Kauai Poke Co. is a fantastic food truck, featuring authentic, mouthwatering dishes focused on delicious fresh fish.
The History of Poke
Poke is a dish first created in Hawaii, and very important to Hawaiian culture. Fish has always been a key part of the Hawaiian diet. Traditionally, Polynesian fishermen would cut reef fish into chunks, then season it with salt, seaweed, and ground kukui tree nuts. In the 1970s came the first written recipes for poke, a phrase meaning “to cut into pieces”. Poke has spread quickly to other cultures, producing different variations on flavors and ingredients. However, traditional poke is nothing like the mainland bowls in the contiguous United States– those bowls are full of rice or other grains, with an assortment of vegetable toppings and a very small serving of fish. Authentic poke is all about the fish and its quality. It is cooked in a specific way, using specific seasoning and oils and methods to bring out a rich depth of flavor. One of the biggest advocates of Hawaiian poke is Sam Choy, an island native and renowned chef. Known as Hawaii’s culinary ambassador, Choy has participated in Kauai poke festivals and shown live demonstrations of how the classic dish should be prepared.
Furikake spicy ahi poke bowl at Kauai Poke Co.
Kauai Poke Co. provides an authentic Hawaiian experience. All their bowls are made with 100% fresh ahi tuna and daily made sushi rice. They have a selection of unique options, including the “plantation poke bowl” featuring inamona nuts and kabayaki, their spicy bowl with Japanese kewpie poke, and another spicy bowl starring furikake. They also have gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options, utilizing fried tofu, sweet potatoes, and local greens and veggies.
Kauai Poke Co. also offers scrumptious appetizers, such as furikake fries or shrimp tempura, and plates, such as fried ahi katsu, smoked kalua pork, Korean chicken, and more.
Located at 3540 Koloa Road, Kauai Poke Co. is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-2pm. You can even call or text in your orders: (808) 652-5767. It’s a wonderful way to experience the rich (and delicious) history of Hawaiian cuisine.
John and Kris Ferguson opened Kalaheo Cafe in 1994. Before this, John was the Executive Chef at the Waiohai, later working at Waimea Plantation. Visiting his brother’s coffee shop inspired John and his wife to create their own cafe, starting out in a tight 900 ft. space and growing rapidly within the community. Locals and visitors alike are drawn to the delicious, authentic food and warm, friendly atmosphere.
An Authentic Atmosphere
Nestled in the quaint town of Kalaheo on the south shore (close to Poipu), this cafe is casual and relaxed, a popular fun spot to bring friends and family. Known as a “neighborhood gem”, the cafe focuses on supporting surrounding farmers by sourcing their fresh ingredients locally. They also care about the environment by recycling, composting, and donating used materials, as well as using biodegradable take-out containers. They also roast Kauai estate grown coffee, available for purchase online.
Many people end up at Kalaheo Cafe for multiple meals in a single day, or coming many different times during their visit to Kauai. The ingredients are fresh and local, and each dish is crafted with care. Kalaheo Cafe’s breakfast menu is popular, especially their pastries, egg dishes, and coffee. For lunch, many love their sandwiches. They have a wide variety of choices, and make all their own bread, including gluten free bread. Not only do they have wonderful gluten free options, they also have plenty of health-conscious choices and vegan dishes. Customers also rave about this cafe’s steak and garlic fries, or light and fluffy coconut cake. They even offer gluten-free carrot cake!
If you want a relaxing place to discover local Hawaiian stores and eats, visit Poipu Village Shopping Center. Nestled in the midst of dense garden foliage, this shopping center is home to unique shops selling artisan goods, art, and clothing, as well as award winning restaurants. The center even provides authentic live entertainment!
Poipu Village Shopping Center is a lovely open-air marketplace of shops and restaurants
Poipu Village features a wide array of stores that specialize in local goods. If you’re looking for a fine selection of locally crafted art, clothing, jewelry, home decor, and more, check out By The Sea or Elephant Walk.
Ready to get out on the water? Honolua Surf Co. is a trusty place to go for high-quality items. Beloved among all the Hawaiian islands, Honolua Surf Co. has been around since 1996, and sells a range of beach and surf sports products to enhance your ocean experience. And speaking of the ocean, Making Waves offers Hawaii’s largest collection of swimwear!
