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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food MAI KAI food & drink recommendations?
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MAI KAI food & drink recommendations?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 08, 2004
Posts: 328
From: DC Metro Area (MD)
Posted: 2006-09-25 09:25 am   Permalink

OK, so I'm a Hukilau newbie, and this year's event will be my first time at the legendary Mai Kai. Research was needed when approaching Tiki-Ti's massive drink list, and again the same applies here, so...

For those of you who've been to the Mai Kai before, what drinks would you recommend for someone who's only going to be there one night?

Food recommendations sought as well - am curious to see which menu items are really treasured amongst the tikiphiles.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 04, 2005
Posts: 541
From: Boca Raton, FL
Posted: 2006-09-25 09:39 am   Permalink

You can never go wrong with the Jet Pilot... i order one everytime i go, which is quite often. It is always consistantly made. Any you must try one of their Mai Tais before the night is through.

Food...its always good, no matter what i've ordered. The Steak is always great...they cook it in a hot fire pit...you can actually walk over and watch them tend the flame and take your steak out.

Hope to see you soon, its only 10 days away...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5307
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-09-25 10:00 am   Permalink

There are many great drinks on the menu, but many you can make at home. Though they may be favorites, the Test Pilot and the Jet Pilot are the same. Shark's Tooth and Shark Bite are similar. The Rum Barrel is the best bet for your money to get a good start, but that recipe is out there too. So, I say you need to get the recipes that are only at the Mai Kai. My number one would be their Zombie. Not at all like the recipes you have. Unique. I also suggest the Black Magic. I also think you might go for presentation. The Shark Bite in the ice shell is nice and the drink in a Pineapple has visual appeal. And of course the Mystery Drink! That's something you will never get anywhere else, unless your wife owns the costume and you figure out the recipe and buy the bowl and you actually talk the wife into doing the dance, and you get a gong and someone to play it, and well, screw all of that and get the Mystery Drink! It is more than 4 people will drink though.

As for dining, anything from the Chinese oven is great. My favorite is the Peking Duck which is a 10 and the best duck I ever had anywhere else by comparison is a 6 or 7.

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1784
From: Orlando
Posted: 2006-09-25 10:01 am   Permalink

I second the Jet Pilot. Had two of them last time I was there and it was sublime. Can't say I'm such a big fan of their Mai Tais though. They're not the classic Trader Vic style, so just be aware of that, but they are tasty if a little lightweight. I think the Black Magic tops several people's lists. Honestly, I doubt you could really go wrong with anything you order.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1784
From: Orlando
Posted: 2006-09-25 10:10 am   Permalink

Oh yeah, the Hawaiian Orange-Papaya Duck is delicious. If you go for the Peking duck, which we may do this time, keep in mind it serves two and takes a while to arrive. Something like 45 minutes I believe. But, hey, more time to drink!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 17, 2002
Posts: 573
From: Originally Israel, now Oceanside, CA
Posted: 2006-09-25 10:19 am   Permalink

I second the Zombie suggestion, also the 151 Swizzle is great and served in a flared metal container.
The mystery bowl has great presentation, but IMHO is not very special in the taste department.
The 2 times I have been in the Mai Kai, I got Hunan Lobster and liked it.

Have fun,

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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2006-09-25 11:11 am   Permalink

Sidewinders Fang (fruit based) and Black Magic (coffee based) are both excellent drinks and are designed for two. Well, at least they are designed for two... I cant tell you how many times I have seen them with only one straw in our crowd...

If you decide on one of these two yummy drinks be aware they don't count during Two-for-One Happy Hour because they are already a double drink.

As to food, I recommend just about anything and everything from the Chinese Ovens. The Peking Duck is the most amazing thing on the menu, just keep in mind it serves two and will take 45 - 60 minutes to be served. Worth every minute of the wait!

And! What those ovens due to a steak is beyond description.... I am drooling just thinking about it.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 08, 2002
Posts: 372
From: The Lounge of the Seven Pleasures!
Posted: 2006-09-25 6:16 pm   Permalink


It all depends on the pacing of your evening, but if you're there for the first show and are going to be there for the 'happy hour' in bar, drinks are (or least have been!) 2 drink is on the house- order one and get a second one of the same a bit later.

