A 'Hello Kitty' Baby Luau

A baby luau is a festive party people in Hawaii throw in celebration of a child’s first birthday. Which like most birthdays and weddings, they have themes, where on this occasion was all about ever-so-cute Hello Kitty…

This particular baby luau was for my girlfriend’s coworker’s daughter’s baby girl, held at a rec’ center in Mililani, where the pink and purple Hello Kitty color scheme carried on throughout the banquet hall…

The dinner line…

Hello Kitty “Piggy” Bank centerpieces adorned each table…

Along with Hello Kitty stuffed animals…

Right down to pink and purple-colored popcorn and party favors…

Awe, da’ cute! Baby’s picture is in the rectangle section on the card that’s blocked off.

Speaking of pink and purple, baby’s family is Filipino, and with that there was all the awesome Filipino grinds for the occasion. Take for instance, for pupu, there was Kalding (goat) strips…


Kalding strips (goat), including da’ skin

Also Kalding stew…


Kalding (goat) stew

Going back to the Hawaiian side, the pupu station also had Opihi (Opihi! $$$)…


Opihi (Hawaiian Cellana Limpets; raw)

Of course no luau would be complete without Poke…


Ahi Poke

Ahi Poke would be lonely without his lovely wife, Tako Poke…


Tako Poke

One of my favorites, edamame…


Edamame (soy beans)

Rounding da’ pupu station out, wen’ get local style (star anise flavored) boiled peanuts…


Boiled Peanuts

Here’s my pupu “platter”…


Hello Kitty Baby Luau Pupu Platter sample A: Ahi Poke, Tako Poke, Opihi, Kalding strips and Kalding Stew. Oh’right!


Hello Kitty Baby Luau Pupu Platter Sample B: Ahi Poke, Tako Poke, Boiled Peanuts and Edamame (soybeans)

A closer look at the Kalding…


Kalding strips and Opihi

The kalding strips is OK, but not my top choice of meat. As expected, it was rather gamey and tough. On the hand, the Kalding stew was great. Masarap! The Opihi was also supah’ ono (and I’m not really an Opihi fan).

A closer look at the ahi poke and boiled peanuts (as if you needed to see this lol)…


Boiled Peanuts, Ahi Poke and Edamame… all totemo oishii desu

Here you can see how fresh these Opihi were, with the limu on top looking almost still alive…


Opihi and Ahi Poke (a.k.a. “Luau Gold” $$$$$$$$$!!!)

One Opihi down, 100 more to go (j/k)…


A recently-consumed Opihi

Speaking of “Luau Gold”, they didn’t cut corners anywhere for this baby luau, where as we move on to the dinner buffet, guests were treated to a succulent stack of snow crab legs…


Snow Crab Legs

All that was missing was the clarified butter and lemon wedges. Shucks. Still ono though!

By far, my favorite entree on the buffet line was the Pinakbet…


Pinakbet (Ilocano style stewed bagoong, bittermelon, stringbeans and tomatoes)

OMG, this was like the BEST example of Pinakbet I’ve ever had. Masarap!!!

I forget what this Filipino dish is called, but it was also mighty tasty…

Another ethnic dish made of fried strips of tofu and greens over rice which I don’t know the exact name of, but was also very delicious…

No Filipino spread would be complete without Lumpia…

The preceeding Filipino specialty dishes were all made by the family, while some of the basic items such as the rice, mac salad, teri beef were catered by Tanioka’s in Waipahu. Here’s a tray of Tanioka’s Mahimahi…


Mahimahi catered by Tanioka’s in Waipahu

Teriyaki Beef…


Teri’ Beef catered by Tanioka’s in Waipahu

I didn’t get a photo of every item on the line, but here’s a plate which shows some of the things that were missed…

Another plate…


Clockwise from top: Tossed salad (Tanioka’s), Fried Chicken (Tanioka’s), Mahimahi (Tanioka’s), Pancit (ohana; under the mahimahi), Garlic Shrimp (ohana), Lumpia, Kalua Pig (ohana), Pinakbet (ohana) and rice

A side dish of Pinakbet and that fried tofu dish…

Oh man, that Pinakbet was da’ bomb!

Now we move on to the desserts…

There was an amazing variety of Filipino dessert specialties, starting with this…

Kakanin (purple rice cake)…

Banana-filled Lumpia with honey drizzled over it…

Wonton twists…

Puto…


Puto

Suman…


Suman

Another Filipino dessert I have no idea what it’s called except to know it tasted good…

Perfect for Hello Kitty…

A few dessert plates we enjoyed…

A closer look…

The suman unwrapped…

Suman is a coconut- flavored sweetened rice cake steamed in banana leaf.

Kakanin…

And of course once again, baby’s 1st birthday cake…

Along with all da’ supah onolicious grinds, a hula halau performed, while a costumed Hello Kitty mascot walked around to meet and greet the keiki and keiki at heart.