There’s plenty of other unique shops to enjoy, such as Crazy Shirts– they sell t-shirts and boast “original designs and the warm spirit of aloha”. Cariloha Bamboo sells only bamboo products! Their clothing, bedding, towels, jewelry, hats, and more are all made from solely bamboo blends. You’ll be blown away by Na Hoku’s fine jewelry– Na Hoku is Hawaiian for “stars”, and this store seeks to capture “the essence of Hawaiian lifestyle and tradition” through awe-inspiring craftsmanship. And don’t forget about Whaler’s General Store, the perfect place to get souvenirs, snacks, sunscreen, and whatever other odds and ends you need for your visit.
This shopping center has quite a few dining options, from casual to sit-down.
French toast plate at Anuenue Cafe
Anuenue Cafe offers a wide variety of Kauai breakfast options in partnership with different local companies, each with their own speciality– granola, meat, mushrooms, Kauai shrimp, local produce, and even coffee roasters.
Feast on Italian cuisine at Pietro’s Pizza e Pasta, or stop by Island Taco for a quick bite with Hawaiian flavors. You can get a creamy treat at Papalani’s Gelato, and find authentic Thai at Bangkok Happy Bowl.
If you’re looking for something delicious to sip on while you shop, Kauai Juice Co. specializes in cold pressed juices and organic kombucha. They also offer grab and go food, nitro coffee, supplements, and other options to promote a healthy lifestyle.
For sit-down meals, Keoki’s Paradise and Poipu Rock n’ Roll Sushi are both all about the experience. Keoki’s is a tropical oasis featuring traditional and island favorites. Rock n’ Roll Sushi is Koloa’s premier fresh sushi bar. Both restaurants offer live music and/or entertainment, and great specialty drinks!
Hula dancers perform at weekly free hula shows
The Village Market is hosted at Poipu Village the first and third Tuesday every month from 3:30-6:00pm. This market offers a variety of locally grown vegetables, fruits, and even tropical flowers, as well as handmade crafts and baked goods.
Poipu Village also puts on a free authentic Hula show with live Hawaiian music every Monday and Thursday at 5:00pm. Hula takes the audience on a journey through Hawaiian history and tradition through song, dance, and stories.
NOTE: Be sure to confirm before going that the places listed above are still open, in the same location, or that any times listed are still accurate.
Keoki’s Paradise is the perfect place for a fun family dinner! Experience this tropical oasis, whether it’s for a special celebration, or just for a memorable meal.
The open-air jungle setting of Keoki’s Paradise takes you right to the heart of lush Kauai. The restaurant is full of native flora and fauna, trickling streams, and palm trees swaying in the breeze. During the evening, you’ll dine under the light of tiki torches, and enjoy live Hula shows, where dancers show guests Hawaiian myths and stories through graceful dancing and hand movement. If you’re a morning person, catch the sunrise on Poipu Beach, then walk right over to Keoki’s afterwards for scrumptious Hawaiian brunch! There’s also live music on weekends, playing Hawaiian classics for you to get out on the floor and dance to.
If you’re looking to grab a quick drink, stop by the Bamboo Bar. It serves casual fare and hosts a daily Happy Hour (or Aloha Hour) from 3-5pm and 9:30-10:30pm. Sip on tropical drinks, speciality cocktails, wine by the glass, and draft beer specials. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal in a beautiful setting, make a reservation for dine-in. For your meal, enjoy Hawaiian, Polynesian, and American cuisine. Keoki’s specializes in fresh, local seafood and steaks, and offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. They pride themselves on their relationships with local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to obtain fresh ingredients for their delightfully crafted dishes.
In 1977, Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten created TS Restaurants, a now well-known Hawaiian company that started out with the goal of creating wonderful atmospheres: making restaurants about more than just the meal. TS Restaurants has produced a variety of restaurants loved by locals and visitors alike, such as Jake’s, Duke’s, Sunnyside Lodge, Leilani’s, and Kimo’s. All TS Restaurants have their own unique feel and flair, but with the same high quality. Keoki’s Paradise was created in 1986, and remains a favorite location for many.
Keoki’s Paradise famous Hula Pie is a fun dessert to share
Keoki’s Paradise is a wonderful place to sit back and relax with family and friends, whether it’s a simple weekend get-together, or hosting a big celebration. Make your reservations today to enjoy a fantastic experience that goes far beyond the delicious food!
