With shows like The Great Food Truck Race and Food Truck Face Off, Kauai has quickly caught on to the nationwide food truck trend. What makes Kauai’s food trucks stand out among the rest? The availability of farm grown produce and fresh caught fish from the ocean varieties incorporated into many food truck’s menus and prepared using a local twist may have something to do with it.
We’ve rounded up the best food trucks from the north, south, east and west that you’ll definitely want to try when visiting Kauai.
Chalupa’s Mexican Food
Finding the authentic flavors of Mexico while vacationing on Kauai is like a fiesta for your taste buds. Chalupa’s Mexican Food truck serves up burritos, tacos, quesadillas and more that has been prepared in traditional Mexican styles and spices. Many of their juicy and succulent meats are braised for hours before being stuffed into a burrito with rice and beans, meaning your mouth will be bursting with flavor.
Kauai Food Truck
While most food trucks zero in on one type of cuisine, the Kauai Food Truck’s menu is as general as its name. Located in the heart of Koloa Town, they offer savory seafood plates, burgers, sandwiches, tacos and traditional island favorites such as roast pork with gravy and loco mocos (a mountain of white rice topped with hamburger, egg, and brown gravy). Their teriyaki butterfish tacos and garlic chili pepper shrimp tacos are so delicious that locals would describe it as “broke da mouth,” yet their prices are reasonable enough where they don’t break the bank. Just watch out for the local chickens clucking around. The minute you turn your back they will steal a bite of your food.
Located in the tiny rural town of Lawai, Kickshaws food truck is run by true food geniuses. Their gourmet meals are so delicious you will feel like you should pay more. What sets them apart from other food trucks is their style of cooking, which is described as science forward food, using sous vide cooking and other avant garde techniques. The Crazy Good Lamb Burger with a house ground leg of lamb that’s been flavored with spices and topped with a Greek yogurt sauce is just as they describe…it’s crazy good! The Titillating P.B.A.T. sandwich is another must try with sous-vide cooked pork belly and the works on a torta roll.
Yamato’s Ice Cream and Japanese Street Food
Remember the ice cream truck that used to circle your neighborhood and hand out average popsicles and ice cream sandwiches? This is not it. Yamato’s combines unique and quirky in-season flavors to create a dessert so savory you will have ice cream euphoria. Our favorite is the classic honey ginger, but seasonal flavors like the pickled mango sorbet or roasted pine nut are definitely worth the try. In addition, Yamato’s Japanese street food will take you back to the streets of Tokyo with its okonomiyaki (Japanbese pancake) and cha-shu pork belly plate. Yamato’s is usually located at the Home Depot in Lihue Monday through Friday and they also travel to different locations and events.
Kikuchi’s Steam Bun Sandwiches
Homemade steamed buns that are airy, light, and filled with smoked pulled pork or karaage chicken and sushi sandwiches…need we say more? Kikuchi’s Steam Bun Sandwiches can be found parked in a little lot in Nawiliwili, across the beautiful Kalapaki Bay. The best way to enjoy Kikuchi’s is by taking a walk to the seawall overlooking Kalapaki Bay and feeling the cool sea breezes on your face while you indulge in its deliciousness.
Little Greek Town
After you work up an appetite taking a bike ride on Kauai’s oceanfront bicycle path, stop for lunch at the Little Greek Town food truck in Kapaa. Seaside picnic tables allow you to enjoy the view while you feast on lamb and beef Gyro with tomato, onion and tzatziki or the falafel plate served with pita bread, rice and horiatiki salad. Save room for their light and flaky baklava dessert. It’s worth it.
Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.
When in Hawaii, trying Hawaiian food is a must on the to-do list. This little food is truck located in Hanalei Town and also at the Kauai Community College weekly farmer’s market , and is operated by a multi-generational family who has been farming taro in Hanalei Valley for many years. Once their taro is harvested from their fields, it is then incorporated into their menu. Poi, which is often labeled by visitors as pasty and tasteless, becomes a flavorable treat when topped with Kalua Pig (slow roasted) and salted lomi lomi salmon. The taro is also ground into a smoothie base and blended with tropical fruits. You will also want to try the taro macadamia nut mochi that has just the right amount of chewy sweetness.
Tucked away in Hanalei Town is a food truck that offers grilled sandwiches that are far from average. In fact, they are Trucking Delicious. Here’s the reason why this truck is a must stop on your trip to Kauai. The Lilis Cristo sandwich has turkey, swiss and chedder cheese dipped in lilikoi french toast batter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Need we say more? Finish your meal off with coconut limeade mocktail and ube ice cream with waffle sandwich. Next stop is Hanalei Bay!
With no shortage of food trucks on Kauai, you can easily eat your way through Kauai with a stop at a food truck in every town. There is plenty of outdoor adventure -from surfing, kayaking or hiking – to keep you from feeling guilty about stopping at that one last truck to discover another tasty Kauai treat.