Chattanooga Dine Out Goes Hawaiian

Sunday, June 30, 2002 - by Janet Wilson
There was food aplenty - as well as music - at luau. Click to enlarge all our photos.
There was food aplenty - as well as music - at luau. Click to enlarge all our photos.
- photo by Janet Wilson

What a trip! We had a great time and wanted to share a little of our experience with you, visitors to the Chattanooga Dine Out website. We attended a luau at the Outrigger Wailea Beach Resort on Lahaina, Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. As we arrived at the beach area where the luau was to be held, we were greeted with Shell Leis and complimentary Mai Tais and Pina Coladas.

There was so much food on numerous tables, each at least 20’ long and it all looked absolutely amazing. You just knew you wanted to try everything because you may not pass that way again!

Of course, there was going to be the Kahlua Pork that had been roasting in the ground overnight. We were told you must have a minimum 125-pound pig (will serve approximately 200 people), which is wrapped in a canvas tarp or other heavy cloth. After lowering the pig into the pit onto the hot rocks, it is covered with banana leaves and a large wet tarp. The last covering is a layer of sand at least six inches thick. Somewhere between nine and fourteen hours later, your pig will be cooked to perfection. I did notice that when they were removing this pig from the ground, it was wrapped at least three times in several different cloths.

There was a special ceremony, including the blowing of the Conch Shell, as the pork was pulled from the ground. As the crowd gathered round the Imu (pit) the ceremony signaled the beginning of the luau.

As we went through the line, there were so many new and different foods to try – and you wanted to be extremely conservative in your portions (so you could try more). The line went smoothly and was very organized, taking little time to make your way to the other end.

The servings began with a multitude of salads, including an array of fresh fruit (of course there was fresh, juicy pineapple). One of the delicious salads was Lomi Salmon Salad (shredded salmon, minced tomatoes, diced onions, chopped green onions), which was definitely worth a taste.

One of the cooked dishes we sampled was Coconut Sweet Potatoes. These were thick sliced sweet potatoes, cooked in coconut milk and tossed with shredded coconut. I can’t say they were the best sweet potatoes I have ever eaten, but they were decent.

We also tried a dish that I did find rather tasty and would definitely try it again – Lau Lau (Taro Leaf Bundles). These contain a mixture of pork, beef, and fish, that are cubed and placed in Taro leaves, which are then gathered and tied at the ends and steamed for three hours.

The table held chicken, fish, numerous vegetable, potato and noodle dishes, and of course, there was the Poi. We’ve heard of Poi all our lives, and now here we were, ready to taste it for the first time – the real thing – Hawaiian Poi. I’m sure you have all heard those Poi stories – how bad it is; how disgusting it tastes; etc., etc. Well, I’m here to tell you – it’s all true!! How do they eat that stuff? It tastes like some kind of thick paste – very bland! Poi is made from the Taro root which is pounded and blended with water – I don’t know why you would work so hard for such a “nothing” taste. This was an experience – at the luau we were able to sample both ends of the Taro plant (the leaf in Lau Lau and the root in Poi).

The last item at the end of the long table was the Kahlua Pig. This was absolutely delicious. It was a moist, tender pork, with a heavy smoke flavor. I would not have objected to bringing some back with me, except it would be more than another week before we would head home.

Separate from the main food line was a table decorated with fresh fruit and flowers – this was the dessert table. There was a multitude of fruit, along with cookies, cakes and candies. I went for more pineapple, along with a dessert called Haupia. This is made of coconut milk mixed with sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla. For lack of a better description I would say it appears to be a white jello cut into cubes and taste like coconut. Nothing to brag about – no more spectacular than jello.

As the sun slowly set on the ocean, we were treated to a show of Hawaiian music, along with hula dancers, a colorful Polynesian Revue and the excitement of a performance by three-time world champion fire-knife dancer, Ifi So’o.

It was an evening of good food, good conversation with new acquaintances, and wonderful entertainment, not to be soon forgotten. An evening to remember.

And remember – if you know anyone who eats out a lot we have the perfect gift for them or even for yourself. We have the new Adventures coupon books with even more coupons – 86 in all. These are perfect gifts for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and many other occasions. By using our Adventures book during 2001, Wayne and I saved over $436 that would have been spent out of our own pockets – and we didn’t even use all the coupons. To make shopping easier for you, we now have credit card capability on the Chattanooga Dine Out site. We ship the same day you order (unless it’s Sunday) so your books should be received within approximately three days.

ChattanoogaDineOut.com has submitted this article to www.Chattanoogan.com for publication. It may not be reproduced, all or in part, without the expressed written consent of Chattanooga Dine Out.

(Chattanooga Dine Out, is devoted solely to reviewing restaurants in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. For a complete directory of all area restaurants, visit our website at

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Guests enjoyed Hawaiian-style dining
Guests enjoyed Hawaiian-style dining
- photo by Janet Wilson

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