What Is a Pupu Platter?

A pu pu platter is tray from an American Chinese restaurant that has spare ribs, chicken wings, chicken fingers, an egg roll and beef teriyaki. A pupu platter sometimes comes with additional food such as crab Rangoon, fried wontons and fried shrimp among others.

The platter or tray often comes with a grill in the middle that is still burning in order to keep the food warm and also to serve as a decoration. The food is usually designed to be eaten by several people and not just a lone patron. For example, many Chinese restaurant have names like “Pupu Platter for Two” to describe how many people it serves because each section of the platter could have several chicken wings, chicken fingers and crab Rangoons. The word “pupu” comes from a Hawaiian phrase describing appetizers. The literal translation of the word is “snail,” but it came to also mean any appetizer including beans and kava, chicken, fish and banana relish. In Hawaiian bars and restaurants where events are taking place, the organizer of the event often lists whether light of heavy pupus are going to be served in order for patrons to make informed decisions about whether to eat a meal ahead of time.