When it comes to looking for a place to stay, Airbnb is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s great finding reasonable places to stay while traveling but did you know that Airbnb now offers “experiences” and restaurant reservations as well? Today, we are focusing on an Airbnb experience that we recently participated in.
WHAT IS AN AIRBNB?
If you are not familiar with Airbnb, it’s an online service that helps members arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays. Airbnb is revolutionary as just about any place with an extra room can be turned into hosting a guest. Average people, even families, can rent out accommodation through Airbnb and help earn a little side income or can encompass the full entrepreneur-multiple-property-rental route. Renting out a stranger’s home really will feel like a home away from home. All our experiences with Airbnb have been phenomenal and its service is unparalleled when it comes to booking and hosting. (Use this link to get $40 off your first airbnb stay)
With Airbnb continuously growing, they are now offering services such as restaurant reservations and experiences. These experiences are activities designed and led by inspiring locals. “They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s unique world. It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills, or expertise without needing an extra room.”
AIRBNB EXPERIENCE ON OAHU
For our recent Airbnb experience, we prepared Polynesian food in a traditional Polynesian fire pit with a native from Samoa, Creasepaul. This is a once in a lifestyle experience that we truly enjoyed. This specific Airbnb experience takes place inside the Polynesian Cultural Center from 9am-12pm in the Samoa village. The rest of the Polynesian Cultural Center does not open to the public until 12 pm which makes it a very private experience before the crowds form like at a theme park.
In Polynesia, the kitchen is where the fire is and as far as basic necessities for surviving, fire is the most important aspect. Fire provides warmth, a deterrent for predators and enemies, and a tool for cooking. As we began our PCC tour, we immediately began to prepare the fire and was told that is the timer. The entire meal preparation is centered around the fire pit.
The fire was started using Wild Hibiscus embers, placed inside a dry coconut husk, then placed into the center with dried wood as the fuel. Our Samoan guide, Creasepaul, taught us how to start the fire using wild hibiscus by rubbing it together (friction). It was our first time actually starting a fire with our own hands and took a lot more effort than our guide made it look. Although, the reward of knowing we can easily start a fire with surrounding plants is a highlight of this experience.
Tip: It is hands on. Wear suitable clothing (gym attire). You will be close to heat and with the Hawaiian humidity, can just about guarantee you’ll be sweating.
After the fire held a steady burn, we (four of us guests) quickly began preparing the food. The ladies used a handcrafted wooded tool to peel bananas while the men used a deliberate sharpened coconut shell to skin and prepare breadfruit and taro.
From here, we prepped one of favorite pieces of the meal: Palusami. To begin, we separated and cleaned the taro leaves then filled it up with coconut milk (produced on site), mixed with cut up sweet onion and a dash of salt. Thrilling to make it and even more exciting to eat your own creation. I was happily surprised by how it tasted after retrieving it from the fire.
These little leaf cups were then wrapped in foil and placed on top of the fire (oven at this point). After preparing all the food, the next step was to cook it all! We placed the food precisely in the best areas, then positioned hot rocks on top and then blanketed the entire fire with leaves and blankets to really get the steam going. The food cooks in a very clean and most natural way.
While the food cooked for a few hours, Creasepaul taught us how to make our own plates using coconut-leaf! He even made a basket out of the coconut-leaf within minutes! We were all amazed and just took it all in and learned as much as we could in such a short time.Overall, the experience at Polynesian Culture Center is one for the books! It combines the history buff, culture expert, foodie, and satisfies a traditional hunter-gather instinct all in one experience. Being able to see everything from beginning to end, the process of it all made eating it all the more euphoric. Everything was delicious and cooked well together. Especially, the coconut-cream with taro leaves. Nature really can provide it all!
Being able to start an “oven”, prep the food, cook it, make our own plates, and eat is the best experience!!! The hands-on and learning things was an absolutely amazing adventure. Highly recommend for the entire family!