Kaua'i Hawaii - A Culinary Delight

31 August 2012

Travel Blogger Emma Gardiner, responsible for She Goes, recently visited Hawaii and discovered an array of delicious cuisine on the island of Kaua'i. Here's a culinary account of her trip.

My brain is firmly located in my abdomen. I not only think with my stomach; I also dream and feel with it. I visited Kaua'i, Hawaii's northernmost island ostensibly for work but that didn't stop me from eating as much local food as was humanly possible.

 Island Tacos

Known more for its rugged Na Pali coastline and the township of Hanalei Bay where Oscar-winning film The Descendants was filmed, Kaua'i should be known for its incredible local food scene. Driving around the island, you can't help but be tempted into colourful roadside shacks, open air restaurants and waterfront bars.

Take Waimea town: in the space of about one city block, you'll find Island Tacos turning out burritos, tacos and enchiladas with fillings like Cajun mahi-mahi, spicy pineapple salsa with a side of black beans and rice. Right opposite is a diner called The Shrimp Shack dishing out prawns deep fried in coconut batter and served with sweet chilli sauce. For the final instalment in this el cheapo, el yummo three-course whistle stop tour, head to Jo-Jo's for a pineapple, coconut, strawberry shaved ice with macadamia icecream on the bottom. There are loads of options – all of which sound crazy – but they taste surprisingly good.

If you are trying to be pure (or trying to recover from overindulging), Living Foods in the south is an excellent place to maintain your dietary equilibrium or stock up on beautiful local produce and gourmet items like  black Hawaiian lava salt. I ordered fish tacos, salad bar and enjoyed very decent barista coffee.

Fortunately, Living Foods provided the perfect light lunch before sitting down to a white tablecloth Pacific Rim dinner at Beach House in Poipu. This bright and airy restaurant looks out over a manicured lawn that leads down to a rocks and beach that are occasionally home to monk seals. With or without aquatic mammals, the view is stunning and the dining room at Beach House is an ideal vantage point for sunset, cocktail firmly in reach.

The final instalment in a perfect Kaua'i food safari is a trip up to Tahiti Nui. It's quite kitsch but it's my kind of bar. With live music performances, a 'house' special Mai Tai, burgers served in plastic baskets and a 1950's tiki charm, the whole place just screams fun.

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