One of the best things about Kauai, Hawaii is the cultural mix. There are American, Asian, Pacific Islander and South American influences all over the island, especially in the food. One of the hidden gems I found when I traveled there to cater a friend’s wedding was the Feral Pig. It is a restaurant located in a shopping complex about five minutes from the airport, but was recommended to us by numerous locals and has a wonderful local inspired menu.
Quick digression: due to the number of wild or feral pigs on the island, year round hunting of them is allowed as a form of population control. As a result, almost every restaurant, food truck and food stand has some form of pork on the menu. I recommend trying them all.
Now back to the menu, or better yet, what isn’t on the menu. They have a burger called the Feral Burger, that is on request only, but you have to try it. It is a local beef/wild boar hamburger patty, grilled, topped with kalua pork, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, “special” aioli and seared pork belly, served with house made pickles. Finish with a Lipitor™ and you are good to go.
When it gets really hot out, sometimes the best thing to eat is a drink. Over in Hanalei Bay, sitting in the middle of a parking lot, is Aloha Juice Bar. No website, no branding, just the most refreshing smoothies for a hot afternoon meal. Try the Celery, Lime and Apple Juice Smoothie after a long day on the beach.
When the smoothies aren’t cutting it anymore, grab some local beer, brewed right on the island. If there are 40 of you, grab some local kegs, brewed right on the island. Guess which route we took? A few barrels of Lihue Lager and Black Limousine from Kauai Beer Company on the south shore rounded out our local assortment of food and drink. Great beer, great price!
If the art scene is more your style, check out Hanapepe on Friday nights. The whole town becomes one big art fair, with artists, food trucks and musicians lining the streets. I found my favorite souvenir here, a reclaimed cloth rice sack from the 50’s that had been made into an apron. This is also home to the Aloha Spice Company. They have all sorts of seasonings and Hawaiian salts to give your food that island taste.
After the rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception and taking time to soak in the local sights and culture, that’s all I’ve got for Kauai, Hawaii. If someone ever asks if you want to cater, or just attend, a wedding there, say YES!