Kauai has an incredible food scene with a wide variety of options for all types of diners. From high end elegant dining to local favorites, there is something for everyone.
One of the best things to try on the island is Loco Moco, which consists of a hamburger patty with eggs over rice. It’s a Hawaiian favorite that you’ll want to order for every meal!
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Poke is a Hawaiian dish that has become incredibly popular across the globe. In Hawaii, poke consists of raw ahi (tuna) mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions.
Today, poke is served at sushi bars and fast food restaurants. It can also be made at home with fresh fish.
Many people don’t know that poke is actually a traditional Hawaiian dish that is eaten throughout the islands. It has evolved a lot since its beginnings in pre-contact times.
It started out as a way for Native Hawaiians to prepare and enjoy freshly caught fish. It was traditionally massaged with sea salt, inamona and crushed limu kohu or kukui nuts.
There are many different variations of poke, but they all share a common flavor profile. In Hawaii, poke can be served over rice or tossed in a bowl with other toppings.
There are plenty of poke shops around the Island. Some even double as a grocery store or resemble mini fish markets.
Lomi lomi, meaning massage in Hawaiian, is an ancient Polynesian healing art rooted in Huna, a powerful, yet subtle, spiritual philosophy. It is a holistic approach to bodywork that facilitates healing on all levels of the mind, body and spirit.
Illness is the result of stress and tension on the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level, which blocks energy movement. When you receive lomi lomi your energy flow is unblocked, stress and tension is relieved, blood and lymph are aided and the elimination of wastes and toxins is stimulated.
This is an experience that can be deeply transforming for many who undergo it. It can also bring a sense of harmony into your life, bringing you into a more balanced state physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Auntie Margaret was a world renowned lomi master, whose teachings infused love and aloha into all she worked with. She passed her knowledge on to others in the 1970s, making lomi lomi available to people everywhere.
Coconut shrimp are a delicious appetizer with classic coconut flavor and a super crispy crust. They are always a crowd pleaser!
To make these delicious shrimp, dredge each shrimp in flour, dip them in an egg and coat them with a mixture of shredded coconut and Panko breadcrumbs. It’s easy to make and a great snack for parties or dinner.
You can serve them with a variety of dipping sauces, including Thai sweet chili sauce and plum sauce. Or you can add a little mayonnaise to create a creamy, fruity dipping sauce.
The best places to eat in Kauai are all about fresh and local ingredients, whether you’re dining in a beachfront restaurant or at a roadside stand. The island’s regional cuisine features Hawaiian-grown foods and unique fish, tako (octopus), oxtail and vegetarian options.
Spam musubi is a delicious, easy-to-make snack that’s popular in Hawaii. It’s a great on-the-go meal or snack that’s made with seasoned sushi rice, seaweed (or nori), and a sweet and savory glaze.
This Hawaiian treat was originally inspired by the Japanese onigiri, a rice ball. Local Hawaiians took inspiration from this snack and created their own version using canned meat, which was cheaper, easier to transport, and more shelf stable than fresh meat.
In this recipe, we use caramelized spam and seasoned sushi rice to create the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory. The sweet teriyaki sauce also helps give this dish some extra flavor.
To make this classic musubi, begin by pressing about 1/2 cup of rice into a container lined with plastic wrap or a musubi mold. Sprinkle with furikake seasoning if desired, and place a slice of prepared Spam on top. Then firmly press down. Finally, wrap a strip of nori around the musubi and enjoy!
Kalua pork is one of the most popular dishes served at a traditional Hawaiian luau. It’s a shredded pork dish infused with smoke and salt that is traditionally cooked in an underground oven called an imu.
An imu is a large hole dug into the ground about two to four feet deep lined with very hot rocks and surrounded by layers of vegetation like banana leaves or ti leaves. The pig is then wrapped in the vegetation and slowly cooked for about five hours until it’s tender and juicy.
The resulting kalua pork is fork-tender and bursting with flavor. It’s easy to make at home using an instant pot or a slow cooker with a few simple ingredients.
You can serve this kalua pork with sticky white rice or with lomi tomato and poi salads. It’s also great in quesadillas, nachos, or as part of a sandwich. If you’re looking for a healthier version, you can skip the liquid smoke and use Hawaiian sea salt. This recipe will taste just as good as the traditional kalua pork and you can enjoy it guilt-free.
Malasadas are deep fried dough balls coated in sugar and are one of the best foods in Hawaii. These sweet treats are brought to Kauai from Portugal and are a popular local favorite.
They’re pillowy soft and have a rich eggy flavor that has become a staple of Hawaiian desserts. They’re also often stuffed with sweet fillings, such as coconut-flavored haupia pudding or plain custard.
If you’re looking for a good place to get malasadas on the island, I recommend checking out Leonard’s Bakery. This small bakery serves fresh fried malasadas and you can even sit outside for your meal!
You’ll have to be patient when ordering your malasada at Leonard’s, but it’s worth the wait. They offer a variety of sugars and fillings, and they fry them to order so you know you’re getting a hot one.
The other popular place for malasadas on the island is Kamehameha. They make both traditional and ice cream-stuffed versions. The ice cream ones are especially popular, but the poi malasadas here are the best.
Hula pie, a macadamia nut ice cream pie topped with fudge sauce and whipped cream, is a favorite dessert at many Hawaii restaurants. It is a no-bake dessert that can be made with a store-bought chocolate cookie crust or homemade.
A classic Hawaiian dessert, hula pie was developed long ago at Kimo’s, a sister eatery to Duke’s within the TS Restaurant family (ohana). The dessert consists of macadamia nut ice Cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with fudge sauce, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts.
The recipe for hula pie is easy to make at home, you just need to follow some basic steps. Start by freezing the pie and then spread a homemade chocolate sauce on top.
Then, you can add a dollop of whipped cream to the center of the pie to give it that sway of the hula skirt. This pie is the perfect Hawaiian dessert to share with a group of friends or family members. It is also a great dessert to bring on a vacation!
Fish tacos are one of our favorite meals to make at home. They’re super easy to put together, flavorful and healthy! Seasoned white fish, crunchy cabbage, avocado and the best creamy fish taco sauce combine for a perfect weeknight meal.
A simple blend of chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt gives the fish an amazing flavor. Firm, flaky white fish like cod, halibut or tilapia is perfect for these tacos.
These are an absolute must-have when visiting Kauai! It’s also a great place to stop for a quick dinner after tubing down the mountain or visiting Wailea Falls.
The menu at Merriman’s Fish House is known for a menu that features freshly caught mahimahi and wahoo. This upscale, dinner only establishment is worth a visit! It offers a wide selection of appetizers, dirt-grown salads and rotating main entrees.