If you’re a foodie who lives life dreaming about your next meal, you should do yourself a solid and jet off to Kauai. Your palate (and Instagram feed) will seriously thank you. Many head to Kauai for the surreal beaches, sherbet-colored sunsets, zip lining, luaus, and an adventure-filled itinerary. Some book a flight to Kauai in hopes of doing a little soul-searching underneath the palms. They experience all of that — in addition to an extremely satisfied palate. To be quite honest, you haven’t been living life right until you’ve tried some of the best food in Kauai, so I’m here to help a girl out.
The culinary scene in Kauai is, to say the very least, out of this world. The presentation of every single dish is always Instagram-ready, too. From poké bowls to shaved ice with fresh fruit juice, you’ll introduce your tastebuds to so many gems along your travels. You may find yourself at a chocolate farm taste-testing cacao beans, homemade chocolate, and seasonal fruit such as Mountain Apple and Longan (Dragon’s Eye). When in Kauai, I highly encourage you to step outside your comfort zone a bit, if you’re game for it. The island offers so many delicious goodies that are calling your name, and you won’t want to leave this magical place with any regrets.
1. Wailua Shave Ice
I fell so in love with everything on this slice of paradise; the food and presentation on the island honestly puts so many foods you’ve tried to shame. This “Love Potion #9” shave ice will speak to your foodie soul on another level.
The coconut foam, fresh strawberries, and roasted coconut flakes on top taste like a tropical oasis in your mouth. Plus, how ‘Grammable and lavish AF does this treat look? It’s waiting for you to snap a pic of it before it changes your life as you know it.
Shave ice is straight perfection after a chill day spent soaking up rays on the sand with your girls, or after an adventurous hike in the mountains. Wailua uses local fruit for all of their flavoring, and when it comes down to decision time, you’ll quite honestly want to order everything on the menu. When in Kauai, I say go for it.
2. A Mai Tai (Or Two) At Merriman’s
It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, and these Mai Tais are ready to get the happiest of hours started. One of my girlfriends and I made a pact to finish each day with a Mai Tai, and it’s safe to say we clinked and conquered them like pros.
Merriman’s Mai Tai holds an extra special place in my heart, because along with rum, freshly-squeezed lime juice, and triple sec, the venue does a straight-up baller move by topping this cocktail off with honey-liliko’i foam. Yum!
3. Poke At Pono Market
If you really want to get a true taste of the island, heading to Pono Market (a quaint spot where you can order sushi, poke bowls, and more to go) will do you (and your palate) some good. Pick your rice, then the type of poke you’d like on top, and you’re all set for a delish lunch that you can take to the beach. Or, post up outside the market on the charming street to enjoy your bowl, then check out some of the local boutiques.
4. Dark Chocolate, Kauai Coffee, And Kahlua Terrine At Oasis On The Beach
Complete with a vibrant flower, absinthe, and almond biscotti, this rich dessert is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. If you’re looking for yummy eats with a side order of breathtaking ocean views, Oasis on the Beach is your main jam. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, because this plate deserves your utmost attention.
5. Pineapple Bread Pudding At Merriman’s
You simply cannot go to Kauai without trying bread pudding from essentially every restaurant you hit up. I can proudly say that I ate bread pudding for breakfast (along with a side of Nutella waffles with coconut syrup, because duh), AND dessert on multiple occasions.
This bread pudding from Merriman’s takes the cake. The toasted macadamia nuts, rum butter sauce, and ice cream will send you off into the sweetest kind of daydream you just won’t want to quit.
6. Poke Bowl With Lobster Salad To Top At The Fish Express
Poke bowls are so big in Kauai, and I truly support the trend. What I loved most about The Fish Express is the variety of toppings they offer for your bowl, including lobster salad and seaweed salad. This kind of lunch is really spectacular if you want to grab something quick (that is still incredibly delish) to fit into your jam-packed itinerary.
7. Crunchy Hawaiian Molten Chocolate Purse At Merriman’s
I’d ditch the designer bag on any given day for this molten chocolate purse. TBH, get me a boyfriend who gifts me solely chocolate purses my entire life, and I’ll be one happy chick.
This dessert will quite honestly make you feel like royalty with the warm molten chocolate, Kauai coffee caramel, and tropical dreams ice cream. I’m in a sugar coma all over again just thinking about it — and am totally here for it.
8. Kauai Shrimp And Ahi Tempura At Tidepools
Ordering sushi is always a clutch move as far as I’m concerned, but especially when you’re in Kauai. My girlfriends dubbed me “The Ahi Queen,” well, because I ate a heck ton of seared ahi. Call me obsessed, but the ahi there is seriously to die for.
9. Apple Banana Spring Roll At Oasis On The Beach
This apple banana spring roll with cinnamon sugar, caramel, and seasonal gelato will melt your heart into so much sugary goodness. With a glass of Kopke white port, this will be the perfect kind of ending to an incredible day. Take in all the views at Oasis on the Beach as the sunset melts into the sea, and you float into a sugar daze.
Check out my published article on Elite Daily.