So I usually start out with something relatively light to begin with- a derby daiquiri or a Mai Kai Special.

But this can also depend upon whether or not you're having appetizers in the bar, you might want something a bit stronger if you're going to nibble along with.

Then as we are seated and settle into whichever dinning room you'll be seated in for the evening, (perhaps appetizers now?) move on to a 'medium tropical drink', pay a little extra on a Mara-Amu (when the west winds blow) and you'll have a mug to take home as a remembrance of the evening. Other 'medium' drinks I, or friends have tried include the hidden pearl, the deep sea diver, or Cobra Kiss.

With dinner, get serious, share a huge black magic with a special friend, or perhaps a barrel o' rum, a zombie, a jet pilot, or a yeoman's grog (when I asked if they did a 'navy grog' I was asked if I was from the west coast, apparently at the Mai Kai, Yeomans' the way to go.)

Worthy of special mention is the 151 swizzle, at some point in the evening, later rather than earlier, I HIGHLY recommend it. (Then again, it's probably not to EVERYONE's taste, but damn, it sure is to mine!), Outstanding!

As dinner draws to a close, over desert, drinks seem to go one of two directions, light and cool, like the Gardenia Lei, or Mai Kai Blizzard, or turn towards warm and rounding out a fine meal, try a shrunken skull, hot butted rum, tahitian coffee, but most of all, I recommend after dinner fire rituals, such as the Kona Coffee Grog, (this is also the point when you can go all out and order the bananas (flambeed of course!), too!

I captured some of the AMAZING fire rituals back at Hukilau 2004 have a look in this album-

Or just enjoy these-

Kona Coffee Grog-

Bananas Bengali (Flambe)-

After the evening performance (the Islander Review!) has ended and you've moved on to take the night air and enjoy the Tikis in the the gardens, and spent WAY too much in the Mai Kai gift shop, wander back to the Molokai bar and have whichever one drink caught your attention on the menu, that you wish you had tried, but hadn't gotten to. Then another, and be sure to try their take on the mai-tai, then have friends ensure you make it back to the hotels ok, 'cause you're going to need some serious help.

Or just take a week in Ft. Lauderdale, going to the Mai Kai each night and barely making a dent in their drink menu, return and repeat!

Food to sustain you as you go about your journey through the libations menu? Try this dream FEAST-

Sashimi, egg rolls (cut into bite sized tidbits for sharing!), RIBS!, nams, or just give in and try the Mai Kai puupuu platter for many different nibbles! (My one regret- stone crab season starts AFTER Hukilau.) Meet new friends in the Molokai Bar and share a table for dinner. Try lots of different goodies and pass 'em around!

Before dinner, try the Lobster Bisque, yum!

Then you've hit the impossible choice, entrees. (Remember, we're dream feasting here, so budget wise, sky's the limit!)

You almost have to try something from the incredible ovens (and go over and peek at them!) Try the Indonesian Spiced Rack of Lamb, or the Asian BBQ Baby Back Ribs! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

A few classics that are some of my personal favourites? The Fresh Florida Grouper encrusted in Macadamia nuts, with Grand Marnier sauce. The Yellowfin Tuna, barely seared (VERY pink inside!) either Thai style with peanut sauce or with Seasame Seeds. The Bird's Nest Shrimp- served up in the deep fried crispy noodle nest- exactly the way it's supposed to be. (But then I'm a seafood goddess, and FL's got plenty of yummy!)

Go for the Roast Duck Mai-Kai, or the Peking Duck. Or the Lemongrass Pork Tenderloin- mmmmmmmm! (All this is reminding me, that I've barely scratched the entree menu, too!)

And again, after dinner, go traditional, the Bananas Bengali being flambeed tableside.

Basically, I've never had anything other than a fantastic dinning experience at the Mai Kai- and the food is only the beginning of what you're in for.

Those of you who have never been, your mouths should pretty much be watering by now. Those of us who KNOW- we're trying to figure out how to teleport and make time go faster so we can BE THERE ALREADY!!!

