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Monday, January 6, 2014

Best Kahuku Shrimp Truck: Giovanni's, Romy's, Fumi's?

The surf champions have been crowned for the season, but the question remains: which of the Kahuku shrimp trucks is the best?

On a recent North Shore trip, I hit up the three main contenders: Romy’s, Fumi’s and, of course, Giovanni’s.

First things first: just because it’s a Kahuku shrimp truck doesn’t mean it serves Kahuku shrimp. Romy’s and Fumi’s (they’re more food stands than actual trucks) are adjacent to their own shrimp farms, from which they harvest their shrimp. Giovanni’s, on the other hand, gets frozen shrimp from a wholesaler, who, according to the Giovanni’s manager, sources locally when possible, internationally when not.

Butter and garlic shrimp at Romy's

Shrimp: The only one of the three to serve their shrimp head-on, though neatly trimmed so you don’t have the eyes looking back at you. Romy’s promises live, fresh shrimp, but unfortunately, they were slightly overcooked and mealy.
Sauce: Romy’s butter and garlic sauce was the best of all three places: tons of sautéed garlic and fried garlic, plus a spicy, shoyu dipping sauce on the side.

Original shrimp at Fumi's, half order

Shrimp: Cooked well with a firm texture
Sauce: Simply sautéed with butter and garlic. The wedge of pineapple and green salad is a nice touch.

Half order of shrimp scampi at Giovanni's pictured above

Shrimp: Surprisingly, even though Giovanni’s shrimp are previously frozen, they had the best texture: firm, almost crisp. Giovanni’s also marinates their shrimp in olive oil and garlic, though it doesn’t seem to add a whole lot of extra flavor.
Sauce: The scampi has plenty of garlic and butter, with just a touch of lemon. Out of curiosity, I also tried Giovanni’s “no refund” spicy shrimp as well but it was overwhelmingly vinegary and almost unbearably spicy.

Verdict: flavor-wise, with the heads on and the fantastic sauce, Romy’s wins. But for the consistently best shrimp texture, Giovanni’s is the one to beat—definitely surprising, but proves that fresh doesn’t always mean better if it’s not handled or cooked well.

Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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