On Kauai, you can find roadside stands offering ice cold coconut, gourmet restaurants with views of the ocean and dives that embrace both the casualness of the island and the variety of fresh food. Eating in Kauai is a vacation in itself, and there are many opportunities to experience Hawaiian cuisine. Fresh island-grown ingredients are favored on Kauai, and many restaurants change the menu weekly, and even daily, to take advantage of the freshest food available.
Coconuts, pineapples, mangoes and bananas grow along roads and in backyards and are often used in marinades, sauces and salsas. Fruit salads are common with most meals and in some cases you can actually see the fruit ripening on a ledge or windowsill. Fresh fish like ahi, akule, ono, aku, shutome is brought in from the sea daily to be macadamia nut crusted, panko rolled, broiled and sautéed. Some of the most famous food featured on the island comes out during a luau. Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures combine, offering an island flair featuring laulau (pork and fish steamed in taro leaves), Kalua pig (pork cooked in an underground oven) and poi (a Hawaiian staple made from taro). In diners, eat like a local by ordering a plate lunch served with two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad and an entrée or the loco moco, a hamburger patty topped with gravy and an egg. Desserts are a thrill on the island and many are complimented by the tangy taste of pineapple and the smooth taste of coconut. Others, like shave ice, becomes as unique as the person ordering. Literally shaved from a large block of ice, the treat is topped with flavored syrups – pick one, two, three or more and dig in. Or, ask for ice cream on the bottom. Drinks on the island are the perfect beginning or end to a meal. Try a mai tai (a really great mai tai should be sipped overlooking the ocean at Scotty’s Beachside BBQ in Kapaa) or sip on an golden ale from Keoki Brewing Company.