Oahu’s Shrimp Shacks
While flying from the mainland to Hawaii and chatting with the the woman seated next to me on the plane, she asked, “Have you ever been to one of the roadside shrimp shacks yet?”
“No,” I replied. “What’s so special about them?”
“Oh, you simply must go! The food is just amazing!” she exclaimed.
In fact, she was so excited about the food she pulled out her iPhone and showed me pictures from the last time she visited the island and went to a shrimp shack along the North Shore. (She’s an airline stewardess for Virgin America, and frequently flies standby to Hawaii for quick weekend holidays.)
Oahu’s North Shore shrimp shacks can be compared to the infamous food carts in Portland. They are abundant, filled with fresh food (the shrimp are grown locally at the shrimp farms on the North Shore), and always busy. In fact, while driving along the Kamehameha Highway from the North Shore towards Kailua, there are stretches of road where all you see is one shrimp shack after another. Although they look a bit seedy, I think this is simply part of their rustic charm.
To see what all the hype was about, I figured it was time to give one of these shacks a try. My sister, Katie, was recently in town for a long weekend visit, and she, Pete and I were all game to try the notorious fare. We ended up going to Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Shack and shared one meal. (Note: The serving sizes are HUGE.) A common plate consists of shrimp (typically garlic and butter flavored), a scoop of rice, and either a side salad or macaroni salad; our cost $12, which I think is pretty standard.
Want to know one of the neatest things about this place? The outdoor hand-washing station! After eating the shrimp with your fingers, you could simply walk to the sink and clean up. Overall, I can see the appeal of these little shacks — they’re readily available after spending a day at the beach, and the food is simple and yummy.
Image credits: Jet Set With Mary