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Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp

July 20, 2006

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Every once in a while our family takes advantage of the free Sundays when my mom isn’t sitting Open House, and takes a trip around the island. It is quite fun and while we always drive the same path, passing the same homes and see the same beaches, I actually enjoy being squished up in the car between my dog and sister.

Like any trip, the best part of the day is deciding what to eat. Dining options run aplenty, as we are going around the entire island and perhaps even harder than deciding what to eat is how much to eat! We’ll usually stop off at one or two places for breakfast/lunch and end up with a car full of Ted’s Chocolate Haupia pies, perhaps a Blueberry Custard from SunnySide and a dozen or so deliciously sweet hot and greasy deep fried Poi Mochi Balls. Such is a lazy day in Hawaii.

Where would lunch be today? Well we were on the “boring” stretch of Kamehameha Highway and with the 7am pancake breakfast at Jack’s long forgotten, my dad’s stomach started to growl. And the rule is: when one man’s stomach growls we must all stop to eat.

It looks like a hohum piece deserted piece land, but park your car, turn around, and what do you see?

Lo and behold, it’s a prawn and shrimp shack buzzing with business! The Kahuku portion of Kam Highway is known for having an abundance of shrimp stands, shack, trucks and pretty much anything you can imagine. They all boast, “THE BEST Kahuku Shrimp – LIVE, FRESH!” Who knows who’s actually “The Best,” but until we’ve tried them all I’ve yet to have disagreeable Kahuku Shrimp.

The plate lunch menu is simple and straightforward. You can opt between shrimp or prawns prepared one of five styles ranging from simply steamed or wrapped in thin rice paper and fried. At $11 a plate, it’s more than twice the price of your average loco moco, chicken katsu kine plate lunch, but then you are getting shrimp and prawns…and what the heck, we all deserve the occasional treat.

My mom and I went for the sweet & spicy prawns. These are giant meaty creations, succulent and dripping with juices. We requested to have it extra spicy, and they sure delivered. It came with a side of (cloyingly) sweet and sour sauce, which I thought was unnecessary and detracted from the already seasoned prawns. The shells with its sweet, tangy hot sauce were a joy to suck on and I’ll even admit to eating some of them…

Butter & garlic prawns is a classic pairing and it’s hard to go wrong with many many bits of garlic fried in butter. What then makes the dish memorable is the quality of the prawns, and I know I’ve already said it, but they were not only sweet and tender but huge! Like *that* big! It feels good to know I can justify that $11 :)

We sat at the wooden picnic tables enjoying our lunches alongside both tourists and locals alike. It was a messy, fun lunch, peeling the prawns with our fingers and getting them all sticky and literally finger-licking worthy. We enjoyed watching groups of people who signed up for the “Prawn Fishing” deal – $35 for a plate lunch and an hour of prawn fishing. I didn’t actually see anyone catch a single prawn, but I suppose it’s the experience that counts!

Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp
56-781 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731
(808) 232-2202



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