The Shrimp Shack is one of the last shrimp trucks you will see when driving south on Kamehameha Hwy, on the Winward side of Oahu. Shrimp Shack is located near the Punalu’u Channel, beside the Red Shing’s Punalu’u store. The Shrimp Shack Truck is a very bright yellow color so it is pretty hard to miss, especially being next to the red building. The Shrimp Shack has three Shrimp dishes, Grilled Mahi, Snow Crab, Mussels, Crab Cakes, Calamari, Cod, Popcorn Shrimp, Mac Salad, Crab Legs and other side dishes along with Tropical Floats. Even though they are called the Shrimp Shack, they do offer a variety of plates to choose from.
Shrimp Shack is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm, seven days a week. For a food truck, their prices are on the middle to upper level and range from about $2.50 to $6.50 for Hot Dogs, appetizers and floats. Their main plates start at $10.75 and go all the way up to $23.75 for the Shrimp and Crab, which comes with a whole crab. Seeing how they were featured on the Travel Channel, trying their shrimp plate was a must.
When I got there, about mid afternoon, there was a small line of about four people with a few eating at the tables next to Ching’s Punalu’u Store. Unfortunately, even though there were just a few people in front of me, it took at least 15 minutes before I was finally next up to place my order. Judging from my experience, this is not the place to go if you are wanting to get in and out in a timely manner. When I finally got to place my order, I asked which was the most popular shrimp dish and was told the Spicy Garlic Shrimp. I ordered it medium spicy then waited for about another 10 to 15 minutes before my food finally arrived. It was handed to me covered in tin foil which was the first time I had seen that from a Food Truck. Maybe it was to keep the food hot while I found a new place to sit, but that is just a guess. But first…
Why did I have to find a new place to sit? My wife and 17 month old daughter were with me and were already seated at a table while waiting for me to place my order. They had joined a family of four from Minnesota who was kind enough to share their six person table while they interacted with and watched my little one dance, play and babble away at them. The wait was long enough that the family of four finished their meal and said their good-byes, leaving only my wife and child at the table. This was when she was approached by the lady working the Shrimp Shack who asked if she wouldn’t mind moving tables because she needed the table for a larger party. It just kind of rubbed me the wrong way since my wife and child had already been seated there for a good thirty minutes waiting for me to place my order and for the food to arrive. The photo below is about half of the total available seating area near the Shrimp Truck. I think they have only 3 or 4 tables to begin with so this is in itself the main problem here.
After taking some photographs of the area, I went and found my wife and child at their new table as the food arrived. The seasoning was decent, not too spicy. The plate came with nine shrimp. Though many shrimp trucks will drizzle some garlic or butter sauce over a couple scoops of rice for some extra flavor, the Shrimp Shack had a small to go container with what looked like just some melted butter for dipping. Since the shrimp was already seasoned with their own spicy garlic sauce, I passed on the dipping.
The shrimp was cooked reasonably well but they were not split or deveined. Though this is not a must, it does help the shrimp soak in the seasoning a lot better. Once the shrimp was peeled, they didn’t have any cooked in flavor. The shrimp themselves were decent size, not exceptionally large or small, but they tasted pretty bland.
Overall, my experience at the Shrimp Shack was not a real good one. The cooks were very nice and friendly. The location and view are also nice; however, the Shrimp did not live up to the billing of a place called the “Shrimp Shack”. If the food is excellent you can handle the long wait and the limited seating arrangements. However, if the food is lacking in flavor, it is hard to want to try them again when there are so many other great places to eat on the island.
Just like with every shrimp truck on the island, there are people that will eat at the Shrimp Shack every week and say it is the best on the island. However, for me, having tasted every shrimp truck on the North Shore of Oahu, the Shrimp Shack failed to deliver on its signature dish. I may have liked some of their other items but with so many other places to eat on the island, I would rather try something new for my next meal, after my shrimp plate was lacking in flavor.
Here are some photos from my visit to the Shrimp Shack
Map to the Shrimp Shack