The ostentatious orgy of appetizers well-known as the pu-pu plate is maybe the most famous example of edible tiki fare. Just as tiki drinks space equal parts standard Caribbean recipes, Hollywood showmanship and also Pacific Islander society (as interpreted by tiki arbiters Donn Beach and also Trader Vic), the pu-pu plate is one amalgam of Americanized Chinese food, Hawaiian tradition and bar food.

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Originally unleashed in ~ the an initial Don the Beachcomber place in the 1930s, it was a crowd-pleasing plate of foods designed to soak increase rum-laden cocktails. Beach likely encountered pū-pū (the Hawaiian word for “snail” or, much more generally, “shellfish,” regularly used come refer to any kind of hors d"oeuvre) top top his travels about the Pacific and brought it back with him to the mainland when he returned to California. Beach’s pu-pu to be a hybrid the island society and increasingly famous Americanized Chinese food. Years later, Beach’s style of pu-pu is tho a standby in ~ tiki bars and also American-Chinese restaurants.

The pu-pu platter’s stamin lies in excess and also variety. Fish, meat and fowl all cram together side by side in greasy, indulgent glory, ready to be picked apart by voracious diners in between sips indigenous Scorpion Bowls and also hurricane glasses.

There is no one method to pu-pu. The presentation lends itself to adaptation and also reckless innovation—but there space some basic guidelines. The selection of finger foods should be laid the end on a round platter or a revolving lazy susan, preferably with a little hibachi grill in ~ the center for diners come reheat items. And also the platter should encompass a an option of items, every of i beg your pardon fits right into one of three crucial categories: skewered, fried or saucy.

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A pu-pu plate is a social crossroads, specifically when it comes to saucy, confusing barbecue. Char siu—Chinese-style spare ribs—sit alongside kalua pork indigenous Hawaii, teriyaki native Japan and also even classic BBQ wings. The Blue Ribbon platter functions both American-style ribs and wings. The saucy section of the pu-pu platter, choose the skewered section, appeals to the carnal desire to eat v your hands. The a good thing most tiki cocktails come with a straw since there’s no way you’d be able to hold onto a glass after functioning your means through a pile of sauce-slathered ribs.

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Now the you understand the simple anatomy of a pu-pu platter, you’re prepared to conference one in the wild or, even better, do your own at home. Just remember come hit the key components and shot your finest to share.