The food at a Hawaiian wedding can vary, but the concept is the same: there should be a multitude of food to feed the guests, and nobody should go home hungry. Most weddings and big events are known as a luau, a festival or gathering. Luau food has changed a lot, especially because there’s been such a great chance in culture. Today’s luau plate features anything from shoyu chicken to haupia to pineapple chunks. The most common luau plate includes (but is not limited to): rice, kalua pig, sweet potato, macaroni salad, pineapple, haupia, lomi salmon, poi, poke, teriyaki beef, katsu chicken, and sometimes even cornbread.
For a Hawaiian mainland wedding, however, it might be trickier to obtain traditional luau items like poi or poke. So I thought it would be fun to list some of the things you can have at your Hawaiian wedding that doesn’t cost too much. You may not be able to make an imu to cook a whole pig, but you can still do other things that will work.
The easiest way to make this in bulk is to use the 50 lb rice cooker, but if you have to make it separately, rice can be easily frozen then warmed up in the microwave before using.
This is a staple of a luau plate, and, believe it or not, this is soooo easy to make. If you find a good deal for pork, you could even make this yourself for your wedding or other special event. We found such a good deal on pork that we were able to get 70+ lbs worth of it for less than $140.
If you really want a Hawaiian wedding but can’t afford sides or anything (especially things like poi or poke), then these first three items will work just fine: rice, kalua pig, and mac salad.
I love salad, and for our family dinner the night before the wedding, we planned mango berry salad. I’m not a fan of just plain old tossed salad and this recipe definitely adds a sweet (but not fatty), tropical twist to the luau plate. It’s also relatively inexpensive to make if you can find deals on mango and berries. I’ve included the recipe for that here.
Other Sides Nice to Have But Not Necessary
I absolutely love Teri beef. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water. The only problem is that it requires a lot of preparation and it’s pricier than the other options.
This is so yummy, but it requires you to make it the day of (unless you want soggy chicken katsu) in order for it to be fresh.
Chicken long rice
This is such a traditional filler/stretcher dish in Hawaii. If you have the stuff to get this, it really does work well as a filler side.
There’s nothing as sweet and refreshing as fresh cut-up fruit.
This is incredibly easy to make, and you don’t need to buy any ready-made powder for this. You can make it from scratch using some cans of coconut milk, cornstarch, and sugar (and homemade tastes amazingly better anyways). Also, if you’re planning for a wedding it’s sometimes just easier to do a big cake (because the bride and groom will be eating cake anyways) but you can always do a coconut buttercream. 🙂
You certainly don’t have to make the food yourself. I called all the Polynesian/Hawaiian restaurants in Utah county to get quotes for Hawaiian food, but every person I called just didn’t sound very enthusiastic, and I kept thinking to myself, I can make this… it’s not that hard. I’ve made Hawaiian food before… Also, I believe that if food is made with love, it is much more enjoyable to eat. If you want to save some money too, doing it yourself is also the way to go. 🙂
Because my customer-service experiences weren’t the greatest, I didn’t feel comfortable with using any of the caterers around, and I wasn’t enthusiastic about the prices. However, I’ve listed them below in case you’re interested in finding or checking out Hawaiian food around Utah county. 🙂 I could let you know which places I think taste the best so if you have any questions, feel free to comment below!
Polynesian Roots Catering- Bountiful, UT
Ohana Grill – Springville, UT
Sweets Island Grill – Provo, UT
L & L’s – Provo, UT