Well that doesn’t sound appetizing. And indeed the origin is not very appetizing. First though, let’s define the term. A pu pu platter is a generously portioned appetizer. It will come with a variety of items like teriyaki skewers, egg rolls, spare ribs and buffalo wings. It is most easily recognizable by the little hibachi grill that adorns the center.
The origin of pu pu is hawaiian and means snail. Snails were once common appetizers and so the word became synonymous with a snack before a meal.
The pu pu platter is common throughout Polynesia, but Americans were introduced to it by the Chinese who borrowed it from the Polynesians.