The Midnight Bear Breads bakery and cafe in Hanapepe offers delicious fare! A favorite of locals, their pastries and breads are popular and get snatched up quickly, so arrive early in the day for the best selection.
Smoked Salmon Tartine at Midnight Bear Breads is just one of their many delicious savory options
What Started it All
This bakery has been owned and operated by Ursa Swift and Evan McAfee for a decade! Midnight Bear Breads started out solely in farmers markets and grocery stores around Kauai, but in 2015, they established a retail location. This expanded their offerings and helped create an organic cafe in historic Hanapepe.
What to Eat
Midnight Bear Breads offer a wide variety of artisan croissants and breads. Their pastries include cinnamon rolls, morning buns, danishes, cruffins, pain au chocolat, and more. Their organic breads are made from a decade-old sourdough culture, and they offer a variety of sourdough loaves, as well as ciabatta, baguettes, and speciality flavors such as rye, cranberry walnut, roasted garlic, jalapeno & cheese, etc.
But this local spot isn’t just a bakery– it’s also a cafe. The cafe menu includes scrumptious sandwiches– hot paninis, tartines, and deli– as well as specialty pizzas. They also have coffee and tea options, from lattes to cold brew to hibiscus passion tea. Customers rave about everything, from the pastries to the coffee to the sandwiches. The pain au chocolat is a standout favorite.
Pain au Chocolat (chocolate croissants) at Midnight Bear Bread
When to Visit
Midnight Bear Breads’ Hanapepe Road location is open Wednesday through Saturday, 8am to 3pm. They also sell their products at farmer’s markets and in grocery stores. On Saturdays, you can find them at the Puhi Park Market from 9:30am-12pm, or at the Anaina Hou Farmer’s Market from 9am-12pm. To pick up their delicious products in store, head to Papayas Natural Foods or Hoku Foods in Kapaa, or Healthy Hut in Kilauea. You can also order online for pickup! For the most immersive experience, head to Midnight Bear Breads’ retail location for a wide selection of fresh baked goods.
The Kong Lung Historic Market Center displays the heart of Kilauea’s community and history. Visit the array of shops nestled among historic wooden buildings, merging the town’s plantation era with contemporary boutiques, home goods, and restaurants.
Kong Lung Historic Market Center directory map
The Kong Lung Store was constructed in 1941, its original wood was replaced with stone by the Kilauea Sugar Company. The store was operated by the same people it provided goods to: plantation workers. It was originally open from 2am to 5am, and workers would head to the plantation fields afterwards.
Browse a variety of goods handcrafted by local artisans, such as high end jewelry, authentic clothing, housewares, art, soap, candles, and more. These quaint shops are family-owned and make you feel like family as well!
For a luxurious sit-down meal, head to The Bistro and enjoy fine Pacific cuisine. If you’re in need of a quick bite, stop by the Sushigirl Kauai stand for fresh sushi and poke bowls. Looking for more casual sit-down or on-the-go fare? The Kilauea Bakery & Pizza has what you need, including pastries and danishes, sandwiches, soups, salads, specialty pizzas, and calzones. Palate Market sells a wide variety of wine and liquor, and also serves fresh deli sandwiches. They even have a wine bar, with a curated selection of wines and a variety of small-plate-style food options.
One of the most notable places to go at Kong Lung Market is the Black Dog Gallery. This small gallery is dedicated to original works by contemporary artists, and provides children and adults alike with hands-on painting activities. Another famous attraction is the award-winning outdoor Photo Retrospective, “Recollections”. This large scale retrospective displays life before, during, and after the plantation era of Kilauea.
The Kong Lung Market is a charming place to visit, from exploring Kauaiian culture and history and getting to know the locals!
Whether you’ve come to Kauai for adventure, or relaxation you’ll probably want to grab dinner and possibly a cocktail. Luckily, there are many options to choose from for happy hour on Kauai! Enjoy great drinks and a wonderful atmosphere at each of these amazing locations.
Conveniently located in the Old Kukui’ula Shopping Center, just look for the line of people in the parking lot. That will tell you a lot about what to expect. Take out only, so head to the beach with fish tacos, Mexican bowl or burrito and enjoy. 2827 Poipu Rd, Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-8553 http://www.dacrackkauai.com