Oahu’s north shore is famous for big wave surfing, but another reason to make the drive to “the country” is for the food. Specifically? Shrimp. The road between Kualoa and the famous surf town of Haleiwa is peppered with Crayola bright shrimp trucks and hand-lettered signs — the kind of establishments visitors might hesitate to visit. But if you pull off to the side of the road, you’ll be rewarded with arguably the best shrimp you’ve ever tasted.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (83 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku): Arguably the least attractive of the north shore shrimp establishments, the graffiti-covered truck may also be the most well-known. Pull up a plastic chair under the temporary awning and dig in to the most casual shrimp scampi meal you’ve ever ordered. Service here can be hit or miss, but décor notwithstanding, if you’re traveling Kamehameha Highway, it’s worth a stop.
Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp (56-781 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku): Housed in a vivid red shack (not a truck) Romy’s offers up shrimp they’ve raised themselves. Large prawns doused in butter and garlic require plenty of napkins. The shrimp is excellent — but not fast, as the sign in the window proclaims: This is not a fast food. This is good food, as fast as we can make it. Guests order from an outside window and dine at picnic tables.
Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp (56-777 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku): Shrimp is harvested daily at Fumi’s and in addition to the cooked options, guests can take live shrimp home for dinner. The popular shrimp truck offers nearly a dozen different preparations — the deep-fried coconut shrimp is a personal favorite. Demand for Fumi’s shrimp led them to expand into a larger, more permanent structure, but just a few hundred yards away, the original truck is still in operation.
Accommodations on Oahu’s north shore are minimal, but you will find the pricey Turtle Bay Resort as well as the quaint Ke Iki Bungalows nearby. Frugal travelers may prefer to stay in Waikiki at bargain hotels like Park Shore Waikiki or Aqua Waikiki Pearl.