What Are Pupus and Why Are They Awesome?

Volcanic Shrimp Recipe

The Holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and loved ones. And when you celebrate, you like to eat! And although you may not know it, you want to eat pupus! Whether you are at a Christmas or New Year’s party or watching some college football bowl games or NLF playoffs, yummy easy-to-eat food makes any party 10 times more fun. Maybe even a hundred! Not only that, but a pupu party could even change your life!

Kalua Pork Slider with Hawaiian Sweet Bread and Cole Slaw

Kalua pork sliders with Hawaiian sweet bread and cole slaw (Click on image for recipe)

When you hear the word “pupu”, you probably think one of two things. If you aren’t familiar with the term, you might think about a baby diaper. But if you already know what it means, you’ll likely start salivating and wish it was already Aloha Friday! “Pupu” is a Hawaiian term for any appetizer, snack or finger food. It usually refers to smaller portions of food which may include egg rolls, chicken wings, poke and practically any type of food that can be prepared and eaten in small bites at a party or social gathering.

Versatile teriyaki beef. Delicious, easy to make and goes with just about everything! (beer, wine, even sake)

Versatile teriyaki beef. Delicious, easy to make and goes with just about everything! (Click on image for recipe)

Pupus have always been popular in Hawaii households as the preferred food format for Super Bowl parties and other festive get-togethers. But they have also become increasingly popular at many bars and restaurants as people want to try many different foods in one sitting. In fact, people will often just share an assortment of pupus or a “pupu platter” for dinner rather than order traditional meals. That way everybody can try a variety of different things without getting super full. And variety is the spice of life!

Fun Peeps!

Why live an ordinary good life when you can live a super fun great life?

If you’re planning a party, we strongly suggest that you decide to serve pupus.  Not only will your party be more fun, it just might make your life better! Let’s face it, would you rather be known as “that fun peep” or just a “boring peep”? There’s nothing more demoralizing than throwing a party where everybody just sits and eats food so heavy that they pass out on your couch or in your back yard. We’ve seen it happen. But host an epically fun party and suddenly life could get interesting!

If you throw a pupu party, this is what will happen (true story). Your guests will arrive and be immediately intrigued by your impressive spread of easy-to-eat pupus. The lightness of pupus will enable your guests to roam and interact more freely. This will boost the energy in the room. Conversations will be more interesting. Jokes will be funnier. Laughter will be heartier. A couple might even decide to start dating at your party. And because pupus are not as heavy as “regular food”  your guests won’t get the dreaded “kanak attack” (the local term for a food coma). That means the party can go all night long!

And it doesn’t stop there. Because everyone had such a wonderful time, these things will happen.

  1. Friends and friends of friends will look forward to your next party.
  2. As the instigator of all this fun, people will want to meet you.
  3. People will assume you are excellent at other things besides throwing a party. This is key.
  4. Your self-confidence will skyrocket (even if you are already confident).

Once this ball gets rolling, new doors will open for you. This could lead to new job or business opportunities. It might even lead to new and intriguing personal relationships. At the very least, your parties will be more lively and memorable. But more likely, your life will become much more fun and interesting, and may even awesome!

Here are a few party tips.

  • Pair your pupus with some wine or other beverages of choice. We really like Costco wines.
  • For something different, pair some of your salty or cured meats with sake (Japanese rice wine). Note: Sake is not meant to be taken as shots. This ain’t college! (but don’t you wish it was?). Sake should be sipped like wine. If you don’t have sake at your neighborhood supermarket, you can order some from True Sake online.
  • Serve pupus with some “opposites”. If one pupu is salty, serve another that’s a little sweet. If another dish is fishy like sushi, offer another that has some vinegar like pickled ginger. These pallete contrasts will be a party in your mouth!
  • A party is only as good as its weakest link so be mindful of the overall environment for your party. Play suitable background music and have some decorations to set the mood. If you’re having a Super Bowl party or something like that, then skip the music but do include some decor and plates, napkins and cups that have the colors of the teams.
  • Take things one step further and add a theme to your party. Themes like the 80’s, a luau, Star Wars, etc will make a good party great! Let your guests know the theme ahead of time so they can start to get excited and prepared for the party. See our article about throwing a Hawaiian luau theme party for more ideas.
  • Always make more than enough food. And always have backup foods handy like frozen pizzas, party wings or Hawaiian taro chips and dips that can be made in minutes in case you start running out of food.