The Best Hawaiian Food at the Mauna Kea Luau

Best Hawaiian FoodVisitors from across the globe fly to the Island of Hawaii to sunbathe on beautiful beaches, explore the world’s most diverse natural habitat, experience the unique culture, and try authentic Hawaiian cuisines. You simply cannot leave Kaunaʻoa Bay without indulging in a luau dinner & show at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Not only will you have the pleasure of witnessing talented island dancers performing hula accompanied by traditional Hawaiian music, but you’ll be able to taste your way through a variety of authentic, island-inspired dishes alongside contemporary favorites. Discover the diverse tastes of the Hawaiian islands with family and friends at a magical luau outdoors under the stars near the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean. Then after dining on some of the best Hawaiian food on the island, complete your evening inside your elegant and relaxing ocean-view suite with a bottle of Dom Pérignon or other fine wine. Here are six delicious Hawaiian favorites available at every Mauna Kea luau.


Some say that poi is an acquired taste. That’s only true if you’re not correctly pairing it with other Hawaiian food. Poi is a nutritious, thick, pasty traditional starch dish made from taro root, which isn’t overly different from a potato. It’s starchy, faintly sour taste pairs tastefully with lomi-lomi salmon, kalua pig, and many other local proteins.


Most of our Mauna Kea restaurants, including in-room dining, serve fresh poke bowls. Many guests may have already tried poke, pronounced poh-kay, or have seen it on a menu at a local restaurant. Poke is, quite simply, cubes of raw fish combined with seasonings and onion. Every establishment has their own “secret” way of making this island favorite. Mauna Kea offers housemade ahi (tuna) poke that is seasoned lightly with soy sauce, Hawaiian sea salt, and onions.


The best Hawaiian food, to some, is laulau. Laulau is small chunks of pork and often a small piece of fish, wrapped in taro leaves and an outer ti leaf and then cooked in an underground oven heated with hot rocks, called an imu, for hours. The slow pressure-cooker-like steaming helps earn its tenderness and smoky flavor. The taro leaves resemble cooked spinach or kale after smoking for a few hours.

Kalua Pig

Best Hawaiian FoodFor true pork lovers, one can never get enough. Kalua pig is slow-cooked in the same underground imu oven as laulau after the pig is stuffed with red-hot lava rock and topped with ti and banana leaves. Kalua pig perfectly pairs with a bed of steamed rice, Portuguese sweet bread and butter, Island stir-fried vegetables, and of course poi.

Chicken Long Rice

While chicken long rice is technically not a traditional Hawaiian delicacy, it’s part of Hawaii’s culinary diversity, said to have originated from Chinese plantation workers. It is often a side option at a luau. Chicken long rice is clear mung bean noodles that are cooked in chicken stock. The result is a tasty stew of clear noodles and chicken with a hint of ginger.

Lomi-Lomi Salmon

Many locals believe lomi-lomi salmon is the very best Hawaiian dish, mainly because of its pairs perfectly with poi. Lomi-lomi is raw, cured salmon that is diced and tossed with tomatoes and diced sweet onions. It resembles pico de gallo in many ways without the kick.

Best Hawaiian Food

Take a peek at the Mauna Kea luau menu to see culinary extravaganza available to every guest. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel also has beautiful beachside and ocean view restaurants, one of the best golf courses in Hawaii, and guestrooms and suites that provide laid-back luxury and understated elegance. For more information about our twice-weekly luau, visit our detailed website!

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