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Local good eats on Kauai

good morning.
going to Kapaa on Sunday for one week. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor long ago, so this will be first trip back since 1979. I remember a market in Aiea that sold seafood but also poke, laulau, mana mana pua(steamed soft buns filled with sweet or savory), char sui pork...... Is there a market like this in Kapaa area? What can i expect to find at the farmer's markets? Which grocery store will have local produce and fish? Best plate lunch? I like to cook and one of our party is a pro chef we want to cook as well as dine. would it be worthwhile to pack my rod and reel for shore fishing?
Thanks in advance for your help and comments.

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  1. we had some great poke and plate lunch at pono market right in kapaa. it's just a little tiny place . i think foodland has pretty good poke too.

    i had one of those buns at hamura saimin in lihue...known for saimin and pie but it was really good
    sorry i can't helpf with other

    1. and there's another really good thread a couple days ago called yummy eats on kauai with really good info on it

      1. Kapaa has three supermarkets that appear to cater to both locals and to tourists wanting to cook: Safeway, Foodland and K.T. Big Way (or something close to that). The three are all pretty close together so you can check out the offerings at all three without too much trouble. I was surprised that there are no supermarkets in Lihue any more -- but there is a COSTCO with pretty good local offerings and the Saturday morning farmers market at the Kauai Community College in Lihue is really good.

        1. you can get manapua at hamura's but its not like the char siu kind you'd get at chun wah kam for example in oahu. its really good and has pork and somevegetables in it ..BUT they only have them certain days of the week and they sell out REALLY fast. someone makes them for hamuras so it can be kind of confusing. anyways you might want to call in advance to reserve or to see if they have them that day. even if they have them on that day, they might sell out...so yeah..confusing!

          you can get standard char siu manapua at 7-11 or menehune food mart in lawai.

          other than pono market in kapaa, you can get good local grinds at koloa fish market, ishihara's in waimea or the BEST poke at ara's in hanamaulu. i know they aren't in kapaa but if you happen to travel around the island, i think these are your best bets!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mag454

            Ara's take out place in Hanamaulu is my favorite ahi poke as well. Ara and Debbie make it fresh several times daily. Everyone's for poke is slightly different...I love Aras. If you dont want to leave Kapaa, Pono Market has the freshest/best poke in Kapaa.

            The Farmers Market is in Kapaa on Wednesday afternoons. It starts at 245...be there at 230 to scout out what you want..the good stuff goes quickly.

          2. Hamura Saimin in Lihue is excellent dive and the best lilikoi pie too.

            1. Aloha Scott!

              I live here on Kauai, in Kapaa, and I am a freelance food writer. Pono Market (located in the main part of town-makai side), and Foodland are excellent places to get poke. My husband (a freelance photographer) and I get our fish from Foodland, and local beef and lamb from Kojimas. Papaya's and Hoku (health food stores) have the best selection of local produce. We get manapua from the Menehune Mart off Kawaihau Road in Kapaa. The Wednesday farmers market in Kapaa, sells only produce, and starts at 3, when the whistle blows. You can't buy anything until that whistle blows! Across the street, there is a new Restore Kauai market that runs at the same time, and sells value added products like Kunana Dairy goat cheese and fresh baked bread. Best plate lunch? In our opinion (and we get paid to eat, take pictures and write about it) is Hanalei Taro & Juice Company in Hanalei. And yes! If you like to fish, I see guys fishing along the shore almost every morning that I walk the beach to catch the sunrise.

              I have a website and blog that lists food news and events on Kauai, as well some posts about restaurants, farmers and produce. You might find it useful.

              Enjoy! It's a beautiful day today!

              Marta Lane

              3 Replies
              1. re: TastingKauai

                We just got back from a trip to Kauai. My girls insisted on getting a smoothie at Hanalei Taro & Juice every morning while we were on the north shore. We didn't get the plate lunch - it was a little early in the day - but the smoothies were really fresh & tasty.

                And I second Beach Ckick's rec for Hamaura Saimin. Special Saimin had unbelievable broth and really delicate dumplings. Lillikoi pie was fantastic too.

                1. re: melee

                  Aloha melee..
                  Can't wait to hear your trip report on one of my fave islands..

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    got back sunday 2pm eastern time after leaving Lihue at 7pm(eastern) saturday. the trip is the worse part. there is no airline food to joke about any more if you fly steerage like we did. on one flight of the six it took to get there and back they did give us a cookie. airport food is overpriced and the places are usually closed between midnite and 8am.
                    While on Kauai, we found Foodland was the best place for basic groceries. Went to 2 farmers markets, Monday in Lihue and Wen. in Kapaa. SURPRISE, SURPRISE. almost every fruit and vegatable you could imagine; green onion, summer squash, eggplant, broccoli raab, spinach, bananas, passion fruit, guava, papaya, tomatoes, avacado, ......
                    Prices were generally 1/2 of Foodland if Foodland had it.
                    Kilauea Fish Market has the wildest fish tacos and burrito we have ever seen. I had the Ono burrito. there was enough fish, rice and beans, and pico de gallo to fill a 10" dinner plate. fish was cooked and seasoned perfectly and the beans were cooked from scratch. attached photo shows the deluxe dining area. on the way to the old lighthouse, well worth the trip.
                    we cooked in house the rest of the time.
                    if i had a place to stay when i got there, i would leave for kauai tomorrow.
                    the old sailor