Food to try in Kauai, Hawaii

Below is a list of restaurants that I compiled based on the various reviews that I read online and also based on my experience. I am sure that I missed a lot of other good restaurants in Kauai, so I will try to update this list as I go.

1. Porky's Kauai (9630 Kanmualii Hwy., Waimea, HI 96796)

This is a food truck serving hot dogs. You can stop by after your hike at Waimea Canyon.

2. Nana's Snack Shack (4-971 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746)
They serve breakfast, sandwiches, ice cream and fruit bowls. One of the things to try is the Pitaya bowl which is full of tropical fruits. It is hard to find, so map the Tiki Tacos to find your way.

3. Makai Sushi (2827 Poipu Rd., Koloa, HI 96756)
This is inside the Kukuiula supermarket and serves Japanese food. One of the things to try is their Gorilla bowl which is a mix of different types of sashimi, avocado and topped with mayo.

4. Chicken in a Barrel (4-1586 Kuhio Hwy. Kapaa, HI 96746)
They served BBQ chicken, ribs and also tacos and burritos.

5. Jojo's shave ice (9734 Kaumualii Hwy., Waimea, HI 96766 & 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei, HI 96714)
Serving shave ice since 1992 where they make their own syrup which has less sugar than commercially made syrup. They also use pure cane sugar 

6. Kauai Bakery (3-2600 Kaumualii Hwy. Lihue, HI 96766) 
Serving Malasadas which is Portuguese doughnuts without a hole. 

7. Hamura Saimin Stand (2956 Kress St. Lihue, HI 96766) 
Serving soft wheat egg noodle soup with spam, egg, etc.

Food to try in Oahu, Hawaii

Below is a list of restaurants that I compiled based on the various reviews that I read online and also based on my experience. I am sure that I missed a lot of other good restaurants in Oahu, so I will try to update this list as I go.

1. Alan Wong's Restaurant (1857 S. King St. #208, Honolulu, HI 96826)
Voted as one of the best restaurants in Honolulu. I made a reservation for this restaurant to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. We ordered the 5 course tasting menu for $85/each, wine is additional cost. The best course that I like was their dessert, The Coconut, which has the haupia sorbet in the coconut shell with tropical fruits and lilikoi sauce. The presentation on the dessert was beautiful and tasted great as well. The service was very good and our waiter was very attentive to us.

2. Diamond Head Market & Grill (3158 Monsarrat Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815)
They serve a variety of American and Hawaiian food. You can drop by after a hike at Diamond Head.

3. Giovanni's Shrimp Truck (66-472 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712)
They served shrimps along with 2 scoops of rice. Do note that it is in the North shore, further away from Waikiki.

4. Helena's Hawaiian Food (1240 N. School St., Honolulu, HI 96817)
They have been serving authentic Hawaiian food for the past 64 years. Some of the items on their menu are poi, kalua pig, short ribs, lomi salmon, etc. Do note that they only accept cash.

5. Leonard's Bakery (933 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816):
They sell Malasadas, which is a Portugese doughnuts without a hole. There also have a mobile truck which is at Waikele Shopping Center (94-894 Lumiaina Street, Waipahu).

There are 3
different coatings : Plain Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar and Li Hing (salted plum favor)
different fillings: Custard, Dobash (chocolate) and Haupia (coconut)

6. Marukame Udon (2310 Kuhio Ave. #124, Honolulu, HI 96815)
They make the udon (Japanese thick noodles) fresh every day at the restaurant. There are different udons, tempura and Musubi that you can choose from. Be aware that there is always a crowd at this restaurant but the line moves pretty fast. The location is also a plus as it is walking distance to the hotels in Waikiki. My kids love the udon and they can easily finish the bowl. Price is very affordable.

7. Musubi Cafe Iyasume (2427 Kuhio Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815)
There are many different locations near Waikiki, the one listed above is in Pacific Monarch Hotel). They served different kinds of Musubi and is voted as one of the best Musubi places.

8. Rainbow Drive-In (3308 Kanaina Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815)
They sell plate lunches which consists of BBQ beef, Mahi Mahi, boneless chicken, etc. They also sell a variety of sandwiches.

9. Sweet Home Cafe (2334 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96826)
They serve Taiwanese hot pot which you can choose from a variety of different broths and cook your food in the broth. There are also different dipping sauces that you can dip your food in after it is cooked. At the end of your meal, they serve complimentary shave ice.

Things to do in Kauai, Hawaii

I have a coworker who goes to Kauai every year and below is a list of things that she suggests me to do in Kauai.

It rains every day at some point, so I suggest rain jackets for everyone.

We arrive in Lihui airport on Friday’s usually and the farmer’s market is nearby and starts at 3PM. Lots of fresh local product which I stock up on the week. If you miss that market, look for others in the local papers. There is usually at least one every day somewhere on the island.
We head to Kapaa, (to the right or north of the airport) where our timeshare is, Kapaa Shores, which is just past the only Safeway Grocery store on the island. We stop at Safeway first and pick up all the weeks necessities for the week. I usually cook breakfast every morning and make sure we have water, beer, soda, snacks, etc. for the week.

