Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shrimp Trucks

Shrimp trucks are a staple food in Oahu.  Most of the shrimp trucks are on the north shore and are located near the town of Kahuku, which is a well-known shrimp aquaculture area.  You can also find shrimp for sale in several other places on the north shore along the road between Kualoa and Hale'iwa (the main town where you'll find Cholo's and Matsumoto's).  Unfortunately, when I was up there last week, I didn't get a chance to stop by and sample these famous delicacies.  However, there are a couple other food trucks in Waikiki.  Since I have heard so much about these trucks, I decided to risk the tourist trap and give it a chance.  I'll be sure to write about the "real deal" when I make it back to the north shore.

There are 3 trucks in Waikiki just off the main strip of resorts and the end of Kuhio Street (street named for the former prince).  One of the trucks does Mexican, another does steaks, and only one focuses on shrimp and seafood. Shrimp plates are ordered at the windows of these shrimp trucks, and are usually served with two scoops of rice, and sometimes macaroni salad, a green salad, pineapple slices, and/or a lemon slice. They have several shrimp options, but the most popular plates have garlic, lemon butter, hot and spicy, sweet and spicy, or a soy-based sauce. We got garlic and lemon butter.  They cost about $12-$13 per plate.  The shrimp served at these tricks is good, but it is also unpeeled and unveined, thus very messy to eat.  Be sure pick up plenty of napkins. The shrimp trucks in Waikiki have covered picnic tables where you can eat, which is a plus.  A lot of the trucks on the north shore don't always have them so you have to eat and walk (or sit on a curb).

So here's the review:  We tried "Blue Water Shrimp."  This is one of the newest shrimp trucks on the island (both on the north shore and in Waikiki), but the only option in Waikiki.  The shrimp is very good, but it's not gonna leave you in a heroin-type fit of withdrawal if you don't get a regular intake.  The sauce was absolutely amazing, though.  They include plenty of fairly typical white rice that, along with the sauce, went nicely with the 6 pieces of decently-size shrimp you get.  There is also a small, but not terrible-tasting piece of corn on the cob.  Overall, I'd have to say I was not very impressed, especially because of the cost.  I fail to see how you can sell seafood out of the back of a truck, give me only a small handful of "okay" shrimp and rice that I even have to peel myself, and then have the audacity to charge me $13!  No thanks.  Especially since shrimp is so plentiful here, I can't justify making these trucks a regular choice.

I have not given up on the idea of shrimp trucks, though.  I am really looking forward to trying Giovani's, which is only on the north shore.  Giovanni's graffiti-covered white shrimp truck is the oldest and one of the best known shrimp trucks on Oahu's north shore. They usually park in Kahuku and Hale'iwa. They are most famous for their garlic shrimp that has large chunks of garlic in the sauce, but they also offer lemon butter and spicy sauces.

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