A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast Hula

When planning for a vacation in Hawaii, try not to skip the luau.  The luau is essential in getting that traditional Hawaiian experience.  It is where you will be adorned with leis, sip Mai Tais, watch hula dancers, eat local Hawaiian food, and learn about the rich Hawaiian culture.  When we returned to Hawaii for the second time, we joined the Old Lahaina Luau in Maui and it’s definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

Check-in

We arrived at the Old Lahaina Luau grounds by 4:30 pm even though we were asked to check in at 5:15 pm.  Since we arrived early, parking was not a problem for us.  During check in, we were given a personalized leaflet with name, date of luau, seat assignments, and the list of drinks.

Leis and Mai Tais

In my opinion, Hawaiians give one of the warmest welcomes.  With their sweet alohas, we were adorned with beautiful leis and offered glasses of Mai Tais and juice.

Your Table

Each party was accompanied by one of the crew and assisted to their assigned seats.  When making a reservation, you have the option to choose between traditional seats or table and chairs.  With a traditional seat, you get to have the best view of the stage.  However, you have to mind that you will be seating cross-legged on cushions and dine from a low table for 3 hours.  Table & chairs may not be as close to the stage as traditional seats but you still get a great view of the performances.  It might not sound as good as the traditional seat but it is more comfortable and convenient.

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii-2

Each table is for 8-9 guests.  Whether you choose the traditional seats or table and chairs, you will most likely be dining along with other luau guests.  Don’t be shy.  Start a conversation.  Remember, you’ll be dining with them for 3 hours!  Getting to know those in our table made our luau experience even more enjoyable.  Two pairs from our group were actually locals!  Isn’t that already a sign that we were in the best luau in Maui? 🙂  Even the locals preferred celebrating their special occasions in Old Lahaina Luau than anywhere else. 

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast-2

Activities Prior to the Program

While others get settled at their tables, we were also free to roam around the beautiful oceanfront venue.  There were games, a totem pole, and a collection of local wooden crafts for sale.  If you fancy a drink, the bar opens as soon as you get in.

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Activities

The Unearthing of the Roasted Pig from the Underground Oven

The program started with the invitation to watch the digging of the roasted pig or the Pua’a Ka’lua from the underground oven or as Hawaiians call it, imu.  The crowd formed a large circle around the imu as the roasted pig was dug from the ground.  The roasted pig was wrapped in large leaves and was cooked slowly, sealing its flavors for hours, underground.  This glorious Pua’a Ka’lua was the centerpiece of the luau.

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Pineapple Table Pua'a Ka'lua Imu Roasted Pig Underground Oven Crowd

Watching the reveal of the roasted pig made us eager for the feast to start.  Our appetites were already high but each table had to wait to be called for the buffet.  In the meantime, our server for the night brought us drinks and some appetizers to share.  Even though our server had several tables to attend to, he was quick in getting and serving our orders.

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast Appetizer Taro Chips Hummus
Taro Chips and Hummus

The Feast at Old Lahaina Luau

The menu for the night was diverse and since it’s a buffet, you could come back for your favorites.  There were also many options for vegetarians!

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast Buffet

These are my favorite picks:

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast Buffet Pua'a Kalua Roasted Pig Imu
Imu Roasted Pork – The shredded pork was tender and had a smoky flavor.  
Tip:  Get from the part where the meat has sauce.  It is juicier, yum!
Poke Ahi – Raw yellow fin tuna with green onions and seaweed

Lomilomi Salmon – Salted salmon with tomatoes and onions
Island Crab Salad – Refreshing salad made of crab, shrimp, peas and chestnuts
Maui-Style Fish – Chef’s special preparation with fresh seasonal ingredients
Grilled Beef Steak

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast Buffet

A big advantage of sitting with the locals is getting their opinions.  For example, they told us how much they love the taro dinner rolls with butter on it.  We tried and they’re not kidding, it tasted good!  You could find the violet bread rolls on the pile of dinner rolls.

Vegan-Friendly

Vegan options include Poi (steamed and mashed taro), taro leaf stew, sweet potato mash, stir-fry veggies, garden salad, fresh fruits, and a dish made of taro, sweet potato and tofu patty.

Dessert

Our dinner ended with a platter of assorted desserts per table.  Each dessert had a unique, distinct flavor.  They were so delicious, we finished them all!

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Feast Buffet Dessert Platter Passion Fruit Cake Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie Haupia
Passion Fruit Cake, Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie, and Haupia (coconut milk-based dessert)

Drum, Hula and Storytelling

Aside from the food, you should join this luau in Maui to watch the remarkable performances.  The night was filled with entertainment!  They played the drum and presented their traditional drum dance and different hulas while narrating stories from Hawaiian mythology and Hawaii’s rich history.

It was beautiful to see the different kinds of hula.  The movements and pace vary on the emotions and stories being told.  The hula (including its costumes and accessories) changed as the history of Hawaii changed.  The luau did an excellent job with its smooth transitions and keeping our attention the whole evening.  The performers were also extremely talented!  We could feel the intensity and the emotions while the stories were being told and interpreted through their respective dance.

A Night of Celebrations

The food, stellar performances, and beautiful ambiance easily made Old Lahaina Luau one of the highlights of our Maui vacation.  Despite the large crowd, it left us with a unique and intimate experience!  It was a night that celebrated special occasions and honored Hawaiian traditions, culture, and history.

At the end of the evening, we were given a surprise gift.  We each had a banana bread to take home!

