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Any suggestions for easy recipes for a hawaiian-themed luau party at home?

My best friend is planning a Graduation/Going Away party for her daughter who will be attending the University of Hawaii in the fall. It's going to be an open house and she figures there will be around 100-125 people coming and going throughout the day so she's looking for easy, delicious dishes that she can make ahead and freeze, or easily make the day ahead or morning of. I told her that I would "do some research" for her, knowing that I could call on the expertise of the Chowhounders. :) Obviously, this will be more of a stereotyped sort of Hawaiian luau, not necessarily really authentic, plate lunch types of things. No Spam musubi! :) Even typical party foods dressed up with pineapple, and flowers, etc. would be okay. She's thinking of skewers of some sort (her husband can man the grill), macaroni salad, fresh fruit... but we're sort of at a loss how to continue. She's trying to keep to a budget and do a lot of it herself but is stumped because of the huge amounts of food that she'll need to prepare. Any ideas out there? She's willing and able to make the time to work ahead. Thanks so much!!

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  1. Well. you may not be interested because of the Spam..but I have some King's Hawaiian rolls that I plan on eating with fried/.grilled spam and maybe some grilled pinapple rings to make Spam sliders. I haven't had it yet..but sounds tasty in my mind. I

    1 Reply
    1. re: rochfood

      Actually the grilled Spam on King's Hawaiian rolls sounds really good. I have nothing against Spam, and I love sushi, but its the Spam musubi itself that is sort of an acquired taste. ;) I like the idea of those little sliders though. Super easy to make and would taste good and with the addition of the grilled pineapple rings would be "hawaiian." Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. kahlua pork in a slow cooker. Super easy

        1 Reply
        1. re: Eat.Choui

          Yep, that's my suggestion. Very easy, and one can use a large roaster as well if making it for a crowd. It could serve as your main meat, and offer some chicken skewers, fruit, and yes, something with Spam. Cubed spam and pineapple chunks on skewers, brushed with a "Hawaiian" marinade/glaze (Lowry's has one) would be pretty good.

        2. An enormous pan of fried rice (w/ meat and egg and vegies) as well as a pan of chow mein have been staples at the luau parties I've attended. Affordable, filling and oh yum. Teriyaki anything, on a skewer, is always welcome. So is satay with nuoc mam and peanut sauce. Eggrolls are alwys popular, especilly beautifully-made ones. A lot depends on how much help you have because your choices are so interperative.

          Re: Skewers? DO NOT do mixed-bag alternative skewers with chunks of different stuff in different places. I know, it's pretty, but...disaster. Instead, do all the prawns and chicken chunks and sirloin chunks on the different skewers. That way, they'll cook evenly. Do all the veg the same way.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mamachef

            Throw a bag of frozen chicken wings on the Grill - do not thaw - grill over medium heat, brush with teriyaki sauce - wings will be nicely charred but still juicy and moist.
            oven roast Kalua Pig
            chicken long rice
            Grill fresh pineapple, not canned.
            Fruit Salad: mango, papaya, banana, pineapple, kiwi, guava
            Go to Costco for the macadamia nuts.
            Order a Coconut cake, see "haupia" recipe.
            - have a shave ice or snow cone bar with flavored syrups -

            decorate with brightly colored fresh tropical flowers and blast with slack key guitar and Jake Shimabukuro's ukulele, http://jakeshimabukuro.com/home/




          2. Shoyu Chicken is SO easy and very good. I've always just used bone in, skinless chicken thighs. My best friend used to live in Navy housing and her neighbor was Hawaiian and shared this recipe with us. If she's working on a budget - I definitely recommend this recipe!

            Equal parts of soy sauce, water, brown sugar. Basically 1 cup of each for 8-12 thighs, depending on size. Sometimes I find it's 1 cup per 6 thighs - I like lots of sauce, it's great on rice.

            Then you add as much fresh ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes as you would like. Perhaps 3-5 cloves of garlic and a tbls or so of ginger per cup. Red pepper optional, I've been known to toss in sliced fresh chiles on occassion too. You put everything in a large pot on the stove and bring to boil then simmer for at least 2 hours, but no more than say 4. I guess this is a very typical Hawaiian dish!

