"Okay, we'll all meet at the shrimp truck." -Mari-jo
"Which one?!" -Gary
Because I watch the Food Network and Travel Channel, I heard about Giovanni's Shrimp Truck on the North Shore of Oahu. Funny, I lived on Oahu for a good chunk of my childhood and into my 20s, and I never heard about it. I knew about Kua'Aina for their burgers (they've since conglomerated operations to their newest spot at Ward Centre in Honolulu) -- I always went with their teri chicken burger -- and Matsumoto's Shave Ice, and a whole bunch of nothing up there. But shrimp trucks? Only those selling freshly caught Kahuku shrimp, along with Kahuku corn. Never had those either.
But then a lot of local people don't know how to swim. (You live on an island surrounded by beaches, and it never occurred to you that swimming might come in handy?!)
Giovanni's sprung up in 1993, and soon thereafter, a bunch of other copycat shrimp trucks sprung up. Fumi's, Macky's, Romy's, Famous Kahuku Shrimp, Blue Water Shrimp...
Some church friends were lucky enough to score a Hawaii trip about four years ago, staying with some family who were on vacation in Kailua. Even they made it to Giovanni's shrimp truck, and they mostly stayed in their vacation home rental eating in to save money.
During our recent trip to Hawaii (we stayed on Oahu for 10 days and got back last Thurs. night), my high school friends Mari-jo, Gary, Elaine and Gina took us to Giovanni's by way of Haleiwa's Matsumoto's (for shave ice and some stinky cat manure out back). We were in different cars and caravanned over, with us meeting up with them about 10 minutes after because I wanted to pick up Huli Huli Chicken at a parking lot further down the street.
We expected a crowd. Sure enough, there it was, with our friends patiently waiting at the picnic tables. The line wasn't too long by the time we ordered. My husband briefly toyed with going against the grain until I reminded him how stupid that would be to travel all this way for their world-famous garlicky shrimp scampi (they do have other things, like spicy sausage and spicy shrimp...with all plates accompanied by scoops of rice, with mac salad available too) -- and then not have it.
Everything I'd ever heard about this shrimp was right on the money. I was instantly in love with the garlic topping all over the shrimp and on top of the rice. You may think this is disgusting or odd, garlic on rice and rice with shrimp (it is Hawaii, get with the program), but you'd be wrong. The fried garlic condiment is what makes this dish. The shrimp, funny enough, was like any other shrimp you get from Costco. But the garlic bits?
I could put that on anything. I'd kill to get the recipe.