Teak Tray, about 1965

Tropical hardwoods such as koa, monkeypod, and teak became popular in the 1950s and ’60s as a material for serving bowls, platters, and utensils, as well as for outdoor furniture. This teakwood tray has “Polynesian” decorations, similar to those found on glassware and other serving dishes in tiki and beach bars. This serving ware was designed to hold the Hawaiian, Asian, and Caribbean snacks of a pupu platter (snacks, canapés, appetizers, hors d’oeuvres) served with the mai tais, daiquiris, Singapore Slings, and hurricanes also popular with tiki followers.
Wearing the aloha shirts and muumuus acquired on trips to Hawaii, men and women of the 195’s and later would serve these new foods added to their home repertoires from the tiki bar food (vaguely Asian and Caribbean) made popular by Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s restaurants. The popularity of many of these dishes and drinks, still served in revival tiki bars and in hundreds of Chinese Cantonese restaurants, is indisputable. Baby barbecued pork ribs, shrimp toast, chicken “drumettes,” chicken livers and water chestnuts (rumaki), all sorts of things skewered such as terayaki meat grilled on bamboo sticks, all dunked in “duck” sauce or soy sauce, dumplings (dim sum), vegetable and seafood tempuras, fried shrimp, anything with pineapple, chicken wings, eggrolls, and others came to be in the basic repertoire of American bar food.
Physical Description
teak wood (overall material)
overall: 25 1/8 in x 11 1/8 in x 1 in; 63.8175 cm x 28.2575 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Nanci Edwards
Food Culture
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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