I know. I’m a horrible wannabe travel blogger when this is the longest I’ve gone without an update. Apologies but Hawaii has kept me so busy! I had my cousin’s wedding, not to mention work, hiking at sunrise, shark cage diving, meeting other digital nomads, and suntanning at the beach.
So if you’re on Oahu, you will spend a day at the North Shore in Hawaii (if not more). It’s about an hour’s drive (or less if you’re a speed demon like myself) from Waikiki. It’s worth getting the rental car if you don’t have one.
If you plan to go, the earlier the better since traffic can pile up especially on weekends and it becomes a two lane road after you get off the highway.
My friend Carlo (visiting from LA), my cousin, and I set out in the morning with no real set plans other than to see some waves and get some rumored tasty shrimp from the numerous shrimp food trucks in the area. The swell, fortunately and unfortunately was TOO high that day and nobody was allowed to go swimming, splashing, or surfing in the water. We were hoping to go to the Banzine Pipeline or the “pipeline” or “pipe” for short to see some surfers but alas, we just watched the big waves.
Pictures don’t do the waves justice – this is something you have to experience in person.
Besides the different beaches to visit – what else can you do?
Mackey’s Shrimp Truck is located at 66-632 Kamehameha Highway with it’s own parking lot and picnic tables. If you’re short on cash, the 7-11 next door has an ATM. I went for the butter garlic while Carlo went for the spicy shrimp. Along with a nice-sized portion of shrimp that was fresh and pump, you also get two scoops of white rice with a little side salad + pineapple.
We ate in silence for a good few minutes. When there’s no talking and just eating, you know the food is good or maybe it was the butter garlic sauce they put on the rice because it was quite garlic-ky and buttery which I like. There’s some picnic tables to eat at – just be wary of the possible flies and the occasional chicken or rooster roaming around.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is located in a parking lot with other food trucks around. It looks ghetto with all the signatures scrawled on it but I haven’t gotten sick at any food truck (yet). Here, I ordered the shrimp scampi and regular butter (you can go half/half) and the plate also came with two scoops of rice. If you wanted a side such as macaroni salad, it was extra.
I found the scampi to be better than the regular butter shrimp but you can’t go too wrong with shrimp & rice if you’re hungry. The macaroni salad was bland and nothing extravagant – something I keep encountering here. Again, there’s picnic tables to eat at and bring cash. There’s an ATM across the street inside the McDonalds if you don’t.
Tip: Bring hand sanitizer to use before and after your meal since there’s no washrooms/restrooms near the food trucks.
If you drive a bit away, there’s Paalaa Kai Bakery and apparently, you HAVE to get the snow puffies there. I tried BOTH times and was unable to get any! The first time, the bakery was closed due to construction in the parking lot and the second time, it was sold out. *tear* Which really means, I need to go back to Hawaii a third time.
Luckily, there was an ice cream shop right next door called A Scoop of Paradise. This place was SUPER cute and quaint. The colors and decor along with a colorful + cozy couch made it comfortable to enjoy a cup of ice cream along with your hot or cold caffeinated beverage. If you have kids, this is a good pit stop on the way home to get them ice cream (or not) and your coffee for the drive.
One cute shop I encountered was The Soap Cellar As soon as you walk in, you’re hit with a wall of incense, candles, and scented soaps all rolled into one spicy strong presence to the nose. Besides soaps and candles, there were many knick knacks, jewelry, pieces of art, and body/beauty products for sale. I settled on two body butters. Almond butter and Green Tea butter for the hands and body.
Being a traveler, I *need* solid products like this due to the pesky 3-1-1 liquids rule for carry on, (I hate checking in luggage.) Too bad I haven’t found a good substitute for regular conditioner yet.
Also in the North Shore, there’s also Ted’s Bakery – which had long lines both times but it moves quickly and efficiently. My aunts went crazy over some of their pastries while I was going crazy for a small plate of shoyu chicken (2 pieces) with a scoop of rice and macaroni salad. The macaroni salad was decent but the chicken shoyu was DELICIOUS. The chicken was tender and moist while very flavorful with lots of sauce at the bottom. The small plate was enough for me. However, if you’ve got a large appetite, go with the regular-sized plate.