much they enjoyed it. We've had people over the course of decades go back time and time again to enjoy the Smith's lu'au.

If you have any questions about Tours or Activities in Hawaii, just give us a call or check out tombarefoot.com. We're here to help.

The Hawaiian Lu'au, of all the various activities available in Hawaii, is certainly the most Hawaiian activity of all! The lu'au in Hawaii can truly only be found in Hawaii and this is the reason the Hawaii lu'au party has established itself in the hearts of the visitors who come to Hawaii as the quintessential Hawaiian event.

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On Oahu, we have a lu'au for every occasion. Enjoy the variety. Don't miss out on this traditional Hawaiian feast.

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Maui is often considered the very best island for lu'aus. Set aside a night for this activity but book early.

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There are so many beautiful locations for lu'aus on the Big Island.

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