Ono-ness in Kauai: Fish Express and more

It is a hole in the wall, but as soon as it’s lunchtime, be prepared to be battling for a parking spot in this carryout only storefront with its tiny little lot for maybe half a dozen cars. I am definitely going back here to Fish Express again next time in Kauai. It’s a bit farther away from the lovely beaches I saw as we drove up north to Princeville… but whatever, it’s worth it.

Don’t get distracted by the golden fried chicken or those bento boxes of various food packaged up ready for a quick grab and go. You want the little bit of each of the various poke and lobster salad if they have it or what else is behind the glass, and the fresh fish hot plates. You can stick with just the deli portion and make yourself a buffet out of their various cold offerings. But, choose your amounts carefully of each unless you can take it back to a fridge- I was so sad when I couldn’t finish off the poke later for dinner because I couldn’t eat all the buffet during lunch with the hot fish, and it didn’t do well sitting in the car while we visited Waimea Canyon.

Fish Express, Kauai, HawaiiFish Express, Kauai, HawaiiFish Express, Kauai, Hawaii

But take a merely priced at $8.95 fish special (it tastes just as good as the $25 entrees you would get at a sit down seafood restaurant) with you too, even as you get the poke buffet. They have 7 possible preparations for the cooked fish, and the exact fish that goes with each style depends on the day. You’ll have to take it out to your car and drive away- we went to a Costco parking lot to enjoy, because then we could go wash our hands and use the restrooms afterward. And, that way you can discard your big cardbox box of takeout food (just like how Costco “boxes” your purchases as well) there. Also, maybe Costco is oddly really well marked on the map from the Dollar car rental magazine.

Below, see the Shrimp Scampi, Ono sauteed with garlic and herb butter, and Macadamia Nut Panko crusted Ahi with lilokoi dill sauce. That Macadamia Nut Panko Ahi was the best thing I ate during my vacation in Hawaii this time round.

Shrimp Scampi, Fish Express, Kauai, HawaiiOno sauteed with garlic and herb butter, Fish Express, Kauai, HawaiiMacadamia Nut Panko crusted Ahi with lilokoi dill sauce, Fish Express, Kauai, Hawaii

As an honorable mention in Kauai yumminess, there was also dangerous fast driving in the dark to get to Puka Dog in Poipu before they closed. It was scary getting there in the dark streets while being speedy, but worth the misadventure as we bit into the freshly grilled hot dog. You select your choice of meat aka Polish Sausage or Veggie, followed by spice level of garlic lemon sauce, and then a tropical relish menu option (ranging from pineapple which is great with the spiciest level to mango, or starfruit, or coconut or banana) all squished into a bun that is not split but just has a hole to insert the selected hot dog and accompaniments so they are all swaddled by the bread for less mess. Cash Only… though I and the person before me ordered $50 worth of Puka Dog, so clearly these are not priced like your cheapie gas station dogs, nor should they be, and they are worth craving!

Puka Dog in Poipu, KauaiPuka Dog in Poipu, KauaiPuka Dog in Poipu, KauaiPuka Dog in Poipu, KauaiPuka Dog in Poipu, Kauai

Finish up with dessert in that same shopping complex at Papalani Gelato, that offers gelato that is handmade and 1/3 less fat then ice cream, as well as sorbetto, and boasts local specialty flavors such as papalani pie, sesame crunch, lilokai, lychee, POG, and more.
Papalani Gelato in Poipu, KauaiPapalani Gelato in Poipu, Kauai


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