Hawaiian Luau: The Costco Way!

One of the most common questions I get from couples is, “Steve, which luau do locals go too?”   There are three primary luaus on Oahu: The Polynesian Cultural Centers, Paradise Cove, and Germain’s Luau; and most locals don’t go to any of them.   They either make their own Hawaiian food if it’s a special event.   But most of the time, they just go to Costco!

Yes, you read that right.  Costco is our one-stop shop for Hawaiian food.  Of course, there’s the little hole in the walls which serve Hawaiian food that is great.   But when we want to save money, and want some pretty good quality, we go to Costco.  And to tell you the truth, it’s pretty good!  Better than good.   I would say it on either on par or beats most hole in the wall places, restaurants, and luaus.   You just need to know what to buy.

So here’s my list of what to buy at for your Hawaiian Luau – The Costco Way!

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May’s Kaula Pig


Kaula means to shred; pig is – well, you know what a pig is.  So, “Kaula Pig” is shredded pork.  It’s made by steaming pork butt/shoulder till it’s fall off the bone tender, then shredding it with a fork.   Seasoning is simple.  It’s Hawaiian Salt and liquid smoke.   The “Hawaiian Way” is to cook in an underground pit with lava rocks and banana leaves.   That can be good, but it’s all about seasoning.  If they screw up on the Hawaiian Salt and liquid smoke mixture, it can be plain.

The May’s Version of Kaula Pig is already pre-made, pre-cooked, but taste fresh.  Put this into a pot, add just a touch of water to it, and heat it up making sure you don’t burn it.  Then, add it a bit of liquid smoke to kick it up a notch.  It’s pretty awesome.


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Pipakaula – smoked meat


I have no idea what this means in Hawaiian, but I know what this is.  It’s basically smoked salted beef brisket.   This is one of my favorite food to chew on while I watch football.  Many supermarkets make a prepared version of pipikaula that mixes jalapenos and spices with slices of pipikaula.   Costco sells this piece of meat in one gigantic slab.   All you have to do is cut it into thin, bite-sized pieces, put it on a plate, and serve it cold, not hot.  This goes really good with football.


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Keoki’s Lau Lau


Lau Lau is the perfect low carb food.  If you are carb counting, this is heaven.   It’s made of taro leaves, pork, butterfish.   All those ingredients are steamed together until it’s tender and it’s served hot.    It sounds easy to make, but strangely, many places can’t make a good Lau Lau.

I’ll be the first to say that Keoki’s Lau Lau is not the best Lau Lau in town.   In fact, it’s not even close to second.   The best Lau Lau belongs to a guy who sells it out of a truck by the Hygenic Store in Kaneohe, Kahaluu.   (  His Lau Lau is really good.   Okay, I’m going off subject here, but I thought I put that in.

But this Lau Lau will do the trick.   This is best served if you steam them.  But if you just cover them up in the microwave with wet paper napkins, set the micro to two minutes, that tends to do the trick too.    Don’t unwrap the tea leaves until after you micro them.

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Taro Brand Lomi Salmon


A lot of supermarkets have their own version of Lomi Salmon.  It’s really not an ancient Hawaiian food.  If it is, I really don’t know where they got the salmon from – haha.  Lomi Salmons is quite simple to make.   It’s basically diced up tomatoes, round onions, some green onions, and salted salmon.   It’s very easy to make.  The Lomi Salmon here is good, but nothing beats home cooking.

Lomi Salmon is a bit salty and is best eaten with Poi!   I bet you heard about Poi!  I’ll get to that later.   Make sure when you serve Lomi Salmon, you serve it cold!


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Sesame Seaweed Salad


This is not an ancient dish either, but very popular.  This salad is made with artificial something, flavored with sesame seed oil and spices.  It’s low in calorie, pretty much zero in carbs, and taste great.   The only bad thing about it is that it gets stuck in your teeth.   It’s very tasty and it also goes well with poi!

Make sure you have dental floss nearby.  I wasn’t joking about this stuff getting stuck in your teeth.


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Poi – Taro Brand. It’s thick. The Costco Version is big. You may want to try a smaller version at a local grocery store.


All poi is a the root of a plant, that’s pounded into a paste.   When you get it in a bag like this, it’s rather thick, so you may have to add water to it, mix it up with your hand, to thin it out.   The thickness of it is up to you.    Yes, use your hand to mix it, it’s the easiest.

Poi is also known to tourist as wallpaper paste, oh this taste awful, and what the hell did I just eat – but I’m about to change that narrative.

I love poi, and I have no idea what you tourist are complaining about.  And when I tell you how to eat poi, you’re going to love it too.   Poi is a starch.  And like most starches, if you just eat it plain, it tastes like crap.   Who the hell eats regular potatoes?   Who the hell eats rice with nothing on it?  Rice is great when it soaks up all that oil and blood from a perfectly seasoned steak on the grill.  And potatoes are awesome when they are baked, served with lots of butter, sour cream, bacon, and my secret – parmesan cheese.

So like all starches, you’re not supposed to eat poi just by itself.   You eat it with other salty foods.   I love poi with almost any meat.   Steak, ribs, hamburgers, even canned corn beef.   And when it comes to Hawaiian food, it’s best with Kaula Pig.  Poi has a habit of absorbing whatever flavor that meat has, and making it into flavored toothpaste.    Steak flavored toothpaste doesn’t sound too bad – if you really think about it.

Moral of the poi story, eat it with meat or something salty.  You can thank me later – or even better send me a nice little tip to my PayPal account!


Alright peeps, let me know how it goes!

me Hawaiian Luau: The Costco Way!
I pretty much do everything around here, from photography and video production, to the organization of all of my weddings. As you can see, I'm also the head writer too! If for some reason you can't reach me at my direct line, or my toll free number, feel free to hit me up on my company cell at (808) 479-0685. Call anytime...well, almost anytime. Don't call on Super Bowl Sunday or when the Philadelphia Eagles are playing!

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