You very well can’t go all the way to Hawaii and not do a luau. So we packed up the gang (8 of us in all!) and headed down the road to the town of Lahaina. There are several luaus to choose from on any of the islands, and we lucked out with the one we chose, because it was the best! Really. It was fantastic. The Fest at Lele greeted each person with a lei made out of ku-kui nuts and a mai tai.
We were the largest group of people there that night, considering everyone else was there with their spouse celebrating a marriage or anniversary. The tables were set up on the beach overlooking the most beautiful sunset. Then, the overindulgence of food and drink began!
The way The Feast at Lele works is in accordance with the settlers of the Hawaiian Islands. There were four people groups who inhabited this area; Hawaiians, Tahitians, Samoans and New Zealanders. The meal was 5 courses, including dessert, and each corse correlated with an aforementioned people group. But before I get ahead of myself, may I introduce one of the most delicious appetizers I’ve ever tasted. Banana and sweet potato chips with fresh salsa!
The first course was specific to the Hawaiian people, and included swordfish, greens and (our favorite) the famous Hawaiian kalua pork served over a bed of cabbage. Everything was so incredibly delicious, that it was hard to pace ourselves knowing that we had 4 more courses to follow.
Following the Hawaiian meal were Hawaiian dancers/singers. I’m told that the food and the Feast at Lele receives more emphasis than the historical accuracy of the singers and dancers. Nevertheless, it was educational and very entertaining, though it was difficult to tear our eyes away from the skyline.
The next course was from New Zealand and included fish patties, a green salad garnished with duck and sautéed mushrooms.
The dancers from New Zealand were ferocious and abrasive compared to the laid-back, slow moving Hawaiian dancers. Though with war between the tribes a genuine concern, the fact that it shows in their dance and song is not surprising. The women finished off the dancing with an interesting “twirling” routine.
Next (I believe) was the Samoan meal. It included chicken, an oyster bake and a ceviche. It wasn’t my favorite out of all of the meals, but it was interesting nonetheless.
The Samoan dancers, however, were my favorite. I loved their outfits and the music that accompanied them.
We finally reached our fourth course, and by this time everyone was a bit tipsy and getting extremely full, but we were having a blast! This final meal consisted of a shrimp and avocado salad, sweet potatoes and steak. Again, not my favorite, but that could have been because I had eaten three meals prior to.
And the dancers followed…
By the time dessert came around I was too eager to eat it, and completely forgot to take a picture of it. So, you’ll just have to imagine a plate filled with delicious tropical fruit, chocolates and pastries 🙂
The evening ended with a fire dance, shortly followed by the staggering audience making our way back to the resorts. Regardless of how uncomfortably full or obnoxiously drunk anyone was, everyone left with a huge smile on their face, and nothing but positive things to say about the evening.