One of the more authentic luaus on Oahu, Germaine’s Luau takes guests back to Old Hawaii the way it was a century ago, inviting them to join the Germaine Ohana (family) for an evening of ceremony, fun, story telling, dance, and feasting. The luau is located right on the sand on the island’s leeward coast, providing visitors with a distinctly Hawaiian tropical beach setting and picture-perfect sunsets.
A few months ago, I attended 4 luau’s within a 10-day period. (Needless to say, I was a little bit luau-ed out by the end!) I was shooting them for a work project for a client, and it was a great assignment because I got to do one of those ‘touristy’ things that those of us who live in Hawaii never actually do…which means that now I can write about each one to help you in your search for your perfect Oahu luau! An important disclaimer: I did not eat at any of the luau’s, so can’t report on the food side of things — just on the location, overall experience, and activities. Each luau has a distinct ‘feel’ that is different than others on the island, despite sharing so many similarities, so the ‘best’ luau on Oahu really depends on what you are looking for. Some are more family-friendly and island casual, while others are a bit ‘classier.’ Germaine’s Luau was one of my favorites!
Germaine’s backyard-style luau has an intimate and personal feel, despite the number of guests who who flock to this gorgeous Kapolei beach for the evening’s festivities. Once everyone has arrived, the luau officially opens with the grand entrance of the Royal Court of Polynesia
‘Luau’ is the Hawaiian word for a taro leaf, and traditionally, luau guests ate on the floor over mats called ‘lauhala’ (made from woven leaves.) Today, unfortunately, luau guests don’t get to eat on the floor and are seated at tables instead.
One of the main components of any luau is the Kalua Pig, which is traditionally wrapped in leaves and cooked in leaves in an Imu, which is a type of underground oven. (Kalua is a Hawaiian word meaning ‘to cook in an underground oven.’) Some luaus use conventional ovens to cook their pork, and others use an Imu Pao, which is an above-ground version of the imu, but the luau’s that are trying to create a more traditional, authentic experience will use an actual imu, which is typically 6 ft long, 4 ft wide and 3 ft deep.
For the imu, a fire is created in the dirt pit using kiawe wood. Once the fire is burning well, rocks are put in the pit so that they retain the fire’s heat and continue cooking the pig after the flames have burnt out. When the rocks are extremely hot, the pit is lined with banana leaves. The pig (or whatever meat being cooked) is salted, filled with more hot rocks, and wrapped in ti and banana leaves. To help retain moisture and produce an even cooking heat, the meat is covered with wet burlap, and then with a layer of sand or dirt. After this, the waiting begins! The meat is left in the imu to cook for 6-8 hours, absorbing smoke and steam from the wood and leaves that give kalua meat its signature flavor. Once the meat is done, it is removed from the imu and shredded.
The unveiling of the Pua’a (kalua pig) from the imu (underground oven) marks the beginning of the feast, an all-you-can-eat buffet with something to please even the pickiest palette with both traditional American and Hawaiian foods. Guests enjoy an interactive Polynesian show during and after dinner.
Experience Germaine’s Luau
Tickets include unlimited soft drinks, coffee, and tea, and adults over the age of 21 also receive three drink coupons.
Complimentary bus pickup is available from certain locations throughout Waikiki. More information can be found on the website.
Hours: Guests begin arriving at 5pm, with the luau officially kicking-off at 6pm. Festivities end around 8:45pm.
Adults (21 and older) – $80
Juniors (14-20 years) – $70
Children (6-13) – $60
Children 5 and under – free
Address: 91-119 Olai Street, Kapolei, HI 96707
Directions: From Waikiki/Honolulu, take the H1-W. Follow signs toward Waianae. Take Exit #1 (Campbell Industrial Park). Merge onto Kalaeloa Blvd and follow it until it ends. Turn right onto Olai St. Olai St will end at the Germaine’s Luau parking lot. Traffic heading west from Honolulu can be extremely backed up during evening rush hour, so plan to leave early!