Just like to say salamat po to baby’s grandma who was so gracious to invite us to her grandaughter’s first birthday, and the same also to baby’s mom who allowed me to take these photos, not to mention the extraordinary effort put into organizing such a grand baby luau. Mahalo! Everything was great!

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21 thoughts on “A 'Hello Kitty' Baby Luau

  1. Pomai, the best foods are always at homes partries. Where can I get opihis cooked in Honolulu when I am in town? Never had it at all living in Honolulu.
    If I ever attended a party like the one you went to I would be last one to leave for sure and hope could take home some extras food too.

  2. Pomai, that one super luau I ever saw for a baby. Opihis is something I do not see all the time in bashs. What a spread for all to see. There is no way could a restaurant have such a luau with that many typed of foods. I been to Chinese Red Egg Party for one month old baby which at restaurant. They pass out vinegar ginger pig feet with red dye eggs, roast pork, red steamed buns with sweet bean paste to family and friends to take home.

  3. By the looks of the smorgasbord, I wonder if the Luau was for a first born child. I’ve noticed in my family the first born gets a similarly awesome spread and the kids born later, like me, are lucky if we even get a cake. Oh well.

  4. Betty, knowing you, you’d probably skip the pupu and dinner line and be over there diggin’ right into the desserts! lol

    To my surprise, I recently spotted fresh Opihi for sale at Don Quijote (Kaheka location)… guess how much? $50 per pound. Or $99 per pound. Something like that (not that it matters after the $50/lb. price point). Whoah!

    Amy, actually there’s several restaurants in Honolulu that I can name where I’ve seen similar multi-cultural spreads. One would be the Oceanarium in Waikiki, which had adobo, pork guisantes, lumpia and pancit on the line mixed within an otherwise typical continental brunch buffet, which my guess is that the chef was/is Filipino!, and another would be the Prince Court, which a few years ago also had a few Filipino specialty dishes mixed among the buffet line. For fast food, Alicia’s in Kalihi has just as many various dishes as here. Same with Marujyu Market in Pearl City.

    But of course, a family style Hawaii luau BLOWS any restaurant experience. You can’t top the love that goes into it, plus the great people there to celebrate with you.

    Hugh, I asked myself the same question. This party was fit for a queen of a country! This is obviously a very special girl, and happy belated birthday to her!

    đŸ™‚

  5. That’s so awesome! I still remember buying Hello Kitty gum with my lunch money (wow, how old am I?). Loved (and still do) Hello Kitty anything growing up.

  6. Wow, if I was that baby I’d be pretty upset that they threw me such a fabulous party before I was old enough to really appreciate it! What a spread! The banana lumpia sounds awesome (but most everything did).

  7. I’m salivating looking at this stuff. Opihi!? I haven’t had that since…I can’t even remember. But hey, I’m all over that sticky rice cake.

  8. Pomai, researchers have been trying to raise opihis as cash crop and not let opihis die out from all that harvest of it. It will lower the price of it in markets. Anythings that popular should be a great cash crop soon limu and fiddlehead ferns due to many picking it since grown wild.

  9. i need to make some filipino friends on this island, omg i miss home cooked filipino food so much! oh, and the orange round desert is kutsinta, definitely one of my favorite filipino desserts. any rec’s for really, really good filipino bakeries on oahu? thanks!

  10. Hi Rochelle,

    Thanks for identifying that orange dessert for me. My coworker says Kutsinta gets its orange color from Achiote powder. Interesting. I can’t remember how it tasted, as there were so many desserts, I lost track of which was what!

    The three most popular resources for Filipino baked goods on Oahu all have locations in Kalihi and Waipahu: Valerio’s Tropical Bake Shop, Nanding’s Bakery and Golden Coin Bakery & Restaurant.

    Kamehameha Bakery on School Street also carries Filipino specialties such as Ensemada, Pandesal and Hopia (not Haupia), although they do make a great Haupia Doughnut too!

  11. Pingback: Latest luau birthday party themes news – Luau Party Photo Prop Standee for Pictures | Birthday Party Theme Ideas

  12. Can anybody tell me where to find those hello kitty piggy banks other than at Sanrio? I wanted to buy a bulk amount for my daughter’s 1st also.

    Someone please let me know.

  13. This is a few months late but I just wanted to add that the greens with the tomato are probably blanched kamotig (sweet potato) leaves. The egg-shaped, deep-fried orbs of desserty goodness are most likely cascaron.

  14. How was the banana lumpia made? how do they make it crunchy? my banana lumpia becomes soft after a while? is there honey on top? what kind of honey? is there a special wrapper for this???

  15. hello i have a question im having a b-day party and i like your center pieces the helo kitty piggy bank where did you bought them im looking for something like that

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