Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Best Little Shrimp...on Kauai

We have arrived in paradise!
Savage Shrimp Truck in Kauai...near Poipu/Koloa
A Very Basic Menu :)

A quick drive-by photo

Shrimp Station on Kauai...the contender
Who has the best shrimp on Kauai? There seems to be quite a debate between many of the various food bloggers and "Yelpers" out there.

Before arriving on the island I researched all of the best places to see and restaurants to visit (as I always do prior to traveling). One thing kept coming up in my food searches...the mysterious Savage Shrimp Truck on the south side of the island (in the Poipu and Koloa Town area).

When does the truck arrive? Nobody knows. Where does the truck park? On the side of some unknown road. What time does it stay there until? When the shrimp is gone.

Since I hadn't been on this island before the task of finding this elusive truck seemed daunting...but I was determined. I had read that it was usually found near the round-about on the way to Spouting Horn. Guess where we went the second that we reached the south side of the island? Good old Spouting Horn. The entire way there I had my eyes peeled. No truck to be found. Granted, once we reached the attraction it was beautiful to look at the water "spouting" out of the hole in the rock formation...but all I cared about was finding that darn shrimp truck.

It wasn't until the next day that we were able to lay our hands on that enigmatic food freighter. When we did, it all started to make sense...and become well worth every bit of energy that we used to find it. We started by ordering two coconuts...she proceeded to poke holes in the top with a metal tool...then stuck red straws in the holes for us to drink from. Awesome.

There were 3 styles of shrimp available: Garlic, Bahia, and Grasshoppa. We ordered the first two and were blown away. The two scoops of rice on the plate were swimming in these mouthwatering sauces and the shrimp tasted like they had been marinating in flavor since they were still alive and floating around in the sea. We both licked our plates clean and began feverishly searching for extra cash in order to buy a plate of the third flavor...Grasshoppa. No luck...and no ATM on the side of the road. That's okay...my hunger had been satiated for the time being.

As we began telling bartenders and waiters...basically anyone who would listen to us...about our experience we were urged to try Shrimp Station in Waimea. It was a harrowing search...similar to that of the Savage Truck...but I'm not sure why we had such an issue? We had a GPS and this place had an actual address...ah anyway! We finally found it after seeing the awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon (that's a whole blog entry in itself). This shrimp place was great. They have a wide selection of food...well, wider than Savage...and the shrimp I had was fantastic (Sweet Chili Garlic Shrimp was my fav). I can completely see why there's a debate between the two.

There's just something about pulling over to the side of a dirt road and drinking straight out of a coconut in your car that wins my vote. In all honesty though, I don't think there needs to be a winner. Although they serve shrimp they do things differently. Both worth exploring. When I return to Kauai...and that's a definite...I'll go to both!

*** Ironically enough, after writing this I read that Savage will move to an actual shopping center sometime in 2011. No more truck? Bummer. There is a silver lining though. Open at all times of the day and always to be found.

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