Food Box

The Liliʻuokalani Protestant Church crew readies pigs for the 2011 feast.
Image: ‘TASHA KAIO

It’s the real Hawaiian thing

If you’ve never attended a “real lu’au”–not a tourist attraction–or if it’s been too long since the last one, scroll on over to Aug. 4 on your smart phone calendar and plan for a pleasant drive, a day of kanikapila with several hundred new friends and a lavish feast. The Liliuokalani Protestant Church Annual Lu’au in Hale’iwa is known as one of the best on O’ahu, and budget-friendly, too: $20 for a sit-down meal, $17.50 for takeout.

Some 75 volunteers spend the better part of a week preparing for the Saturday event: starting setup on Tuesday, digging the ‘imu and tucking in the five or six 400- to 700-pound pigs on Thursday, pulling the pork and smoothing over the pit on Friday (they need the space for parking) and readying 700-800 sit-down meals and about 900-1,000 plate lunches Saturday.

Many of those who work the event every year aren’t even church members, she said, Event chairman John Hirota, Kuulei’s brother, each year brings his Kamehameha Schools graduating class of 1965 to help. Musicians donate their services. Radio announcer Harry B. Soria emcees.

The menu: kalua pig, chicken long rice, squid lua’u, poke, raw crab ‘opihi, lomi salmon, sweet potato, kulolo, haupia, rice, poi, pineapple and drink. A half-dozen pigs were purchased months ago, to arrive direct from a nearby farm. A Hale’iwa fisherman does everything he can to assure them of an adequate supply of local, raw crab.

Tickets: 637-9364 (no credit cards; held for pickup or mailed out). Information: [liliuokalaniprotestantchurch.com]