Some argue that the first shrimp truck you visit on Oahu’s North Shore will always be your favorite. Maybe that is the reason, and maybe not, but Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp Truck in Kahuku has always had my heart. I was first introduced to Giovanni’s when I moved to Oahu by a friend who swore this truck was the best. Her parents had visited years ago when they first moved to Hawaii, even signed their name on the side of the graffiti-covered truck. She’d never given any other truck a chance. I love shrimp just as much as the next girl, but I kind of shrugged my shoulders at the devotion with which my friend swore allegiance to Giovanni’s. That was, until I tried my first plate.
There are only three choices on the menu: shrimp scampi, the “no refunds” hot & spicy, and lemon butter. No matter which you choose, you’ll get a plate with two scoops of rice and a dozen shrimp in the preparation you’ve chosen. In my opinion, the best way to order is the scampi plate, which comes loaded with garlic sauce and a slice of lemon. If you like heat, try the vinegary hot sauce on the side rather than going for the hot and spicy plate, where you won’t taste much besides hot!
Some foodie friends and I recently spent a day on the North Shore for the sole purpose of comparing shrimp trucks. I felt it was necessary, because although I always recommend Giovanni’s as my favorite, I felt a little biased considering I had never really tried any of the others. After eating at four (yes, four!) that day, I can still say that Giovanni’s comes out on top for me.
What makes Giovanni’s my favorite? Besides having the best-tasting shrimp (assuming you like garlic!) they also give the best overall experience. The new pavilion at the Kahuku location gives diners shelter from the sun or rain while enjoying your plates. And be sure to stop by the small shopping area outside – one of my favorite discoveries was author Aaron T. Watene, smiling, talking story and signing copies of his children’s books – one is called Giovanni & Scampi the Shrimp. Some of the other trucks really nickel and dime you on the extras, like extra sauce, plates, and even lemon wedges! And while ALL of the trucks are busy on the tourist trail, Giovanni’s still keeps up the aloha. Check out how much fun their staff has on the job in the video below. You can’t help but have fun with them as you’re waiting for your number to come up!
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Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp Truck (Kahuku)
56-505 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku, HI 96731
10:30am – 6:30pm daily
There is a second Giovanni’s truck, now parked in Haleiwa:
Giovanni’s – Haleiwa
66-472 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, HI 96712
10:30am – 5pm daily
Both trucks are cash only, so be prepared. Some other “necessities” for a pleasant visit to Giovanni’s are: wet naps to wipe off your shrimpy fingers, extra paper towels, and gum. (I warned you about the garlic, right?)
A stop at Giovanni’s is a perfect part of a North Shore day trip! Check out other Day Trips from Honolulu.
>> For pictures of our day of shrimp truck comparisons on the North Shore, check out the WhyGo Hawaii Facebook page.