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9 Polynesian Foods to Try at the Polynesian Cultural Center

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9 Polynesian Foods to Try at the Polynesian Cultural Center

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When I was in Hawaii, on the same day as learning how to cook a pig in an imu, kind of a cross between and Hawaiian and Samoan version, I also had a chance to walk around the Polynesian Cultural Center and eat some of the main snacks they offered in what they call the Taste of Polynesia. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a center that aims to preserve the cultures of the main islands of Polynesia. The center is set up in villages, where there are traditional homes, and a series of performances from the country represented. To make things more well rounded, the Taste of Polynesia is basically a series of small snack bars that open and each serve a different set of Polynesian food snacks.

We started in the village of Samoa with sausage and gravy over rice, a dish I never would have thought is so popular in Samoa. But due to the British influence I believe, it’s quite a popular dish. The sausage was simmered in gravy, and paired with rice. The sausage was actually quite good, a little plain, but very good. Also in the Samoa village, we tried a panipopo, basically a bun that was slightly sweetened, and covered in a thick coconut cream sauce. I’m not a big desserts eater, but this was alright. The bun was nice and fluffy like a roll, and then the sauce was thick and creamy. Lastly in the village of Samoa at the Polynesian Cultural Center we tried the half-Moon pineapple pie, basically a pastry filled with pineapple insides.

Moving on, we continued our Polynesian food tour in Tonga with a dessert snack called ‘Otai. ‘Otai was more of a beverage with fruit. This one was too sweet for me, but it was good if you enjoy sweets and need something cool on a hot day walking around. Next up from native Hawaii, they served a dish called koelepalau, purple sweet potato coconut pudding. This one was probably my wife’s favorite. It tasted like sweet potatoes, mashed, and mixed with rich coconut cream. It wasn’t too rich or sweet, but had a nice fragrance, and it was quite good. Although this is a Hawaiian dessert, it’s not too easy to find in Hawaii.

Of all the desserts we ate at the Polynesian Cultural Center, my favorite was the po’e, from Tahiti, a banana cake topped with coconut cream. The bananas were a little overripe (on purpose), almost to the point where they were slightly candied and just before that fermentation taste. Then they were covered in coconut cream that wasn’t sweetened at all. They informed us that there was not sugar in the recipe, just really sweet bananas and coconut milk. It was pretty good, and naturally sweet, and a good contrast of flavors.

Over in Fiji I was ready to eat the Fijian chicken curry. I didn’t know Fiji had such a big Indian influence, and so I was happy to finally see a dish that had some good flavor to it. The spices in the curry were mild, yet well balanced, and the Fijian curry was my favorite dish of the tour. After the curry, I tried a meat pie from Aotearoa (New Zealand). I don’t have too much experience in the meat pie department, but this one was pretty good, filled with meat and cheese. Finally, the last thing I ate at the Polynesian Cultural Center was an egg, bacon & cheese quiche, also from Aotearoa (New Zealand).

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NOTE: I was invited to come to the Polynesian Cultural Center when I was in Hawaii, so I didn’t pay for the food or the entrance ticket. But I’m not affiliated with the center, and all thoughts and opinions in this video are my own.

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Polynesian Cultural Center Luau: How to Cook a Pig in an Imu

►More about how to cook a pig in an imu:

When I was in Hawaii, my wife and I were invited to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center to attend the center and to learn about how to cook a pig in an imu - a traditional style of underground oven cooking used in many parts of Polynesia. The Polynesian Cultural Center is an cultural park located on the north shore of the island of Oahu, Hawaii, that shows and preserves the cultures of the major island of Polynesia. They represent Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and New Zealand.

For each of the island nations, they’ve set up a traditional style village and displays about lifestyle, tradition, and food, of each island. When you enter the center, you can walk around to the different villages, and then go to see a series of different shows and cultural performances at each of the island villages. But along with touring the center and learning more about the islands of Polynesia, another draw to the Polynesian Cultural Center is the luau, which is a big Hawaiian feast. What I was most interested in learning about was the imu, a traditional Hawaiians style underground hot rock oven used to cook. In Hawaii it’s called an imu, but they have very similar forms of cooking throughout Polynesia that have a different name, but almost the same style of cooking.

