As with every Hawaiian island, Kauai’s cuisine is defined by fresh ingredients, global-inspired flavors and colors so vivid they’re usually reserved for rainbows. Whether it’s fine dining, local plate lunches or just-picked fruit from a roadside stand, fresh is always in season on the island of Kauai.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine—a decades-old cooking movement that focuses on island-grown ingredients—can be sampled at restaurants like Merriman’s Fish House and Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill, where you’ll dine on freshly caught mahimahi, wahoo and other fruits of the sea. In Koloa, Red Salt is another acclaimed, upscale option.
Reserve a night during your trip to feast on kalua pig and taro at an authentic Hawaiian luau, which you can do at several venues from Kapaa to Poipu.
Shave Ice is a distinctly Hawaiian dessert that can be found at stands around the island, while Kauai-based Lappert’s Hawaii ice cream shop is among the island’s favorite ways to stay cool. And be sure to sample fresh produce and locally made food products at Kauai’s Sunshine Markets (the local name for farmers markets), held throughout the island in towns like Lihue and Hanapepe.
Come early and stroll the Plantation's tropical grounds as you enjoy the late afternoon sun or walk through an amazing craft fair and view beautiful creations that are all "Made on Kauai".
Enjoy a garden luau followed by Kauai's most spectacular international pageant at the lagoon amphitheater. The Golden People of Hawaii depicts dances and songs from Polynesia and Asia. Luau's are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Experience Hawaiian history, culture and tradition through vibrant song and dance depicting extraordinary voyages throughout the South Pacific. Engage in interactive cultural activities and feast on fresh island delicacies. Celebrate the spirit of adventure, romance and culture of these islands.
Enjoy an exquisite gathering with an authentic experience of old Hawai'i. As the sun sets, treasure this mesmerizing setting as you indulge in island culinary treats with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Watch as music and dance bring the story of Polynesia to life.
Eat Like a Local
Consisting of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and everything from kalua pork, Korean barbecue, chicken katsu, beef teriyaki, or mahimahi, the plate lunch is a staple of local food.
No matter what island you’re on, grab a shave ice to cool off. These finely shaved snow cones are served with colorful flavors on the top with a choice of ice cream or azuki beans on the bottom.
“Pupu” is the Hawaiian term for appetizer, and every local restaurant in Hawaii offers a wide range of creative pupu platters to dine on, from poke dishes to sushi.
Treat your sweet tooth to a hot malasada (a Portuguese doughnut). Although Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu is popular on Oahu, ask any local and they can tell you their favorite bakeries on each island to find these fresh and tasty treats.
For big appetites, try a “loco moco,” which is a hamburger steak and egg over rice, covered in gravy. You can find loco moco served throughout the islands, but Café 100 in Hilo on the island of Hawaii is said to have originated the name.