Hawaii is known for its rum drink, the Mai Tai: three kinds of rum, tropical fruit juices, and lots of ice. Every hotel of any size has its weekly luau, the centerpiece of which is Kalua pig a pig baked in an “imu,” an earthen oven. The pig is covered with cloth, put in a hole lined with very hot rocks. It comes out tender, moist and tasty. Poi, the pounded root of the taro plant, was the basic carbohydrate in old Hawaii. Natives still enjoy it. Visitors liken its taste to starch glue.
Nearly all of the native Hawaiians have intermarried over the generations, but Hawaiiana lingers on to delight the visitor. The story goes that a Hawaiian who used to fish for squid always wore a malo, a loincloth. Tourists would pay $5 to take his picture. Soon, no need to fish for squid. He made so much money soon he sent his son to Harvard. The boy came home to the Islands. Take over his father’s business. Only he charges $10 to pose. He got college degree.
Hula dancing is an essential ingredient of all Hawaiian entertainment. Visitors in the audience are nearly always invited or dragooned to dance along, much to the enjoyment of the onlookers. The hula as it was seen in old Hawaii was an accompaniment to chanting. The early missionaries added music to make it the art form it is today.