In order to cook using a Hawaiian imu, they first started with a pile of river rocks. The rocks were sitting on a bed of hard ironwood. The wood was burned, and the rocks sitting on top, were heated in the hot flaming wood for about 2 - 3 hours. During this time, we walked around the Polynesian Cultural Center and just enjoyed the beautiful nature and manicured gardens. After the rocks for the imu were heated, they removed all the burning wood - the wood was used only to heat the rocks - and spread out the rocks. David, who was teaching me about how to set up an imu, explained that the one we were using was sort of a Samoan style, because it was mostly above ground, as opposed to being dug into the ground too deep.

After the hot rocks were spread out, they then added a layer of banana stalk to the top of the hot rocks, then on went an entire pig - it was a small pig, but a tasty pig. I could immediately hear the hiss of the meat sizzling on the hot rocks. After the pig, then on went about 20 layers of banana leaves, which were stacked on top of the pig in an effort to keep all the steam and smoke in and cook the pig. An imu is a slow method of cooking, and so after the imu was prepared, it took about 5 hours to cook, and during that time again, we walked around the center and enjoyed the cultural displays and performances. In the late afternoon, when it was time for the official Polynesian Cultural Center luau, we had access to the stage and were there to see them take the pig out of the imu. The pig cooked in an underground Hawaiian oven, after being cooked, is called kalua pig and is one of the most famous Hawaiian food.

The rest of the food at the Polynesian Cultural Center was alright, but nothing compared to the pig cooked in the imu. I was lucky enough to get the pig cheek, which was incredibly flavorful, juicy and fatty. The other parts of the meat were fall apart tender and had a wonderful smoky flavor.

*During the making of this video, I received the food and entrance to the Polynesian Cultural Center for free, but I did not get paid to make this video or write this blog posts. The video and all thoughts are my own.

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Polynesian Cultural Center FULL TOUR | Oahu, Hawaii

Every village. Almost every activity. Plus the luau, movie, and the Ha: Breath of Life night show. We did everything at the Polynesian Cultural Center and shared our full experience with you so you can decide if it's worth the price. (Spoiler: it is.)

This is the first video in a 5-day trip to Hawaii for our baby-moon. Make sure you subscribe to see the other videos as we post them (North Shore, Dole Plantation, Hanauma Bay, and more).


We spent our first day in the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) and ended up going back a second day because there is far too much to do in one day. Honestly, we think this is one of the best things to do in Oahu. We visited all six villages (representing the islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Aotearoa - New Zealand). We also ate at the luau, watched the Imax movie and the night show, and learned how to play the ukulele for free. It's all included with admission and we wanted to do it all.

Here are some timestamps for different parts of the video, and then I'll put some ticket info below that.

Samoa - 0:44
1:10 - Making fire from two sticks, weaving, and fire knife twirling
Hawaii - 2:46
3:19 - Hula dance practice and traditional Hawaiian games (konane and 'ulu maika)
Tahiti - 6:38
6:40 - Spear throwing and pole fishing
7:48 - Tahitian coconut bread
Fiji - 8:11
8:18 - Using the derua (bamboo percussion instrument)
9:00 - Temporary Fijian tattoos, making coconut oil, and chief's house
Aotearoa (New Zealand) - 13:44
13:44 - The Haka (warrior dance)
14:23 - Titi torea (stick toss game)
14:45 - Poi balls
Tonga - 15:45
15:51 - Ma'ulu'ulu (Tongan seated dance)
16:17 - Ta nafa (drum show - this is hysterical in real life)

3:55 - Canoe pageant
5:20 - Free ukulele lessons
10:54 - Ali'i Luau buffet
17:27 - Gift shop and Imax movie review (Hawaiian Journey)
18:27 - Ha theater preview (the show is absolutely incredible!)
18:47 - BYU Hawaii and temple tour

Ticket info:

First off, we were not sponsored for this video. We didn't even get a discount. We paid the full $120+ each for the Ali'i luau package. It was a lot of money and it took a lot of convincing for us to spend that much money. We wanted to make this video to show you everything that the PCC has to offer so you can decide if it's worth the money. For us, it was worth it without a doubt.

