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By: Maria Kanai

I recently had the opportunity to visit Germaine’s Luau on Oahu with my husband. It was a welcome break from the holiday craziness to enjoy an evening with just the two of us. I’ve been a tourist to Hawaii a few times when I was a child – my father was an avid fan of the ocean and Hawaiian culture – so I’ve attended several luaus before, but this was my first time at Germaine’s.

We drove ourselves there, but it seems most people booked through Roberts Hawaii as I saw groups of visitors arriving via the signature green busses. We got there at 5:30 p.m., but the luau didn’t start until around 6:30 p.m. We had plenty to do to kill time though: we had the plumeria package, which meant we had three free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (virgin drinks for preggo me). The sun was setting as well, and since we were right on the beach, it was a perfect Insta-worthy moment for selfies. We swung by the gift shop and by the time we got back to our seat, it was time to begin.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the event:

Best Oahu Luau

1. The Imu Ceremony

Getting a pig out of an underground oven might not sound glamorous – and it isn’t exactly – but it sure is a unique experience. The luau kicks off with this ceremony where a luau performer lights the torches and two men proceed to haul a whole pig out of the imu. The pig has been slow-cooking underground for 12 hours, guaranteeing a juicy, tender meat. It’s a great way to get you amped up for the upcoming meal!

2. The Food

The plumeria package gives you the luxury of skipping buffet lines and having plates of authentic luau-style Hawaiian food served right to you. You can ask for seconds (or even thirds) if you want, but the servers are generous with their portions. For the cold plate, you get salad, fruits, coleslaw and lomi lomi salmon. On the hot plate, you can enjoy the kalua pork that you saw earlier, along with chicken long rice, teri beef, fried mahi mahi and barbecue chicken. Starches include poi, white rice and mac salad. The juicy pork and the earthiness of the poi goes oh so well with the tart lomi lomi salmon. You get haupia (my favorite), chocolate cake and a vanilla coconut cake for dessert.

3. Hula Performances…by You!

While you’re eating, you’re introduced to a variety of songs and dances from cultures like Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and Tahiti. The stage is generously lit and the musicians – the Mai Tai band – are perfectly in sync with the dancers and singers. There are plenty of interactive moments where you can learn how to dance hula on stage, for both men and women, so if you’re an outgoing sort, be sure to volunteer! It makes for great photos later and stories to share with the family.

4. Christmas Performance

Since we went the Friday before Christmas, the performance had special Christmas tones to it. From the “Mele Kalikimaka” sign, Christmas lights and a small Christmas revue at the end of the show, it was nice to see the performers get into the festive spirit of things. They sang and danced to “Jingle Bells,” “Hawaiian Santa,” “Mele Kalikimaka” and more. The costumes were also well designed, with plenty of bright red and green colors.

5. Firedancing

It’s always impressive to see a professional firedancer spin and throw blazing poles in the air without burning himself. The performer at Germaine’s is a two-time champion in firedancing here in Hawaii and he was amazing to watch. He came back for a hana hou repeat performance afterwards and didn’t seem to break a sweat while dancing to rapid drumbeats for the exciting finale.

To book your night with Germaine’s Luau today.