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Coast of Kauai

Hawaii

Resort Gems to Food Trucks: Dining on Kauai

By: Heather Lalley

Tor Johnson/Hawaii Tourism Authority
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    Hawaii

Work up an appetite hiking the canyon, then dig in!

The lush Hawaiian island of Kauai is a natural paradise best known for Waimea Canyon State Park, with its breathtaking vistas and miles of hiking trails. But the dining scene here is more than you might expect. Vibrant, local flavors are everywhere, from upscale resort restaurants to food trucks — nearly all of which feature island-grown (and island-caught) ingredients.

Fine dining

Kauai is rich with upscale resorts that boast outstanding onsite restaurants. Reserve a table at the elegant Kauai Grill at the St. Regis at Princeville to indulge in a succulent whole Kona lobster. Sit oceanside at Oasis on the Beach at the Outrigger Waipouli, where 90 percent of menu ingredients come from local farms. Or, dine at Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa. The chef pairs local catches with locally grown produce — imagine seared snapper or roasted lobster alongside sweet onion or purple sweet potatoes.

At Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, savor the catch-of-the-day with locally grown produce.

At Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, savor the catch-of-the-day with locally grown produce.
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Casual fare

Casual restaurants are equally committed to the farm-to-table movement on Kauai. At Merriman’s Fish House, only the freshest products are used, at least 90% of which are locally grown or caught using only sustainable methods. Share a pizza topped with roasted Hawaiian mushrooms, or have some macadamia-crusted mahi mahi with a side of sweet corn and jalapeño whipped potatoes.

Sip sangria sweetened with island fruits such as lychee and mango when you're in Kauai

Sip sangria sweetened with island fruits such as lychee and mango when you're in Kauai
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Tor Johnson/Hawaii Tourism Authority
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Food tour

Arrange a Tasting Kauai Food Tour to sample more of the island’s exotic produce. Various tours cover Kauai’s North Shore, South Shore, Royal Coconut Coast and farmers markets. Each tour lasts several hours and includes multiple stops for tastings, as well as conversations with island food producers. At the end of your tour, you’ll be given time to shop for local delights including dried fruit, organic goat cheese and macadamia nuts.

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Mobile food

At any point in your Kauai itinerary, grab a snack from one of the many food carts or trucks dotting the island. On the island’s North Shore, don’t miss Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. This roadside lunch wagon is connected to a sixth-generation taro farming family that makes sweet smoothies, creamy hummus and traditional plate lunches. Line up with the locals for barbecued pork from The Green Pig truck. For a sweet finish, cool off with a creamy, refreshing scoop from Yamato’s Ice Cream truck, serving inventive local flavors such as Kunana Dairy Goat Cheese, Moloaa Bay Coffee and Roasted Pine Nut & Olive Oil.

Haraguchi Rice Mill and Taro Farm have been tended by the same family for six generations. Tour the mill and farm, then stop for lunch at the family's lunch wagon, Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.

Haraguchi Rice Mill and Taro Farm have been tended by the same family for six generations. Tour the mill and farm, then stop for lunch at the family's lunch wagon, Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.
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