Hanalei Heaven


I’ve been to several of the Hawaiian Islands, but Kauai is in a league of its own.  Last month my husband and I got the joy of experiencing the island, and of course its food.  We made a mission out of finding the “best of” spots for food during our entire trip.  Here’s a run-down of places and dishes that made our favorites list:

Our favorite “Hawaiian Plate” establishment, where they serve traditional lau lau, kalua pork and poke to-go, was on the south side of the island.  Located in the small town of Koloa, on the end of the street you’ll find Koloa Fish Market .

I didn’t think anything could beat mai tais on vacation, until I tried the Lavender Pina Colada at the Plantation Gardens.  I must also give a shout-out to their curry-coconut seafood stew. Yum.

We ate so much on our trip that by the time we dined at The Beach House, which is known as a locals spot for ocean-front special occasion dinners, all I wanted was a salad.  The Beach House menu is so much more than salads, but the watermelon salad holds its own: it includes caramelized macadamia nuts. Enough said.

For fresh fish you must go to the fish market found in Hanalei’s Dolphin Center.  It’s a small fish counter right on the water, which can usually be identified by the line of customers out the door waiting to get their hands on that morning’s catch.  We stopped here several times throughout our trip and tried different fish, sashimi-style!  They even have wasabi and soy-sauce packs to go, making it easy to feast on the fresh fish at home or on a beach picnic.

I found true food heaven in Hanalei.  A small town (population of about 500), Hanalei is home to many shops and restaurant, and the best shaved ice truck in the world!  Yes, the world.  Hands down.  Here’s what they do at Wishing Well Shaved Ice:  scoop of macadamia nut ice cream, topped with hand-shaved ice (off the block – old school!), then they add your choice of flavored syrups.  Ask for a “snow cap” which means they drizzle the entire thing in condensed milk.  As you eat the cold treat it gets better and better – the ice and sweet syrups melt with the ice cream and condensed milk to create a gooey, sweet, creamy treat.  We ordered one every time we drove by the Wishing Well truck.

sahved ice

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Ashlee Gadd | Jul 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    My hubby and I are heading to Kauai in four weeks– thanks for the good tips, that wishing well shaved ice looks delish!

  • North Shore Kauai | Dec 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    You definitely hit some good spots ….

    ~ Aloha