Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp

Thursday, July 20, 2006 10comments No tags Permalink 0

Every once in a while our family takes advantage of the free Sundays when my mom isn’t sitting Open House, and takes a trip around the island. It is quite fun and while we always drive the same path, passing the same homes and see the same beaches, I actually enjoy being squished up in the car between my dog and sister.

Like any trip, the best part of the day is deciding what to eat. Dining options run aplenty, as we are going around the entire island and perhaps even harder than deciding what to eat is how much to eat! We’ll usually stop off at one or two places for breakfast/lunch and end up with a car full of Ted’s Chocolate Haupia pies, perhaps a Blueberry Custard from SunnySide and a dozen or so deliciously sweet hot and greasy deep fried Poi Mochi Balls. Such is a lazy day in Hawaii.

Where would lunch be today? Well we were on the “boring” stretch of Kamehameha Highway and with the 7am pancake breakfast at Jack’s long forgotten, my dad’s stomach started to growl. And the rule is: when one man’s stomach growls we must all stop to eat.

It looks like a hohum piece deserted piece land, but park your car, turn around, and what do you see?

Lo and behold, it’s a prawn and shrimp shack buzzing with business! The Kahuku portion of Kam Highway is known for having an abundance of shrimp stands, shack, trucks and pretty much anything you can imagine. They all boast, “THE BEST Kahuku Shrimp – LIVE, FRESH!” Who knows who’s actually “The Best,” but until we’ve tried them all I’ve yet to have disagreeable Kahuku Shrimp.

The plate lunch menu is simple and straightforward. You can opt between shrimp or prawns prepared one of five styles ranging from simply steamed or wrapped in thin rice paper and fried. At $11 a plate, it’s more than twice the price of your average loco moco, chicken katsu kine plate lunch, but then you are getting shrimp and prawns…and what the heck, we all deserve the occasional treat.

My mom and I went for the sweet & spicy prawns. These are giant meaty creations, succulent and dripping with juices. We requested to have it extra spicy, and they sure delivered. It came with a side of (cloyingly) sweet and sour sauce, which I thought was unnecessary and detracted from the already seasoned prawns. The shells with its sweet, tangy hot sauce were a joy to suck on and I’ll even admit to eating some of them…

Butter & garlic prawns is a classic pairing and it’s hard to go wrong with many many bits of garlic fried in butter. What then makes the dish memorable is the quality of the prawns, and I know I’ve already said it, but they were not only sweet and tender but huge! Like *that* big! It feels good to know I can justify that $11 :)

We sat at the wooden picnic tables enjoying our lunches alongside both tourists and locals alike. It was a messy, fun lunch, peeling the prawns with our fingers and getting them all sticky and literally finger-licking worthy. We enjoyed watching groups of people who signed up for the “Prawn Fishing” deal – $35 for a plate lunch and an hour of prawn fishing. I didn’t actually see anyone catch a single prawn, but I suppose it’s the experience that counts!

Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp
56-781 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731
(808) 232-2202

  • J. Lo
    July 21, 2006

    I LOVE Romy’s! My a cappella group and I stopped there on our tour around the island. I actually prefer the shrimps to the prawns because you get more for your money. But, still, butter and shrimp….is there anything better? :)

  • anonymous
    July 21, 2006

    WOAHHHH..that looks so good! i was having lunch today, and i had these dinky little shrimp! i feel ripped off now….on that thought, i was sitting with my coworkers at lunch, and i thought of taking another vacation. is it worth visiting hawaii on a long weekend? maybe like fri~monday?and…are there any cheap places to crash???

  • anonymous
    July 22, 2006

    wow. those shrimps look so yummy! i’ve never tried it but maybe it IS worth the drive out there! thanks for sharing!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    July 23, 2006

    Hey Justin!Sigh, I always torn between many smaller shrimp and fewer big prawns! And no, there really isn’t anything better! :)Hey Ed,Oh! Come Hawaii!!! And it’s so muggy hot on the mainland right now, there’s no excuse. It’ll totally be worth it :)Hey Kitchen Mama!Oh it is worth the drive – only if you ignore these crazy cost of gas, lol!

  • pia
    July 25, 2006

    blueberry custard at sunnyside…this sounds like something i need to try! where is sunnyside?don’t think i’ve ever heard of it…

  • Kathy YL Chan
    July 25, 2006

    Hey Pia!I wish I knew about your blog earlier, local food blogs are my favorite! :) Sunnyside is in Wahiawa (1017 Kilani Ave) – you must go and try the blueberry custard and chocolate cream. crazy good!

  • Liz
    July 25, 2006

    LOL! You eat the shells? Me too sometimes- especially when they are so well seasoned that just touching them leaves a patina of spices on your fingertips.I was on Oahu for about a month several years ago. Your blog reminded me that there’s more to HI than Waikiki.Can’t wait to see what you are going to eat next!

  • elmomonster
    July 26, 2006

    Yummy. Would you call this the best shrimp shack in Hawaii?I’ve heard of many, but was just wondering.

  • anonymous
    February 6, 2007

    I love that shrimp shack. It was the best food I have ever tasted. I have been trying to copy the recipe as close as possible but no luck.

  • anonymous
    July 24, 2008

    This place is awesome! My son and I stopped there on our last full day in Hawaii last week. It’s one reason we want to go back to Hawaii. Sooo yummy! I’d like to try the Kilawen next time ;)

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