What to Eat in Kauai
Classic Hawaiian dishes often come in the form of comfort food (don't expect a whole lot of salads) and are typically a unique blend of the many different cultures that have immigrated to Hawaii. One of the best examples of this cultural immersion is reflected in a dish called saimin. What appears to be just plain ramen is actually a combination of Japanese (broth), Chinese (noodles), Filipino (green onions), Portuguese (sausage), Korean (kimchi) and Hawaiian (ham) ingredients. Hamura Saimin in Lihue, situated in southwestern Kauai, is said to have some of the best saimin on the island.
Saimin is just the start of imports with a Hawaiian twist. There's also Spam musubi, which is basically sushi, but instead of fish, the substitute is flavored Spam. If that's a little too unconventional for your liking, try manapua. Manapua resembles traditional Chinese pork buns that are much bigger in size and packed with unconventional fillings, such as sweet potato, barbecue pork or curry chicken, to name a few. For something sweet, sink your teeth into malasada. This dessert was brought over by Portuguese immigrants and is basically a hole-less doughnut coated with sugar and filled with a custard, chocolate or fruit-based filling.
Another tradition is the plate lunch, a robust dish that always consists of two scoops of rice and macaroni salad alongside a serving of meat that could range from kalua pork (the type of meat traditionally served at luaus) to mahi-mahi. Loco moco is the island's version of an English breakfast. But instead of a hodgepodge of meat, there is a slab of teriyaki-flavored beef that sits on a bed of rice and is topped with a fried egg and gravy. If all that sounds a bit too heavy, try huli-huli chicken, a grilled chicken dish coated in a sweet teriyaki marinade.
You also can't leave the island without trying poke, the Hawaiian classic that is currently sweeping the mainland. Poke is marinated, cubed raw fish typically accompanied with rice. Whatever meals you decide to sample in Kauai, be sure to top it all off with flavored shaved ice, Hawaii's unofficial state dessert.
Find the Best Restaurants in Kauai
- #1Porky's Kauai#1 of 17 Places to Eat in WaimeaTripadvisor (760)$ | American, Barbecue, Hawaiian9899 Waimea Road, Waimea, Kauai, HI 96796Read More »
- #1Kauai Juice Co#1 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (198)$ - $$ |4-1384 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1675Read More »
- #1Waikomo Shave Ice#1 of 48 Places to Eat in KoloaTripadvisor (214)$ | Fast Food, Street Food, Hawaiian2827 Poipu Rd, Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756Read More »
- #2Anake's Juice Bar#2 of 48 Places to Eat in KoloaTripadvisor (253)$ | Healthy2827 Poipu Rd Ste B, Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-8553Read More »
- #3Kauai Juice Co#3 of 48 Places to Eat in KoloaTripadvisor (160)$ - $$ |2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr Poipu Shopping Village, Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-9552Read More »
- #1The Fresh Shave#1 of 6 Places to Eat in LawaiTripadvisor (178)$ | Hawaiian3540 Koloa Road, Lawai, Kauai, HI 96765Read More »
- #2Hee Fat General Store#2 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (607)$ | Hawaiian4-1354 Kuhio Hwy Ste 1, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1669Read More »
- #4Makai Sushi#4 of 48 Places to Eat in KoloaTripadvisor (540)$ | Japanese, Seafood, Fast Food, Sushi, Asian, Hawaiian2827 Poipu Rd, Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-8553Read More »
- #1Pink's Creamery#1 of 42 Places to Eat in HanaleiTripadvisor (643)$ | American, Grill, Hawaiian4489 Aku Road #1572 Turn Right Onto Aku Road As Soon As You See Kalypso Resturant. Pink's Will Be on Your Right, Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714Read More »
- #3Wailua Shave Ice - Kauai#3 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (302)$ | Hawaiian4-1306 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1656Read More »
- #1Midnight Bear Breads#1 of 22 Places to Eat in HanapepeTripadvisor (154)$ - $$ | French, European, American3830 Hanapepe Rd, Hanapepe, Kauai, HI 96716Read More »
- #4Imua Coffee Roasters#4 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (127)$ | Cafe440 Aleka Pl Unit 7 Islander Beach Resort, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1420Read More »
- #2Ishihara Market#2 of 17 Places to Eat in WaimeaTripadvisor (475)$ | Hawaiian9894 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai, HI 96796Read More »
- #5Coconut's Fish Cafe#5 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (378)$ - $$ | American, Seafood, Hawaiian4-831 Kuhio Hwy Ste 420-424, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1578Read More »
- #6NOM Kauai#6 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (226)$ | American, Fusion, Street Food4-1101 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-4600Read More »
- #7JO2 Restaurant#7 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (959)$$ | Seafood, Asian, Healthy, Hawaiian4-971 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1553Read More »
- #8Tacos Al Pastor#8 of 117 Places to Eat in KapaaTripadvisor (484)$ | Mexican, Seafood, Fast Food, HawaiianKuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746Read More »
- #5Lappert's Hawaii#5 of 48 Places to Eat in KoloaTripadvisor (1202)$ |4425 Ala Kalanikaumaka Kukuiula Shopping Village, Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756Read More »
- #2Jo Jo's#2 of 42 Places to Eat in HanaleiTripadvisor (408)$ | Hawaiian5-5190 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714Read More »
- #1Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company#1 of 13 Places to Eat in KalaheoTripadvisor (1186)$ - $$ | American, Cafe2-2560 Kaumualii Hwy, Kalaheo, Kauai, HI 96741-8316Read More »
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