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Hawai’i Trip, Part 6

After the very long day driving and walking around Volcano Park, we chose to relax, catch up on blogging, do some laundry, and just hang out at the condo all day Wednesday. For breakfast we headed to our favorite stop, Lava Java and noshed on some more yummy cinnamon pull-aparts. While at Lava Java, we saw a cruise ship had anchored sometime last night/early morning and there were already a fair number of tourists in Kailua-Kona. With all the extra people in town, we knew staying at the condo and relaxing was a good idea for us.

That evening we scheduled a luau at Kona Village Resorts. The reviews we read stated this was the best luau on the Big Island. Again we were lucky and it wasn’t terribly crowded so all the seats had good views of the stage. Before the buffet started, we were all able to watch the cooks remove the pig and turkey from the imu, or underground oven. They explained the entire process of the imu and cooking. A pit is dug into the ground and mesquite wood is placed at the bottom with lava rocks. The wood is set on fire and the rocks are allowed to heat for two to three hours. The pig is placed in a wire mesh (once the pig is cooked, it becomes so tender that it needs to be contained or else it falls apart in the imu). The skin and internal cavity of the pig are rubbed with salt then some of the heated lava rocks are placed inside the pig to ensure it is well-cooked. Since an imu cooks meat with steam, green vegetation is used to provide the steam and prevent scorching to the food. The imu is lined with banana leaves, ti leaves and other types. The pig is placed into the imu and covered with more leaves and a covering material, then the dirt is placed on top to prevent steam from escaping. The food is then allowed to cook for about six hours and removed.

Removing the cooked pig from the imu

After watching the imu process it was time to eat! The buffet was full of pork, turkey, seafood, and vegetables. The food was quite good with the exception of the poi. Poi is a hawaiian staple food made from the taro root. Most first-timers compare poi to wallpaper paste (mostly due to the consistency) and Kathie was no different.

Once everyone finished eating, the show began. The mistress of ceremonies explained the history of hula and how it is divided into two major categories: ancient hula (kahiko) involving chant and traditional instruments, and modern hula (‘auana) accompanied by music and ‘western’ instruments such as guitar and ukulele. Both the men and women dancers were quite good, it’s amazing how the women can move their hips!

Watching some musicians before dinner


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