Prices for 2018 (including tax)

Adults (13 and up) – $125
Children (3-12 yrs old) – $78.12
Free for infants (0-2 yrs old)

*Check Old Lahaina Luau for updated prices

Tips:

1.  Make an advance reservation

Because of Old Lahaina Luau’s popularity, seats get easily sold out.  It’s better to reserve your seats at least a week before your preferred date.  During peak season like December and Christmas, you have to reserve immediately.  We went there on a weekday on December and it was packed!

*You could book online through their website.

2.  Parking is limited but there is additional parking space across the street at the mall

If you want a good parking, arrive 30-45 minutes before the call time.

3.  Consider riding the Uber/taxi or stay at a hotel in Lahaina

It’s open bar.  😉

Find good hotels in Lahaina here.

4.  Bring an insect repellent

Since the luau is held during late afternoon to evening, there will be a lot of insects!

5.  Bring a light jacket or a cover-up

Old Lahaina Luau grounds is located along the oceanside.  It gets chilly as the event progresses.  A light jacket or a cover-up could come in handy.

6.  If you want to get a good view of the roasted pig from the imu, go to the pit early

Once they invite everyone to the pit for the digging of the roasted pig, it gets REALLY crowded.  To get a good view, go there several minutes after finding your assigned table.

7.  Getting seconds

If you’re planning to get a second plate, you should do it before the performance starts.  Once it begins, there will not be any break and you might have a hard time leaving your table.  Before you know it, your server will be announcing the last call for food and drinks.

If you enjoyed reading this post, share or save this to your Pinterest travel board! ♥

A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii Pin

Luau in Maui | Luau in Maui |  Luau in Maui | Luau in Maui

Looking for more activities in Maui?  Check my posts on our kayak AND snorkel tour experience in Olowalu Turtle Garden and tips on whale watching in Maui!

16 Replies to “A Feast for the Belly and the Eyes at Old Lahaina Luau in Maui”

  1. That’s seems like a real Hawaiian expierience! I was in Hawaii last year unfortunately I didn’t have time for any show at the islands as my schedule was pretty busy! It’s really a shame as you can definitely feel the positive and friendly atmosphere there! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back there one day!

    1. businesstravelerswife says: Reply

      No worries, you will always have another chance to try this luau! 🙂 I hope you get to visit Maui and attend this luau when you return to Hawaii!

  2. This post has brought back such amazing memories of our trip to Hawaii (we went to Oahu and the Big Island). I remember attending the luau and the whole experience, from being welcomed with the lei, the traditional mai tais, the food and of course, the beautiful dance. Its one experience I always tell people to go for if they’re visiting Hawaii. You’ve given some really good tips here about bringing insect repellent, making advance reservations, taking a taxi because of parking issues and of course, a light jacket at night because it can get slightly chilly.

    1. businesstravelerswife says: Reply

      Big Island is next on our Hawaii list! 🙂 I agree with you, the luau is a must when visiting Hawaii.

  3. Our trip in Hawaii didn’t have any activities that we this type of traditional. We feel like we missed out so much now! Want to eat some of that roasted pig so badly! Can’t believe those coconut bikinis, would be so shy to wear that haha

    1. businesstravelerswife says: Reply

      You would have enjoyed the show and the food! 🙂 At least you have a good reason now to return to Hawaii and to visit Maui in particular.

  4. I have never heard of a “Luau” before and you are right it looks like to be an event not to miss when in Hawaii! The Old Lahaina Luau in Maui seems to be the perfect place to have the best experience in this matter! The food look so so good and I think I will need to wear a sweat pant or a lose dress going there! Everything seems to be perfect but I do think that the price is a bit too expensive for somebody as young as 3 years old. They should put the price much lower for kids between 3-7. I am saying this because I was thinking of my daughter who is three and she hardly eat anything.

  5. A very comprehensive guide to Hawaii . What else you need when you plan a vacation to Hawaii. I am glad I read this post and will surely visit luau. The pictures are colorful and it seems like a great vacation.

    1. businesstravelerswife says: Reply

      Thanks Neha for dropping by! 🙂

  6. atruthfultraveler says: Reply

    Awesome post! I hope to visit Maui this year and had heard that luaus were not worth it because they’re catered specifically to tourists. That does not seem the case at the place you visited! I will have to check it out when I visit Maui. I also really appreciate you adding in that there are options for vegetarians and vegans, as a new vegetarian I am always worried about where I eat and if it will have dietary accommodations!

    1. businesstravelerswife says: Reply

      This one is worth it, I assure you! 🙂 I’m glad you found this helpful. Thanks for dropping by! Let me know if you push through with your vacation to Maui this year. I would be happy to give you more tips! 🙂

  7. We have just been talking about a holiday in Hawaii so this is super handy! Looks like we will have to book to see a luaus – looks fantastic (plus that amazing food!)

  8. Hawaii is alway on my wishlist but I never heard of Luau. The exotic fruits like coconut and pine-apple from Hawaii are always my favorite. I loved the traditional seating arrangement and watching the stage. I would also like to watch those traditional Hawaiian dances with all those traditional drums and hulas. The whole atmosphere is so lively and bright.

  9. Oh my God! This is amazing! I would love to have a dinner at this luau. I always see these kind of things on TV and I always ask myself whether these are actually for real. Guess they are! Your photos are gorgeous…my mouth was watering as I was reading all about the food you had served. That roasted pork looks like something made in heaven! I really need to get there, asap 🙂 🙂

  10. I’m visiting Maui with my family in August and by doing so will be achieving a life long ambition! Very keen to see a Luau and reading your post has persuaded me which one to attend, so thank you.

    1. businesstravelerswife says: Reply

      Hi Sally! I’m glad that you found my blog post helpful! 🙂 I’m very excited for you and your family. I’m sure you will all have an awesome time in Old Lahaina Luau and Maui in general!

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