There are lots of ticket options, all of which you can read about on their website:

The most basic package (as of January 2019 when I'm uploading this) is about $90. That doesn't include the luau and show, just a buffet dinner at the restaurant in the center. We decided to spend the extra $30 to upgrade for the luau.

The ambassador luau package was another $25 upgrade and that gave you better seating at and a behind the scenes tour for the Ha night show. You can see the theater at 18:27 in the video; I don't think you really need the closer seats.

There are other packages that include tours of Oahu and private VIP tours, you can read about those options on the site.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. We respond to every comment.

-Brian and Isa

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Filmed on August 10, 2017 on a Canon G7X Mark II.

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Polynesian Cultural Center to Kahuku Food Trucks Oahu Hawaii

Polynesian Cultural Center to Kahuku Food Trucks Oahu Hawaii 9/7/2019. We take you on a short drive from the Polynesian Cultural Center to Kahuku food trucks. Sorry in advance for the strong backlight as we are traveling towards the sun. We begin our drive at the Hukilau parking lot where the Polynesian Cultural Center is also at. We exit the parking lot and make a left turn on to Kamehameha Hwy. Along the way we point out Courtyard by Marriott, McDonalds, Lāʻie Point, Foodland, Brigham Young University Hawaii, Lāʻie Hawaii Temple, Hukilau Beach Park, Mālaekahana State Recreation Area, Mālaekahana Beach Campground, the Zipline, and we finally end up at the Kahuku food truck area. We hope you enjoy the ride with us!

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Polynesian Cultural Center - Silver Show

Aloha - in 2013, the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laʻie, Hawaiʻi, celebrated its golden jubilee. Former performers gathered for two incredible presentations of the famous Evening Show. This performance features dancers from the 1980ʻs up to 2009. Enjoy seeing your friends and family in this historic production! TV production services were provided by students from BYU-Hawaii.

Polynesian Cultural Center - Best Luau and Things to Do in Hawaii

Join us for a full day of travel vlogging at the Polynesian Cultural Center! This tourist attraction on the north shore part of Oahu is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. Experience multiple Polynesian cultures in one day including:

- how to make a fire with a Samoan chief
- get on stage for Tongan drumming and Tahitian dancing
- watch bold New Zealand Maori warriors and poi ball dancers
- learn ancient Hawaiian hula
- Huki, the midday canoe show and HA Breath of Life the night show
- the best luau on the island with Hawaiian food favorites including kalua pig.

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* Watch the FULL Oahu, Hawaii Travel Vlog -
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How To Make Coconut Milk: Part 1 of 3

The man, the myth, the legend! Kap is back edu-taining you more about Samoan culture. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming out next week.

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Best of Hawaii Oahu Funny Japanese at Polynesian Cultural Center

COOK ISLANDS SHOWCASE | At the Polynesian Cultural Center

Cook Islands Showcase performance live in the Pacific Theater at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

For two consecutive years, the Polynesian Cultural Center has welcomed their friends from the Cook Islands for a special summer showcase. This special evening performance took place in the Pacific Theater at the Polynesian Cultural Center and was streamed on Facebook Live.

Hawaii Vacation Day 2 | Polynesian Cultural Center VIP Tour, Hale Ohana Luau Dinner Review

We are on vacation in Hawaii! Join us on our trip to Honolulu Hawaii and enjoy our adventures on this week long vacation! Today we visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and take a guided VIP tour where we get reserved seating for the river pageant, get treated to the Hale Ohana Luau Dinner show and see the evening show Ha Breath Of Life!


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Oahu Polynesian Cultural Center

Learn about Hawaiin and other South Pacific cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu.

The Polynesian Cultural Center's eight island villages give you the rare chance to experience everyday activities of Hawaiian and other South Pacific cultures. You'll also enjoy an authentic Hawaiian luau and amazing Polynesian show.

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Polynesian Cultural Center 360 4K! - Fiji

Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is a Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum located in Laie, on the northern shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and dedicated on October 12, 1963, the PCC occupies 42 acres (17 hectares) owned by nearby Brigham Young University–Hawaii.