            Also, macaroni salad, rice, brown gravy and hamburger patties seemed to be something we ate quite often when invited to her house - sounds strange, but very delicious! Sometimes served with an egg! I believe it's called a plate lunch.

            2 Replies
              1. re: Cynsa

                Perhaps! She always just called it a plate lunch! Unfortunately I've never been to Hawaii, she was my only source for anything Hawaiian!

            1. Thanks so much for these suggestions. They're all great! Exactly the kinds of things I was hoping for.

              1. May be silly, but I'd love an excuse to put these on a table

                1 Reply
                1. re: blue room

                  or, green jello with underwater sea creatures of the gummy candy variety; fish, starfish, seahorses, sharks, eels, seaweeds in the aquarium.
                  or, roll out colors of gum drops for flower petals and create a bouquet.

                  1. Macaroni chicken salad with diced pineapples was my mother's tropical treat in the summertime.

                    1. There's an old traditional Hawaiian dish called "long rice" that is NOT made with rice, but with cellophane noodles that is delicious, and often blows mainlanders away who have never seen it before. I had my first experience with it at a true Hawaiian luau in California put on by a bunch of homesick Hawaiians in the 1950s, and it was like great food from another planet! You cannot have a luau without it! Oh, and long rice is pretty easy to make, but I wouldn't freeze the cellophane noodles. And it's much better than three finger poi! Here's a link to a pretty authentic recipe. My first brush with it was made with ham, and not chicken, though through the years chicken now seems to be the way to go.

                      That whole website is a very good source for Hawaiian recipes, but my favorite site, and the one I use most often when looking for things Hawaiian is from Hawaiian Electric Company, and may possibly be the oldest Hawaiian recipe site on the web! I am absolutely certain I have used a long rice recipe from their website, but it was years ago, and I can't seem to find it this morning. Anyway, you'll find your "killowatt" Hawaiian recipes here:

                      Enjoy your luau! And if you want to be REALLY authentic, and can find some in your local markets, you could strike a home run for authenticity by serving humuhumunukunukuapua╩╗a kebabs! Have fun! .

                      1. Yikes! Good thing I re-read my post after posting it because I did not sufficiently clarify the recipe for long rice with chicken at this website: http://tinyurl.com/82xhq39

                        The ingredients list simply calls for "long rice," but that *IS* cellophane noodles you can buy in any Asian market. I'ts also called "mung bean thread," or "bean thread." There are a couple of other versions of noodles that are clear like glass when cooked. They will all work as "long rice." They come in "bundles" in a clear package, and are quite leathery before cooking. And in Los Angles, you can undoubtedly find them at any 99 Ranch Market.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Caroline1

                          A l6-quart stockpot??!!!

                          Does such a thing even exist? Does anyone have one?

                          For cooking one (1) chicken?

                          I like the idea of cellophane noodles, but I don't trust this recipe.

                          1. re: Sharuf

                            I own a 20qt stock pot... rarely use it. I grew up in the food industry and my mom had several for our restaurant and resort/bar.

                            1. re: Sharuf

                              My bad! I only read over the ingredients list, didn't notice the call for a FOUR GALLON pot full of water to cook one poor little defenseless chicken in! Major boo boo!

                              So now I have read over the recipe. I stand by it being a fairly good recipe *IF* you just cook the chicken in a pot that is snug around it but deep enough to submerge it in water. If you cut up the chicken the pan doesn't need to be all that deep anyway. You do NOT need 16 quarts of water! Unless the chicken is training for high board diving in the Olympics?

                              There ARE other recipes for long rice on the web. Just be absolutely certain that whatever recipe you use, the noodles will be clear as glass after cooking. I chose this recipe because it doesn't call for "vermicelli" or even "rice vermicelli." In my experience, there is rice vermicelli, and then there is rice vermicelli. It is not all created equal, and I have had some that were not glass clear after cooking, and for traditional long rice, that's just wrong! Which is why I came back and suggested bean thread or mung bean thread. It is ALWAYS glass like after soaking and/or cooking.

                              Long story short, NOOOOOO...! Do NOT use four gallons of water to cook one poor itty bitty chickie!!!