by Dean Christener
Kauai Luaus – Smith’s Tropical Garden Luau - Luaus are a popular activity here in Hawaii that all visitors should experience, because they really give one a greater idea about the Hawaiian culture, broken down in a simplistic theatrical form that is easy to digest and enjoy.
Here on the island of Smith’s Tropical Kauai Luau has been a popular activity for many of the visitors who come to Hawaii. From rumor, Smith’s Luau has always hit the spot when it came to describe the Hawaiian culture, while combining it with a variety of Hula dances and festivities that resemble the culture yet still sticking to a traditional Hawaiian luau feel.
Smith’s Luau is a unique show compared to other Kauai luaus due to the amazing property it is set on. The luau actually takes place in Wailua, a secret hideaway for the Ali’i, also known as the royal or high-class people of Hawaii.
Entering the lush park where the Kauai luau occurs, you can see beautiful landscapes throughout, filled with ponds, native birds, as well as gorgeous plant life. I arrived early, and since the luau would not start for an hour, it gave me a chance to walk through the park and take in its beauty.
This is possible on your own, or if your prefer there were also little buses that take you around on a guided tour so you won’t miss anything important. I preferred walking around on my own giving myself time to see things a little longer. It is your personal preference.
It’s easy to get carried away with the sightseeing, but stay alert, because when the clock hits five, the vibrant song of a conch shell can be heard, and that’s the cue that the Hawaiian Luau festivities are about to begin. For a start, the owner of Smith’s Luau shares warm words about the location and its origins, as well a brief history of why Luaus were significant in the Hawaiian culture.
A luau is actually a gathering where people can enjoy themselves, eat, and reminisce amongst each other. This could not have been illustrated better than by the Imu Ceremony, when the Kalua pig is dug out from the earthen oven.
Kalua pig is a very popular food in Hawaii. Its preparation involves the pig being roasted for many hours in an underground oven called an Imu, resulting in extremely moist meat that falls right off the bone. It’s definitely a traditional treat that everyone needs to try.
The food was beyond exceptional, and they offered a vast variety of the traditional Hawaiian foods such as the kalua pork, sweet potato and yams, poi (the traditional staple made from the Taro plant), and Haupia, a delicious desert made from coconut.
Of course the menu also consisted of other dishes besides traditional Hawaiian food, and there were many drinks provided as well. The festivities were hit up to a great start with even a brief teaser of some Hula dancing too what would be shown next, and would be the main event of the Hawaiian luau.
The main event is what makes this such a popular activity, and what gives Smith’s Luau an edge over other Kauai luaus. It takes place, in a large semi-circular outside theater only a short walk away from where we feasted.
The show started very quickly as the lights were dimmed and from the center the light could be seen from an artificial volcano where the Hawaiian fire goddess, Pele, presented herself. She gave the introduction to the many dances that would be performed, and ended on a high note that left everybody excited and ready for more.
Many dances were performed, sharing different cultures from Hawaii such as the Hawaiians themselves, but also other influences such as the Chinese, Filipino, and Korean dances. There were those dances also from other island cultures like Polynesia, of which the fire dance stood out the most to myself.
All the dances were done so well, especially with the amazing setting that was provided as far as lighting and the phenomenal live music that went along with the show.
The show went on for almost an hour, and from the looks on people’s faces, it left nobody disappointed. All in all, the activity hit almost every point that I could have thought of, as well gave me a whole new perspective on how important these luaus are, because they really reflect the culture in a way that everyone can easily understand it, yet take so much away from it back home.
I would well recommend Smith’s Tropical Garden Luau Kauai to everyone, as it is an activity that leaves everyone full, well minded and educated about the Hawaiian culture.