This is part 4 of my 4-installment Oahu food crawl:
1 – An amazing breakfast at Leonard’s Hawaii
2 – Following in the Footsteps of Fieri
3 – Best dessert ever at The Dole Plantation (and an unscheduled fruit stand)
4 – It’s all worth is at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
So, by now we were nearing capacity and, honestly, the thought of more food (no matter how awesome it was) wasn’t really firing our rockets. However, there was one more North Shore classic that I really wanted to try. Dane agreed, and the girls were in an unresponsive coma-like state, so we pulled off the highway into a roped-off field and walked over to a grimy, noisy, graffiti-covered panel truck, saddled against a picnic shelter and a tiny outdoor “market.”
This was the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck of which I had read so much about, and I was struck by the dichotomy of the less-than-inspiring visuals and the heavenly aromas that clung to the surrounding area like a garlic-butter fog.
Let’s get one things straight, yes this place is kind of a tourist trap and, at $13 a plate, I was not sure what to expect. Honestly, if this truck had been parked in Downtown Portland…I wouldn’t have bought so much as a hot dog.
Lemme tell you – it was all worth it!
Luckily, this time were were all so full that we actually did split one entrees between the four of us. That being said, the food and atmosphere is totally worth the overpriced shrimp and, while not the friendliest service I’ve ever gotten, it was, without a doubt, some of the best shrimp scampi ever.
Big white shrimp…steamy, cooked to plump, tender perfection (ie: not rubbery), and mounded in a thick blanket of sauteed minced garlic and butter. There was the obligatory mound of white rice, also doused in the butter and garlic manna, and a thick wedge of fresh lemon. Each plate held 12 shell-on shrimp and 2 scoops of sticky rice. Keeping the shells on the shrimp is really big part of the secret of really great, juicy, scampi – as the shrimp’s juices are trapped inside and essentially boil the shrimp it its own tasty broth. Sure, it’s a little more work to eat, but I actually enjoy the tactile “hands-on” aspect of it, and the fact that it slows you down enough to really taste and feel what you’re eating.
By the time we’d finished, it was getting a little hot and crowded in the picnic area, and our sated senses were ready to get out of the all-encompassing (but delicious) aroma of cooking seafood, so we wiped our sticky fingers, bussed our table, and headed for the car.
Besides, we had to hurry…we were meeting Dane’s brother for dinner in less than an hour.
North Shore Shrimp
1/2 gal. water
1/4 cup garlic powder
1 Tbs cayenne powder
2 lbs. shell-on black Tiger shrimp
1/2 cup butter, to cook & dip in
5 Tbs. garlic, chopped
2 lemons, quartered
Bring water to boil, add garlic powder & cayenne.
Drop in shrimp, return to boil, drain.
In sauté pan, heat butter & chopped garlic.
Sauté shrimp until golden brown,
Serve w/ rice, lemon, & more garlic butter
So…that’s it, the end of the official Oahu Food Crawl 2011…though we enjoyed many more wonderful meals on both Oahu and Kauai (more on those soon.) Next time you’re on the island, make sure to hit some of these classics.
If you’re up for it, make it a road trip, like we did. You won’t regret it!