Two First Luau’s

Mike is part of a large Hawaiian family headed by Kimokeo Kapahulehua, known to his family as “Uncle.” Google him, he is fascinating. Anyway, Mike, Kathy, Frances, Daniel and their daughters (my granddaughters) became hanai members of Kimokeo’s family when they were informally adopted by his family a couple of years ago during an extended stay in Kauai.

The luau was even better than we expected. We set up the tables and chairs starting at 7:30 AM, cleaned the pool and deck, carted in ice, food and drinks. We ran multiple errands all day and barely managed to squeeze in a good nap.

You probably know that a luau is a Hawaiian feast and celebration, usually held outdoors and includes live entertainment. The first known luau was thrown by King Kamehameha 200 years ago this year! There is another reason to celebrate. Let’s have another luau!!!

The food for the luau was prepared by Kimokeo’s family who live on various Hawaiian islands. In fact, several participants in the luau came from other islands to celebrate Vivian’s first birthday with us.

It is really understating what they did to say they “prepared” the food. Yes, they cut, cooked and wrappedb but they also caught the fish a couple of days before, shot the deer for venison three days before and created some amazing (to me delicacies) Hawaiian food. I spoke with Russell, one of Kimokeo sons and husband of “head chef” Sybil, to learn all about how the food was obtained. I also learned that “David” in Hawaiian is Kawika (the w is sounded like a v.) While Russell didn’t say it as I didn’t ask, I am willing to bet they raised the pork and grew the cucumbers.

Now, I am not a fussy eater, however, I am also not an adventuresome one. As I passed through the food line I explained as well as Vivians’, this was my first luau too, and needed an explanation of what each dish was. NO ONE batted an eye at my naïveté and were genuinely excited to be able to share this experience with me.

This is my plate of food prior to diving in. In full candor the plate was scraped clean when I finished and there is no sense in boring you with a photo of a cleaned, but dirty tray.

No recipes are available for any of the food, except macaroni salad, white rice and melon, but you can Google to find something close. If it tastes a little like heaven, you may have found one of Sybil’s recipes.

  • Cucumber Kimchi – cucumbers, salt, vinegar, garlic, ginger – fermented

  • Chicken Long Rice – bean thread noodles, chicken broth, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sugar

  • Pulled Pork – shredded pork, teriyaki, ginger, sugar, soy, onions, chicken broth,

  • ‘O’oi – a bonefish purée served raw

  • Squid Luau – a traditional Native Hawaiian cuisine food. It is made with squid (or octopus), taro (lu’au) leaves, coconut milk, garlic, water, and Hawaiian salt.

  • Laulau – taro leaves, salted butterfish, and either pork, beef, or chicken and steamed on the stove.

Aside from the amazing food, amazing that it was soooo good, and I ate everything (even more amazing,) the entertainment was phenomenal. A trio sang Hawaiian music, one ukulele, one guitar and two of the young men sang. (Sorry guy with the microphone whom I cropped out unintentionally.)

There was also troop of hula dancers. I am sorry, there is probably a better, more appropriate, authentic name for them. They did both Hula (which tells a story or paints a picture) and Haka (warrior) dances. It takes years to master these intricate dances. This group was recently on tour throughout the world, but unfortunately had to skip Hong Kong due to the troubles there.

However, even though it was Vivian’s luau, Grace was able to corner the attention of the crowd, first, by trying to one-up the singers, her rousing amplified rendition of Happy Birthday for her little sister brought the house down.

And second, by mimicking the Hula dancers, who later said she will definitely be a dancer, as she picked up on even their most subtle dance moves, may have been the highlight of the entire luau.

As first luau’s go, I do not see how this one could possibly be bettered. Great people, great food, great entertainment, I would say a great time was had by all. Thank you, thank you Kimokeo and all your family!! And certainly, thank you Papa!!

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