[ This Message was edited by: Sabina 2006-09-25 18:18 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Sabina 2006-09-25 18:21 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-09-25 8:24 pm   Permalink

It does help to study the Mai Kai on-line menus before you visit. After a few drinks in the Molokai bar, your vision might be a bit impaired, and you could be seeing double of all the possible food items on the menu ... at which pont you might just point to a nearby table and say 'Just give me what they are having!'

At one Hukilau, after a few drinks at the Molokai bar, I carried a Barrel O' Rum drink to the table, and ordered a Black Magic to serve as an immediate backup when that was gone. The persons sitting next to me then ordered the Mystery drink - but they didn't drink alcohol, so I ended up consuming a good portion of that drink too. Grasping the opportunity, for a brief moment, I think I had all 3 straws working at once, in much the same way that a mountaneer will climb Everest 'just because it is there.'

I can't remember what I had for my meal that night, but I do know I had a very good time!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5307
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-09-26 06:13 am   Permalink

Just so everyone knows...

There will be two happy hours for Hukilau. Both dinners have a happy hour, which is 2 for 1. This is only good in the Molokai Lounge, not at your table. So, if you scoot to your dinner table during happy hour and order a drink, it will not be 2 for 1.

I usually like to get a good buzz going early and get a Rum Barrel. The rest of the evening floats along. However, being in the first dinner means you start at 4PM and go to ... well, you could end up there for 12 hours, so pacing is very important. I do not want to miss the Waitiki show this year!

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1784
From: Orlando
Posted: 2006-09-26 10:04 am   Permalink

Hey, I see a loophole there... a person could have TWO happy hours in one night! Hmmmmm.

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The Ragin' Rarotongan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2004
Posts: 282
From: Now, Ocala Florida
Posted: 2006-10-03 8:29 pm   Permalink

I recently tried the Zula #1 on the bottom of the strong side of the drink menu,and it was fantastic! I used to live in South Florida and frequented the Mai Kai quite a bit and had always been curious about this drink.I was just down to visit my Mom over the Labor Day Weekend last month,and The Mai Kai was a must on my list of to do's while I was there. I reversed engineered it at my home bar from the ingredients given to my by the kind bar maid, and it turned out very very close, almost a perfect match. Here is my recipe that will give you the same results.

Zula #1 from the Mai Kai

1oz fresh squeezed lime juie
3 oz fresh squeezed OJ
3 oz pinapple juice
1 and 1 half oz of white rum(I use Cruzan)
1 and 1 half oz of dark rum (I used Myers)
1tsp of Pernod(You have to adjust to taste, as the Mai Kai's version was licoricey tasting but not too much)
1 0z passion fruit syrup(I use Trader Vic's)

This drink is served in a tall frosted collins glass at the Mai Kai, I use a clear larger collins as the Mai Kai's was a rather small serving and I am a big guy, so I adjusted the recipe to make a larger, healthier serving. I always at least double the recipes in the Grog Log, Intoxica, etc..because the servings are always too small for my liking.
"Want a beer?'"...."It's 7:00 in the morning!"...."Scotch?"...."Not during working hours."

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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1465
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2012-03-05 09:27 am   Permalink

Yes, I know. Old Mai-Kai cocktail threads never die. They're just resurrected by Hayward. Hopefully this will add to the discussion and appreciation of the Zula (above). That's No. 1 (left) and the more obscure No. 2.

I took The Ragin' Rarotongan's recipe and tweaked it a bit to come up with something pretty close to the real deal. Let me know if anyone has any other suggestions ...

Zula is our 40th Mai-Kai cocktail review ...

Events, music, art, cocktails, culture

The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Dec 18, 2011
Posts: 47
Posted: 2012-03-05 1:50 pm   Permalink

I was wondering. Could it be that Zula is a descendand of Penang Afrididi? Since there was Penang Afrididi #1 and #2, as there is for Zula. And the flavor-profile seems to be very similar too.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 29, 2004
Posts: 184
From: Command Records International HQ
Posted: 2012-03-05 2:23 pm   Permalink


On 2012-03-05 13:50, mamelukkikala wrote:
I was wondering. Could it be that Zula is a descendand of Penang Afrididi? Since there was Penang Afrididi #1 and #2, as there is for Zula. And the flavor-profile seems to be very similar too.

That's exactly what I'm thinking

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