If you arrive early in the day before you can check into your hotel, I suggest a visit to the Kauai Coffee Plantation (to the left or south of the airport) which is past the town of Poipu, for a tasting and tour of the grounds. All the coffee tasting is free and the grounds are beautiful. The kids can run around and get some energy out. There’s  iced coffee drinks and ice cream, milkshakes, snacks and great gift shop.

If you keep going past the coffee plantation, you will hit the little town of Ele’ele, which is where Port Allen is. This is the harbor where you board whale watching, fishing, snorkeling, diving and tour boats. All the tour offices are down there so you can sign up for a tour there or anywhere on the island for probably on a cheaper deal. The Napali cliff tours is really something to see. We usually do a dinner sunset cruise along the Napali coast or a snorkeling trip to the Napali coast.

Just past Ele’ele town, is Hanapepe town, not much there except a rope bridge you and kids can walk across the river on. Kinda cool.

If you keep driving past Ele’ele town, the only other things on that side of island are Waimea Canyon. If you chose to drive up there, it is a long drive. 45 minutes of winding road but beautiful views at the top and much, much cooler up there, so bring a jacket and hiking shoes as there are a lot of trails up there.

So back to the north side of island, starting in Kapaa.  In Kapaa, just as you see the old abandon Coconut Grove Hotel, which is fenced and partly demolished by hurricane, that street to the left right away is best place to rent Kayak’s. You can rent two, two seaters for the four of you and explore Secret Falls. You can sign up for a guided tour if you are not sure about going on your own. But this is a great trip. Kayak for about 30 minutes, park the boat, hike for about 30 minutes to a huge waterfall, probably 100’ tall.  Lots of places to sit around the falls and have lunch. If you are on a tour, they will provide lunch for you or you can pack your own sandwiches from Subway and drinks. The Kayak guys give you a dry bag for all your stuff so nothing gets wet like your camera, phone, car keys, sandwiches, etc.  Anyway, have lunch, hike back then kayak back. It’s a full half day of activity.

On that river you will also see on the other side from the Kayak rental, the Smith Family tour boats and Luau grounds. The grounds are beautiful and you can take the boats to see the fern grotto, which is where an Elvis movie was filmed. It’s really pretty but not big.  The luau is ok but not the best one on the island.  The best one is at the Kilohana Plantation. This luau is very good, and a bonus is that there is a rum tasting room on that plantation which S and I hit a couple of times each trip J  There is a train that runs around the plantation with a short tour of the gardens and animals. Kids would like it.

If you drive to the north towards Princeville and Hanalei, Hanalei is my favorite place. There is a really long beach and calm bay for kids to swim in, also a long pier to walk out on or jump off. You can rent paddle boards there and get lessons, which would be fun!  Plus that beach has public showers and restrooms.  Lots of restaurants in Hanalei, we like the Hanalei Gourmet for burgers and beer, and Calypso (I think that is what it is called) which is across the street, great Mahi salad and Pina Colada’s.

If you continue to drive to the end of the road to Ke’e beach, that is where you find the hiking trail up the Napali cliffs. It is a great, great hike. You can go as far as you want or as far as the kids can go then head down. Always easier to go down J Views of the ocean and beach is awesome and we have seen whales spouting from up there.  If you have energy to hike for about 90 minutes you will come to a river with a beautiful beach and if you follow the river up into the mountain for about 30 mins, there is huge tall waterfall but it is a tough hike.

Between Hanalei and Ke’e beach, closer to Ke’e beach is the best place to snorkel on the island. It is called Tunnels and if you can find parking on the right side of the road and walk to the ocean you will see people in the water all over snorkeling. You can rent equipment for a day or a week in town and go snorkeling. It is awesome!

There is lots of stuff to see and do and I also suggest ATV tours, zip line tours, and tubing down the canals.  Have fun! If I think of anything else, I will let you know!

Planning for our Hawaii's trip (Oahu & Kauai)

We have been planning for a family trip to Hawaii with my parents and brother's family in June to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. It's our third time to Oahu, so we decided to add in a new island (Kauai) to our trip since we haven't been there yet.

First, we booked our packages (hotel + flights) to Oahu through Travelocity. Then we booked our intercity flights to Kauai through Hawaiian Airlines and the hotels in Kauai through

Initially, we were planning to stay at Embassy Suites in Waikiki but we changed it to Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort since they offer a free vow renewal ceremony every Tuesday and Friday at 7:45am. For their other hotel, Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, the free vow renewal is every Monday and Thursday. We thought it would be cool to have our vow renewal ceremony at the Waikiki Beach with our family present.

We will be staying at Oahu for 5 days and 4 days at Kauai for a total of 9 days. For Kauai, we really wanted to stay at 2 of their most popular hotels, so we will be staying first at St Regis Princeille Resort which is in the north shore, followed by Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa which is in the Poipu area. I will share my experience of the hotels in a later post.

One thing that I recommend is that before the trip, you should have an idea of what you want to do every day. For me, I plan my activities each day and save it in a word document so that I can refer it during my trip.

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