If you're in charge of organizing an upcoming office party, and you've decided on a Hawaiian theme (to help people escape the winter blues), then the food is a really important part. Once you decorate the tables with grass wraps, hang some leis up (and have them for coworkers to wear if they like), and have some music picked out (maybe some Gabby Pahinui), then the next important step is the menu. You want to be somewhat authentic, but maybe not too authentic (poi might not go over well with people unaccustomed to it). So here are some ideas to talk to the caterers about.
Hallowed Out Pineapples for Drinks
While you might not end up serving Mai Tai's, Blue Hawaiians, or any other alcoholic beverages, you can still make the drinks fun. One cool way is to get cored out pineapples (the insides can be cut up and used for fruit dishes) and serve virgin versions of pina coladas or other island-style drinks. Don't forget the umbrellas, cherries, and pineapple garnishes.
This is a must have dish. It's an iconic, and tasty, meal found all over restaurants in Hawaii. It's sort of like a tamale. Instead of corn husk or banana leaf, the dish is made with a taro leaf and filled with steamed pork. There are variations that include chicken, in case you feel that pork would not go over well with your coworkers dietary restrictions. It's often served with rice and macaroni salad.
White Rice and Macaroni Salad
No Hawaiian meal would be complete without these two classic side dishes. You can ask the caterer to have a pineapple sauce made for people who don't want a plain white rice and prefer something more flavorful.
This beef dish is made by marinating beef in a spicy sauce, cooking it, and then drying it out. It was originally made for the Hawaiian cowboys who were working out in the field and needed a preserved style of meat. It's become a popular dish to have at luaus. It is served with white rice and the soy sauce marinade.
Slow Cooked Pork
The center piece of most luaus is a slow roasted pig. While you won't have a whole pig out in your office, you can certainly have the caterers bring in succulent, roasted, pork. It should be basted in a soy sauce and pineapple glaze. You should serve this with white rice.
This is the classic coconut pudding. It's a cool and refreshing dessert that is not to sweet or heavy after all of the pork and meat dishes.
For more help deciding what dishes to serve at your Hawaiian-themed office party, talk to a catering service like Marians Island Wide Catering.