I WAS lucky to accompany Baroness to the Hawaiian island of Oahu and on the only weekend we had there we decided to hire a car and cruise around the scenic east coast towards the North Shore.
Along the journey we stopped at Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp at Kahuku. Kahuku is a stretch of the Kamehameha Highway between the Polynesian Cultural Centre and Turtle Bay Resort and this part of the coast is a popular spot for roadside shrimp (prawn) shacks and food trucks. Fumi’s is one of the last shrimp spots on this section of highway but don’t expect anything fancy as Fumi’s (and the other shrimp places we passed), are all basic hole-in-the-wall kiosks.
Fumi’s is basically a wooden “hut” painted brightly in an attractive tone of pastel sky blue with an outdoor canopied seating area of long tables. You order from the hut window, wait for your order to be called and then eat outside before setting off to continue your road trip. There is a basic toilet block around the back and troughs to wash your hands because you will get messy devouring all those juicy prawns.
Fumi’s has been around since 2005 and apparently cooks the shrimp straight from its shrimp farm in the pond out back. What it may lack in bricks and mortar and decor it makes up for its excellent prawns and as a testament to Fumi’s it won the title of best lunch spot in Maxim magazine’s 2011 Food & Drinks Awards (which included restaurants across the United States).
The menu has 10 shrimp options: cocktail; butter garlic; lemon pepper; coconut; tempura; spicy garlic; hot & spicy; salt & pepper and ginger all for $12. If you are not a fan of the crustacean then there are some non-prawn choices such as such as chicken katsu, fried cod, pork chop or a cheese burger. Another window to the side of the outlet sells shaved ice ($3-$4) and corn on the cob.
Baroness ordered the coconut shrimp and I ordered the hot & spicy.
The meals are served in Styrofoam containers and include two scoops of rice (which is ideal for soaking up any sauce), a small green salad and a pineapple wedge. The prawns are a fairly decent size (I counted nine) and they’re not peeled but simply sautéed in the sauce of choice or deep-fried in the coating so you can eat them eu naturale in one hit or suck out the sauce or batter, peel and devour (I tend to do both).
Baroness’s coconut prawns were covered in a tempura/shredded coconut dusting which was lightly deep-fried until slightly golden in colour and served with a small tub of sweet chilli sauce on the side. They were excellent – crunchy with coconut sweetness which permeated the flesh of the prawn. Back in Australia Baroness loves cooking coconut prawns but were Fumi’s on par? Close.
My hot & spicy were sautéed in the shell in an orange spicy sauce. It was a typical Asian-style chilli sauce – almost what you would have on a Singaporean chilli crab – slightly fiery with spicy /tomato sweetness. I would have loved to have put this style against the spicy garlic to see what the differences were.
All prawns were plump, sweet and juicy and the serving is perfect for lunch. Servings are generous, the prawns are a good size and freshly cooked and it’s a great excuse to roll up the sleeves and get messy on a warm Hawaiian day.
The verdict: Fumi’s offers inexpensive and unpretentious dining and is a great lunch stop if you are doing the pleasant scenic drive to the North Shore from Honolulu.
What: Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp, 55-740 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, Hawaii, United States of America. Open daily from 10am to 7.30pm.
Ate there: 17 August 2013.
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