The central feature of the luau is the imu, an underground oven (a shallow pit lined with stones). A whole pig (puaa) is wrapped in ti and banana leaves and placed in the pit's hot center. The pig and laulau (savory bundles containing side dishes) are covered with multiple layers of banana, ti, or sometimes ginger leaves, and a final coating of earth. In about four hours the coverings are removed and the luau begins
Under King Kamehameha III, there was an 1847 event that was unforgettable, a luau with 10,000 in attendance, although in true Hawaiian style, food was prepared for 12,000. The guests were served: "271 hogs, 482 large calabashes of poi, 602 chickens, three whole oxen, two barrels of salt port, two barrels of biscuits, 12 barrels of laulau and cabbages, four barrels of onions, 80 bunches of bananas, 55 pineapples, 2,245 coconuts, 4,000 heads of taro, 180 squid, oranges, limes, grapes and various fruit." Source: Manu Boyd, Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Now that was a luau!