Food Finds: North Shore & Central Oahu

1) Romy’s Shrimp Truck

Peppering Kamehameha Highway from Hale‘iwa Town to Kualoa Ranch are what many O‘ahu natives consider "shrimp truck row," plating up hundreds of fresh-from-the-water shrimp dishes. Though more like a stand than a real food "truck," Romy's is among the more popular shrimp eateries, beloved for their prawns, which are pulled, still dripping, from the shrimp farm adjacent to the kitchen.

Open daily from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Romy's Shrimp Truck stands apart with their uber fresh shrimp and prawns (they look more like mini lobsters than shrimp), which usually run out by early afternoon. If you miss your chance to snag a spot at Haleiwa Shrimp Court, roll on over to Romy's and sprawl out with your meal on one of the picnic benches in the lawn.

We like the fact that they leave the heads on their seafood, which makes for an extra tasty treat. Make sure to get yours "North Shore style" sautéed in butter and oodles of garlic with a few extra containers of their special sauces and an ear (or two) of Kahuku sweet corn.

Our tip? Bring lots of hand wipes and sanitizer. After you lick all the buttery, shrimpy goodness off your fingers, of course.


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2) Opal Thai

We know, we know. When you think of O‘ahu's North Shore you think of babes in bikinis, shave ice and maybe the odd honu (green sea turtle) sighting. But Thai food?! Opal Thai is breaking those preconceptions with their spicy new eatery in Hale‘iwa Town Center, now a hot dining spot for some of the best Thai food in Hawai‘i.

Chef and owner Opel Sirichandhra (yes, the restaurant is a twist on his name) has taken the tasty Thai dishes out of his old food truck without losing the flavor and personal touch, which made it so popular. And because Opal's is BYOB you can grab a bottle of your favorite wine (or whatever you're craving) and dig into tom yum, minced pork salad, stir-fried noodle, duck curry, sautéed eggplant, drunken noodles and a few other dishes Opel will come out from behind the kitchen to personally recommend. One of our favorite Opel-isms is "I got something for you, no worry!"

If you've got room after Opel has loaded up your table, we'd recommend the crab noodle ($10.95). We get tipsy just thinking about the long, thin noodles topped with real crab, egg and a sprinkling of green onion. And if you like to turn up the heat, be sure to ask for Opel's chili flakes - a homemade family-secret blend, which provides the perfect accent to the meal.

Before you head out, make sure to check your wallet for cash. Opal Thai doesn't accept credit cards.


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3) Ted's Bakery

Making a splash on O‘ahu's celebrated North Shore, Ted's Bakery has established a name for itself as the place to eat mouth-watering slices of pies, pastries, and plate lunches.

While Ted's fabulously famous pies are available at several grocery stores in Honolulu, making the trek to Ted's "headquarters" across from Sunset Beach on O‘ahu's North Shore is always well worth the gas splurge. The perfect pie pit stop en route to a day checking out the surfers and surf, Ted's Bakery's pies come in a variety of flavors including chocolate cream, blueberry cream, haupia cream, strawberry guava, peach Bavarian cream and more. If you only have room for one, we'd recommend splitting a slice of their chocolate haupia cream pie. It's seriously pie-mazing.

While you stand in line (and trust us, during peak hours there is almost always a wait) to order your teri beef bento you can peruse Ted's selection of t-shirts, coffee cups and other souvenirs, which make the perfect omiyage (oh-mee-yah-geh or gifts) to tuck away in your suitcase for family and friends back home.


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4) Haleiwa Shrimp Court

Peel off the main road for a piquant pit stop at Hale‘iwa Shrimp Court on O‘ahu's North Shore. This rolling retinue of awesome eats offers five trucks, Giovanni's, Sane's Simply Shrimp, Hono's Shrimp, Ert's Grill and North Shore Dogs and Burgers. So take a break from constructing sand castles, grab your friends, and pig out on a plate lunch buffet where you can sample shrimp plates and plate lunches from some of the most popular food trucks on O‘ahu.

Parked in a dirt lot as you enter Hale‘iwa, Hale‘iwa Shrimp Court is picnic-perfect with benches, umbrellas and a shady area to enjoy your sizzling shrimp plate. We love the spicy plate (sauce on the side!) at Giovanni's to spice up your traditional lunch routine. And don't forget to make your mark and sign your name on the Giovanni's truck. You'll just have to remember where it is so you can find it again on your next visit!

As Hawai‘i's food truck scene continues to rev up, new options are taking to the street including the increasingly popular Eat the Street event (featuring a traffic jam of food trucks with a different theme each month) in Kaka‘ako as well as lunch trucks throughout Downtown Honolulu. If you've missed Hale‘iwa Shrimp Court you can still gas up and go to Macky's or Leonard's trucks in Hale‘iwa for sweet Kahuku shrimp and malasadas.


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