The ostentatious orgy the appetizers well-known as the pu-pu platter is possibly the many famous instance of edible tiki fare. Just as tiki drinks room equal parts standard Caribbean recipes, Hollywood showmanship and Pacific Islander culture (as construed by tiki arbiters Donn Beach and Trader Vic), the pu-pu platter is an amalgam of Americanized Chinese food, Hawaiian tradition and also bar food.

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Originally unleashed in ~ the an initial Don the Beachcomber ar in the 1930s, it was a crowd-pleasing plate of foods items designed to soak up rum-laden cocktails. Beach likely encountered pū-pū (the Hawaiian word for “snail” or, more generally, “shellfish,” frequently used to refer to any hors d"oeuvre) top top his travels around the Pacific and brought it ago with him to the mainland once he went back to California. Beach’s pu-pu was a hybrid of island society and increasingly renowned Americanized Chinese food. Years later, Beach’s format of pu-pu is still a standby in ~ tiki bars and American-Chinese restaurants.

The pu-pu platter’s strength lies in excess and variety. Fish, meat and also fowl every cram together side by next in greasy, indulgent glory, all set to be choose apart by voracious diners in between sips native Scorpion Bowls and also hurricane glasses.

There is no one way to pu-pu. The presentation lends chin to adaptation and reckless innovation—but there room some basic guidelines. The selection of finger foodstuffs should be laid the end on a round plate or a revolving lazy susan, preferably with a tiny hibachi grill at the facility for diners to reheat items. And the plate should encompass a choice of items, each of i beg your pardon fits right into one of three necessary categories: skewered, fried or saucy.


A pu-pu platter is a social crossroads, specifically when it concerns saucy, messy barbecue. Char siu—Chinese-style spare ribs—sit alongside kalua pork indigenous Hawaii, teriyaki from Japan and even standard BBQ wings. The Blue Ribbon platter attributes both American-style ribs and wings. The saucy ar of the pu-pu platter, prefer the skewered section, appeals to the carnal desire to eat with your hands. That a great thing many tiki cocktails come with a straw due to the fact that there’s no means you’d be able to hold top top a glass after functioning your means through a heap of sauce-slathered ribs.

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Now the you recognize the an easy anatomy the a pu-pu platter, you’re prepared to conference one in the wild or, even better, make your very own at home. Simply remember to hit the crucial components and shot your finest to share.