About an hour’s drive from the resort hotels in Waikiki, a journey to the North Shore shrimp trucks is always a must-do. The wait for plates can be notoriously long (up to an hour and a half) at some of the places. Prepared for a wait, we come stocked with a bottle of bourbon to spike our Cokes (tip #1: BYOB since they do not sell alcohol). Beer or wine could work too but that would involve a cooler or glasses.
Romy’s Kahuku Shrimp is not really a truck but a red shack that fronts their murky shrimp/prawn pond. They claim that shrimps and prawns are harvested everyday. We tried to order the raw shrimp plate but we were told that all shrimp were ‘market size’ and they only serve the smaller shrimp raw (this must be a rare item since we were told the same thing in past visits).
Romy’s garlic and butter sautéed shrimps are served over rice with a spicy shoyu dipping sauce. Just enough of the shrimp head is left on the body for an extra tasty treat. The rice needed more flavor; so next time, we’ll have to order an extra garlic butter sauce (tip #2):
We waited about 20 minutes for our plates, which is shorter than usual, even with a bus load of Japanese tourists ahead of us in line. Romy’s will also take phone orders ahead of time if you don’t want to wait (tip #3). Our recollection was that the spicy is very spicy, so we opted for the sweet and medium spicy shrimp which uses the smaller harvested shrimp. The crustaceans are cooked in the sweet sauce and the spicy sauce is served on the side for dipping:
Legend has it that Giovanni’s is the original shrimp truck in the North Shore (there are at least 5 shrimp trucks up there). Known as the “white shrimp truck,” it really looks more gray because of the ever-changing graffiti left behind by visitors:
They offer 3 types of shrimp plates (and a garlic hot dog): scampi (their most popular), spicy, and lemon with butter. We ordered the scampi style shrimp which have been marinated in olive oil and then sautéed with garlic and butter. Surprisingly, there was no wait at all and our scampi came with 2 scoops of rice drizzled with sauce on top:
We may be wrong, but we suspect that these are not local grown shrimp but are very tasty nonetheless. The large shrimps are served de-veined and headless. Because the garlic-butter-oil sauce is so good, we ended up eating most of the shrimp with their shells (and they are soft enough):
Prepare to get messy since you have to eat with your fingers. Romy’s and Giovanni’s do have hand wash stations by the outdoor seating area. The last tip is to bring plenty of cash since these places do not accept credit cards and each plate costs around $13.
We were going to go the Shrimp Shack next (they seem to be getting lots of Food Network love lately), but a very bad traffic jam changed our minds. We turned around and stopped by Ted’s Bakery for a slice of their world famous Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie instead:
The flaky crust was filled with a layer dark chocolate custard cream, then topped with a layer of haupia (coconut pudding) and finally whipped cream. It was a good way to end our Northern adventure:
Note: The BarFlys are vacationing in Hawaii. SF posts will return soon; in the meantime, hope you enjoy these travel-related posts.
Nice post! You are correct that Giovanni’s does not use the fresh farmed raised shrimp from the North Shore. Romy’s, Fumi’s, and Kahuku Shrimp Farms does as they own and operate their own shrimp farms and Giovanni’s does not.
Thanks for taking the time to confirm our suspicion about Giovanni’s RN. We’ll have to hit the other places next time we come back.