Within eight simulated tropical villages, performers demonstrate various arts and crafts from throughout Polynesia. Visitors may also take a free shuttle tour of the university and see the Laie Hawaii Temple and its associated visitors' center of the LDS Church.

Seventy percent of the center's approximately 1,300 employees are students at BYU-Hawaii. Although it is largely a commercial venture, PCC profits fund various scholarship programs at BYU–Hawaii. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during school terms and 40 hours during breaks.

The center was opened in 1963 as a way to provide employment and scholarships for students at BYU-Hawaii and to preserve the cultures of Polynesia. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s hukilau and luau beach gatherings to earn money to rebuild a local chapel belonging to the LDS Church, which had been destroyed in a fire. The Hukilau Song, made famous by Alfred Apaka, was written following the composer and song's original singer, Jack Owens's visit to Lāʻi.e.'s hukilau.

The PCC is one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Hawaii. The PCC is the venue for the annual World Fire Knife Dance Competition, in which contestants display their skill with blazing swords. Since it opened its doors in 1963, over 32 million people have visited the center. Howard W. Hunter is credited with transforming the newly organized PCC from an unprofitable and unknown entity into one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.

In addition to the daytime exhibits and demonstrations, PCC features an evening show for an additional charge. As of 2009 the show is a multicultural Polynesian show titled Hā–Breath of Life. The show features songs and dances from throughout Polynesia, including the hula, tamure, otea, titi torea, haka, poi, meke, tauʻolunga, and Taualuga. Past shows include This is Polynesia, Mana: The Spirit of Our People., and Horizons: Where the Sea Meets the Sky.

The park has its own Special effect theater as well as a lagoon where visitors can take canoe rides accompanied by a guide or paddle by themselves.

The Lagoon hosts a parade of canoes that showcases the signature dances of each of Polynesian culture. The current show, Rainbows of Paradise, which premiered in May 2010, was preceded by This is Polynesia and Ancient Legends of Polynesia.

Each of the major Polynesian cultures has its own section, centered on a traditional village. Hourly performances and cultural learning experiences take place in these villages. Villages include:Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa (present-day New Zealand), Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, the Marquesas Islands.

In addition to the villages, the PCC has a special exhibit dedicated to Rapa Nui (Easter Island or Isla de Pascua) and a tribute to the 1850s LDS mission.

Visitors may participate in a luʻau, such as the Aliʻi Luʻau (Royal Feast), which offers traditional Polynesian fare, including pork cooked in an imu (an underground oven). They can observe the roasted pig in the imu prior to the meal.

PCC hosts many special events, highlighting Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian and Māori cultures along with a Christmas festival and a Haunted Lagoon. Others include Moanikeala Hula festival and World Fireknife Championships and Micronesia Betelnut festival.

New Zealand (Aotearoa) Village - Polynesian Cultural Center

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Polynesian Cultural Center New Zealand (Aotearoa) Village.

The Spirit of Polynesia

Witness and feel the spirit of Polynesia! A special mahalo to devinsupertramp for filming an amazing video!

Watch the behind the scenes in the link below:


For more inforamtion visit our website at polynesia.com
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Polynesian Cultural Center - Samoa

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Welcome to the Samoan village at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center Village Activities

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The Polynesian Cultural Center features the people and islands of Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa (Maori New Zealand), Fiji, the Marquesas, Tahiti, and Tonga; as well as a Rapa Nui exhibit and an 1850s-era Christian mission complex, all in a beautiful 42-acre setting that has been Hawaii's top paid-admission visitor attraction since 1977.

In addition, the Polynesian Cultural Center also provides information on several other Polynesian island groups, including the Cook Islands, Niue, the Tuamotu archipelago, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna.

Polynesian Cultural Center Boat Parade

Polynesian Cultural Center 360 4K! - Aotearoa

Hawaii Day 3 - Polynesian Cultural Center

That whole saturday, we spent our time at the PCC. It was a really memorable event. I enjoyed the shows and our tour guide, Cousin Ash.

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