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Must-Try Foods on Kauai, Hawaii

Updated on March 28, 2012

If you're planning a trip to Kauai, here are some of the many local specialties that are a must-try.

A markerHanamaulu Cafe -
3-4291 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, HI 96766, USA
get directions

Hanamaulu Cafe Fried Ginger Chicken

Many restaurants can claim to have the best fried chicken, but not many can claim to have the best Fried Ginger Chicken, a dish that is on the menu of Hanamaulu Cafe - a mainstay of Kauai for over 40 years.

Golden pieces of fried chicken - extra crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, are delectable, with just a hint of ginger.

Even those averse to the sometimes powerful flavor of ginger may delight in the tasty morsels of Hanamaulu Cafe's Fried Ginger Chicken.

A popular spot for take-out and family dinners, the Fried Ginger Chicken is great by itself or can complement a meal of other local specialties served at the restaurant, such as fried noodles and fried shrimp.

Hanamaulu Cafe: 3-4291 Kuhio Highway, Lihue, HI 96766; 808-245-2511

A markerHamura Saimin -
2956 Kress St, Lihue, HI 96766, USA
get directions

Hamura Saimin Special Saimin

Step into Hamura Saimin (usually after waiting in line for several minutes), take a seat right next to other tourists or Kauai locals on the long winding table, order the Special Saimin, and you'll understand why Hamura Saimin is a must-try for any visitor.

The Special Saimin comes topped with egg, won ton, kamaboko, and other garnishes.

It makes a hearty meal in itself, but if you think you'll still have room after finishing a bowl of the Special Saimin (or even if you think you won't have room), do as the locals do and order a BBQ Beef or Chicken stick on the side.

Hamura Saimin: 2956 Kress Street Lihue, HI 96766; 808-245-3271

Lappert's Hawaii Kauai Pie Ice Cream

Although Lappert's Ice Cream can be found in California and Nevada, Lappert's Hawaii Ice Cream is made fresh daily in Kauai, whereas the ice cream served on the mainland is made in California.

Using only the freshest and finest ingredients, it's no wonder that the Kauai Pie Ice Cream is one of the most popular flavors that Lappert's has to offer.

Indulge yourself with a Waffle Cone full of this premium specialty ice cream - Kona Coffee Ice Cream intertwined with flakes of coconut, macadamia nuts, vanilla cake crunch, and chocolate fudge, and you'll get a taste of Hawaii in just about every single bite.

Less adventurous types can opt for the Chocolate, Mint Chip, or Vanilla Bean varieties, but why settle for a flavor you can get just about anywhere else?

Go ahead and take a bite of that Kauai Pie!

Lappert's Hawaii: Various locations on Kauai.

Kauai Breadstick Co. Breadsticks

Kauai Breadstick Co. Breadsticks can be found at various retailers on Kauai.

What makes these breadsticks so special?

Many say it's the `Alaea Sea Salt - a type of sea salt that has been used by Hawaiians for many, many years for medicinal purposes.

Whether you're craving something sweet, spicy, or savory, Kauai Breadsticks Co. offers a variety of flavors, such as Cinnamon, Chili Pepper, and Maui Onion, to suit your taste buds.

The breadsticks are terrific on their own or dipped in local sauces or dressings, and they are ideal for snacking, pupus, or omiyage.

Kauai Breadstick Co.: Available at various retailers on Kauai.

A markerTip Top Motel & Cafe -
3173 Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766, USA
get directions

Tip Top Motel & Cafe Oxtail Soup

$12 for a bowl of soup sounds pricey, but to many Kauai locals, Tip Top Motel & Cafe's Oxtail Soup is definitely worth the price.

At this almost-century old landmark, you'll find guests dining on Oxtail Soup at all hours of the day (yes, for breakfast too!).

And it's not surprising to see a bowl of this local delicacy on almost every table.

Tender oxtail meat (beef) is served in a clear broth with garnishes, and dipped into a sauce of shoyu, ginger, and parsley.

For those with smaller appetities, a half portion is available, but fair warning - you may regret not getting the regular-sized bowl after a taste of Tip Top's famous soup.

Tip Top Motel & Cafe: 3173 Akahi Street, Lihue, HI 96766; 808-245-2333


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    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 5 years ago

      All your foodie hubs are absolutely mouthwatering! I'm so jealous of you living in such a paradise :)

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Rusticliving - sorry about your ex-husband. Hope you get to visit again one day and enjoy that saimin!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Aloha Hawaiiheart!

      You sure cause me to miss my home on Kauai. You have mentioned every place my ex-husband (now deceased) and I used to eat at (at least once a week) What I wouldn't give to have a deluxe saimin right now! His all time favorite place (besides his mom's) was Tip Top Cafe and have a big bowl of Oxtail soup (sometimes tripe). Thanks for letting me walk down memory lane!

      Mahalo nui,

      Kauai girl at heart -Lisa