When you are traveling, the true taste of the land is found where the locals eat. Kauai has no dearth of elegant restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines. But the real result of Kauai’s diverse culture is found on the streets.
Kauai boasts of an exhaustive street food menu. From cross-border cuisine to traditional Hawaiian food like plate lunches and shaved ice, you have an endless list to choose from.
There are plenty of food trucks and hole-in-the wall eateries that serve amazing street food in Kauai. While the food is great, the local eateries are also reasonably priced. So you can eat all you want without burning a hole in your pocket.
The following list mostly consists of food trucks, and their best selling dishes. We’ve tried to include all kinds of cuisines to explode your taste buds.
Loco Coco at Waikomo Shave Ice, Koloa
Hawaiian Shave ice is a huge thing in Kauai! It is made with finely crushed ice and topped with syrups. You will find it in almost any corner of the island. But Waikomo uses flavours made of natural fruit purees and organic sugar/honey, resulting in a delicious after taste.
The Loco Coco is their signature dessert and a local favourite too. It is served in a freshly cut coconut bowl adding to its natural taste and uniqueness. When you’re done with the shave ice, you can eat the coconut too!
Waikomo Shave Ice is located within a small plaza and are usually open from 12 pm to 5pm.
Pad Thai at Anattas Thai Street Food, Lihue
This food truck serves authentic Thai food and has outlets in Lihue and Kapaa. Their Pad Thai- a traditional thai dish prepared with noodles, shrimp, cilantro, bean sprouts, peanuts and scrambled eggs- is a must try. The blend is gently tossed with delicious pad thai sauce, which is the heart and soul of the dish. You can replace shrimp with chicken, beef or tofu to suit your liking.
The fried rice, curries, salads and rolls are equally good and might remind you of a time spent in Thailand. Some say it’s even better. Finally, do not leave without trying their iced tea for a well balanced Thai street food experience.
When you land at the airport, you can directly head over to their Lihue outlet for a quick bite.
Steamed Buns at Kikuchi’s, Lihue
When you’re in the Kalapaki beach area, look for a bright red food truck right by the shopping center. This Japanese food truck specializes in steam bun sandwiches- a big bun wrap stuffed with delicious stuffing of your choice. The buns feel extremely light and blend well with the gravy. The sandwiches come with french fries, namasu or potato salads.
Local folks and tourists rave about their pulled pork steam buns. The Ahi wraps and sushi rolls are equally delicious.
Although beverage options are limited, the generous portions and reasonable price more than make up for it.
Ahi Tacos at Al Pastors Tacos, Kapaa
If you’re a sea-food lover, the craving is about to get intense in Kauai. When that happens, head straight to Al Pastors Tacos in Kapaa. This food truck is located on the north end of the town and is accompanied by several other food trucks [Look for the truck with painted surfboard design].
Al Pastors stands out with super fresh servings of Ahi or fish tacos [Ahi means ‘Tuna’ in Hawaiian.] The fish are freshly grilled and explode with flavours with each bite. Do try the garlic shrimp tacos, which is another one of their hot-selling items.
Taro donuts at Holey Grail donuts, Hanalei
Holey Grail began as a Sunday pop-up in Hanalei. Their donuts are not only tasty but also healthy.
While traditional donuts are made with flour, Holey grail uses the Hawaiian superfood ‘Taro’ for the dough. We cannot think of a better way to taste Hawaii’s staple food.
The donuts are perfectly crisp and tasty as they are fried in coconut oil. There are a plethora of vegan options to choose from.
Head over to Holey Grail for a nice breakfast when you’re in the north shore town of Hanalei.
Dairy-free pizza at Scorpacciata Neapolitan Pizza, Kapaa
Remember this Italian food truck if you have an insatiable appetite for pizzas. Scorpacciata specializes in neapolitan or Naples style pizza- a style of pizza made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
The crust deserves a worthy mention for its crispy and chewy combination. You’ll love this space if you have a liking for thin crust pizzas.
All their options are great. But do try the vegan pizza and Wasabi fries for an out of the box experience.
If you’ve got the appetite for more, you can head over to Pono Market nearby for some delicious Poke.
Burritos at Da Crack, Koloa
This Mexican food takeout eatery in Koloa has been changing the way people perceive street food. The food served here is not not only tasty but healthy too. They serve meals with all natural products- no MSG or Trans fatty oils. In place of table salt, Hawaiian Sea salt is used. The fish cooked here is locally caught and served fresh.
If you love Mexican food, give the burritos and tacos a try. Their burrito bowl offers a filling meal and is great value for the price. Vegans can try the veggie burrito, a healthy option that’s made with house made sauce, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, brown rice and beans.
Just go up to the hole in the wall when you’re ready to order. The wait can be long during busy evening hours.
BBQ Bugga at Da Booze Shop, Waimea
This is a take-out only restaurant and not a fast food joint. But Da Booze Shop is the answer when you crave authentic Hawaiian food. You must try the Hawaiian favourites like Loco Moco, Chicken Katsu and plate lunches here.
If you’re looking for the best cheat meal, go for the “BBQ burger”, which is a bun-less barbeque bacon cheeseburger served on a bed of fries or rice.
While heading towards Waimea Canyon, make a quick stop at Da Booze for delicious Hawaiian food.
Loco Moco at Ginas, Waimea
Ginas is another food joint in Waimea that serves tasty Hawaiian cuisine. If you love Hawaiian food, you cannot say no to the delicious Loco Moco served at Ginas. Eggs, rice, gravy and meat are perfectly blended together to form a combination one cannot resist. They also specialize in plate lunches and the food is usually served piping hot.
Looking for an inexpensive option for a brunch in Waimea? Ginas is a no-brainer. Just remember to order half portions of what you normally order as the quantity served is on the higher side.
Poke Bowl at Kauai Poke Company, Lawai
Kauai Poke Company is a sugar plantation family coming together to offer fresh, delicious, Hawaiian food. It specializes in poke bowls, a local fish lovers’ delight which consists of Rice and protein options like tuna, salmon, tofu and many more. The bowl is topped with sauces such as wasabi mayo, eel sauce or dragon eli that form the essence of a poke bowl.
There’s a whole lot of ahi bowl combinations you can try at Kauai Poke Co. Try the Plantation Bowl for a unique tasting experience. You can also go for the other Hawaiian options on their menu. While most eateries are trying to stand out with complicated or fancy looking menus, Kauai Poke Co. is keeping it simple yet fresh and delicious.
If you’re new to poke or dying to get your hands (or mouth!) on a delicious poke bowl, head over to this local food truck on Koloa Rd, Lawai. There’s a small shopping centre nearby and some local vendors too.
If you have an affinity for street food, you’ll spend an unforgettable time in Kauai. Some of these eateries offer vegan and gluten free options on their menu. The servings are usually very generous. So make sure you order accordingly.
This is not an exhaustive list as there are plenty of good eateries in Kauai. Do share your Kauai street food experience with us and let us know if we can add to the list.