Where to find the best shrimp truck in Honolulu
No dining experience embodies Hawaii quite like the classic shrimp truck. It’s the archetypal local fast food, and no trip to the islands would be complete without sampling some of the delights these restaurants on wheels have to offer.
- December 2017
No dining experience embodies Hawaii quite like the classic shrimp truck. It’s the archetypal local fast food, and no trip to the islands would be complete without sampling some of the delights these restaurants on wheels have to offer. If you’re a food truck fan, why not spend your holiday hunting down the best shrimp truck in Honolulu? To set you off on the right track, here’s our top 5.
The evolution of the shrimp truck
Honolulu’s first shrimp truck, Giovanni’s, opened for business in 1993, and others soon followed. While each truck lends its unique twist to the classic dish, the formula is fairly consistent: fresh, local shrimp, drenched in garlic and melted butter, and accompanied by rice and pasta salads. You can still order from Giovanni’s today, from their permanent site in Kahuku, or from a truck located a little closer to Honolulu. But these days the competition is ferocious, and delicious.
Blue Ocean Seafood & Steak: a little bit of everything
Friendly service, tasty meals and reasonable prices make Blue Ocean Seafood & Steak popular with tourists and locals alike. With a large menu and tables and chairs set up for those who prefer to eat onsite, this oversized shrimp truck also serves chicken and pizzas, as well as much-loved classic shrimp dishes. It’s the perfect place to dine on a warm Hawaiian night and watch the sunset as you devour your meal.
Location: 2449 Kuhio Avenue
Our favourite link: Blue Ocean Seafood & Steak opens in new window
Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Market: garlic shrimp to die for
While it’s not technically a truck, it does boast some of the best shrimp in Honolulu. Based in the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Blue Water started life as a food truck on the big island, and has lost none of its authenticity since relocating.
Enjoy to-die-for shrimp tacos, coconut fried rice boats, and ribs. If you’re keen to sample a little of everything, try the combination plate. Our best tip is to call ahead and order so you don’t have to wait. There’s not a lot of seating available, but that’s OK: just take your meal down to the beach and enjoy it picnic-style.
Location: 2005 Kalia Road
Our favourite link: Blue Water Shrimp opens in new window
Ken’s Kitchen: mouth-watering shrimp in the heart of Waikiki
With four varieties available—all served alongside fluffy rice, salad, and a slice of pineapple—Ken’s is a great place to pick up a quick lunch while hanging out in Waikiki. The Thai basil shrimp is a crowd favourite, but if you’re up for something a little more exotic, there’s also a red curry version.
Of course, they also make a traditional garlic butter shrimp, with many regulars claiming it rivals the celebrated North Shore shrimp trucks. If you’re lucky, you may even be served by Ken himself—undoubtedly one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet, with a real passion for delicious food and customer service.
Location: 2238 Lauula Street
Our favourite link: Ken's Kitchen opens in new window
Gilligan’s Beach Shack: a meal with a view
Freshly prepared shrimp and crispy fries, right on Waikiki beach—what more could you ask for? There’s the classic garlic shrimp, as well as a deep-fried, coconut-battered variety, and they also serve steaks and fish tacos. You can enjoy some of the best beachside fare Waikiki has to offer, while taking in the spectacular scenery and rubbing shoulders with local surfers and tourists. It’s the perfect place to refuel after an exhausting day of hanging ten in the pristine surf.
Location: Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
Our favourite link: Gilligan’s Beach Shack opens in new window
Giovanni’s: the original favourite
While it may be a little outside of Honolulu, we couldn’t leave Giovanni’s off our list. After all, it was the very first shrimp truck on Oahu, and spawned the entire industry.
If you can make it up to Kahuku, you won’t be disappointed. Try the Shrimp Scampi, which has earned Giovanni’s their worldwide reputation as the must-visit for tourists. If you’re feeling adventurous, brave the ‘No Refunds’ hot and spicy shrimp, and see for yourself why the locals say the fiery red sauce ‘hurts so good’.
Location: 56-505 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku
Our favourite link: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck opens in new window