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Aug 19, 2011 04:53 PM

Dinner Club Ideas - Polynesian

I've had such great responses from Chowfriends in the past when I've needed ideas for my dinner club, so I thought I'd throw it out there again this time. Our theme is "Polynesian". I'm not exactly sure what that means, but possibly Hawaiian inspired. The club doesn't require you to be completely authentic, but instead use your imagination and let yourself be inspired by the theme and most of all have fun.

We are bringing the appetizers only - so just some fingers foods, hot and cold, that can travel by car. Not salads or vegetables, as another couple will do those. We don't have access to a BBQ we can use the oven/burners or bring an electric frying pan. We usually do 2 dishes.

Of course I think of pineapple, coconut and macadamian nuts.These all seem basic and standard. Does anyone have any other polynesian/hawaiian inspired ideas? Forget SPAM! Gross - that will never pass my lips!

I'd also love to hear anyone's suggestions for a killer presentation. We love to WOW everyone with super looking platter. But really.. I'm not that creative. I did buy some frozen banana leaf sheets (size/shape of a piece of computer paper). Other than that, I own white platters and don't plan on buying anything new.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. The other Dinner Club folks are always intrigued by my ideas and have no clue that I have an army of Chowfriends to think for me!

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  1. I don't know enough about Polynesian cooking to think of a dish for you, but I have an idea for presentation. It is something i do when I make pineapple fried rice, but it could work for many dishes that include pineapple. The idea is to use the hollowed out whole pineapple to serve the dish.

    It is fairly simple, assuming you have some kind of pineapple corer (or can get one for about 8$ from the grocery store). You cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple as straight/evenly as possible with a large chefs knife. Use the corer to cut out the center fruit (the one I have makes a spiral so that the core itself is separated and the rest of the fruit is cut into a spiral/rings). Use the fruit for your dish. Use toothpicks (maybe 6?) to re-attach the bottom of the pineapple, then fill it (with the fried rice, in my case) so that it comes slightly above the top edge. Put it on a serving plate and put the leafy pineapple top next to it.

    I have also seen something (in a restaurant) where the pineapple was cut in half vertically and hollowed out for serving the dish, but you would have to search for how to do that because I don't know.

    1. When I was a teenager, my family used to go to the Kahiki in Columbus, Ohio, a couple times a year. It was the most amazing Polynesian restaurant ever. Here's a little article about it. There's a dinner menu in the image gallery. It's hard to read, but you may be able to get some ideas from it. There's a lunch menu, too, but look for the dinner one.

      I remember having appetizers that were meatballs on a wooden skewer that you held over a flaming terra cotta pot. It had a sweet sauce to dip them in. The meatballs may have been pork. They had a fine texture, as if they were twice-ground.
      There was a pressed duck dish that I always got. The duck was pressed into cubes about
      1 1/4" square. These had a dipping sauce, too.

      Sounds like a fun dinner group!

      3 Replies
      1. re: jmcarthur8

        Thanks I love the link - very inspiring for decor and drink ideas but the food... Blah. Nothing Polynesian about mozza sticks and prime rib!!

        Ricepad: long pig fingers? I have no idea if that's a joke or not!?

        1. re: TSAW

          Very much a joke. Long pig fingers are pretty much impossible to get commercially (and dangerous to acquire in the wild), they don't yield a lot of meat, and (I assume) they'd tend to be very tough. OTOH, I bet you'd only need a HANDFUL (heh) for presentation purposes, because I doubt anybody would eat them!

          1. re: TSAW

            Did you find the dinner menu? That was the one I wanted you to see. I agree, the lunch menu is just standard lunch stuff from the 70's.
            Dinner has Samoan Flaming Chicken, Diamond Head Curry, Tahitian Mermaid, and something called a Big Fat Mamasan for dessert. Love the names!

        2. For TRUE Polynesian, there's always the ultimate finger food...long pig fingers!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ricepad

            Here is LA we have Trader Vics.

            Here is the linq to their dinner menu:


            The pressed duck is amazing.

            1. re: ricepad

              Isn't long pig a euphemism for human flesh?

              1. re: mnosyne

                toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe
                poe-tay-toe, poe-tah-toe
                long pig, human.



            2. Coooked beef and/or chicken chunks and fresh pineapple on bamboo skewers.
              Marinate the meat chunks in teriyaki sauce and cook (grill/saute) and thread on bamboo.
              Serve on your platters lined with the banana leaves.

              1. Well if you're doing Polynesian and have the gumption for it - Poisson Cru - the national dish of Tahiti, it is VERY yummy but I've only had it in Tahiti with fresh coconut milk (so I don't know how canned will be with it).

                A quick search found this link


                but I'm sure there are more out there if you wanted to look. I've been to French Polynesia a few times and the native food is very fish and fruit inspired. They also do a few curry type sauces and like in Hawaii pigs cooked in the pit are always good.

                You could do a roast pork appetizer that you could slow roast ahead of time and then serve on a flat bread (pork and pineapple is also a good combo if you wanted to do a chutney on top of it).

                Same idea but with shrimp in a curry sauce would be good too.

                Ironically they grow a lot of watermelon on some of the larger islands. I do an appetizer that is a square of watermelon (say 1 inch square), topped with a small piece of goat cheese, topped with a small bit of olive tapenade. I know sounds weird but tastes really good. And would look really good for this type of party.
                ends up looking something like this (just tried to find an image that would give you an idea

                If you have time (ironically I just recommended this site on another post yesterday) I recommend (and no I don't work for them at all



                They have some fun bamboo individual serving boats and other things that would look very inspired for this theme.