Food ideas for a Hawaiian party

When the autumn turns into winter and the days are short, or when the holidays have passed, leaving those of us in the north with gloomy skies and frozen ground. It is at this time we begin dreaming of hopping on a plane for some warm tropical location. Since that vacation may not be in the budget, why not create our own little tropical oasis here at home?

Invite a few friends over for a mid-winter blues buster; a Hawaiian party. Decorate with colorful flowers (real or plastic), wear a grass skirt (over your thermal underwear,) and serve some tropical delights. Below are some food ideas for a Hawaiian party.

Hawaiian food and drinks

Food and drinks are at the heart of any party.

The main dish

Pork seems to be the food most associated with a Hawaiian Luau. You don't have to go hog wild and roast the whole pig with an apple in its mouth. Simply prepare a ham with pineapple and a simple brown sugar glaze. You may even score a ham for cheap when the grocery stores want to clear them out after the holidays.

Barbecued Ribs are another good choice. Marinate the ribs in soy sauce, pineapple juice and spices like garlic and dried mustard. If it is too cold out to actually grill the ribs, bake them in the oven and then use the broiler for a few minutes on each side to give them the grilled look.

If you are looking thinking more of finger foods that would be easier for your guests to eat, consider meatballs. Make them with a pineapple barbecue sauce as described above for ribs, but use chunk pineapple and its juice instead of only pineapple juice. Ham could also be cut into cubes and prepared in the same manner. Serve with toothpicks.


Fruit and lots of fruit! Serve mixed fruit salads, fruit kabobs or just sliced fruit. Macadamia nuts are a Hawaiian favorite. Serve rice to go with your meat dishes, and make or buy Hawaiian sweet bread.

Seafood would also be a good choice to go with a Hawaiian themed party. Consider serving seafood as sides or appetizers, instead of the main dish, to help keep the costs down. A seafood salad served on crackers or Hawaiian bread would be a delicious and economical choice.

Hawaiian dance in the sunset.


Grilled fruit, especially pineapple, is delicious. Again, this can be done with the oven broiler, if it is too cold for outdoor grilling. Cakes or cookies made with coconut would be a good choice, or simply a make your own ice cream sundae bar with lots of fruity toppings.


Cold and fruity is the way to go. Piña Coladas and Daiquiris (with or without alcohol) would be perfect for you winter luau. Fruit punch is also an excellent choice


Beyond the actual food that you will serve, consider also the presentation of the food. How it is presented goes a long way toward creating the Hawaiian effect that you are aiming for. Use fresh fruit and flower garnishes. Serve fruit in a "bowl" made from a scooped out pineapple. Use coconuts and banana leaves to create a tropical feel at your table. Be creative and have fun with it.

And enjoy the party

When the gloomy winter skies have you feeling blah and a tropical get away is not in the plans, create your own tropical paradise right in your home. Crank up the heat. Break out the grass skirts and leis and enjoy your pretend Hawaiian get away!