You have arrived on Kauai and, if you are like most people, you can not wait to barbecue some fresh island fish. Depending on the time of year, you will have a choice of Pacific Blue Marlin, Ahi (yellow fin tuna), Aku (skip jack tuna), Ono (Wahoo), Opah, Sea Bass or, my favorite, Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish or dorado). Most restaurants will offer two, generally Ahi and Mahi Mahi or Ono. But, if you want to buy some to bring home to cook, here are your best options to buy fresh fish between Lihue and Hanalei.
Where to buy fresh fish on Kauai:
Start with Costco. Just about every day you will have a selection of several kinds of raw fish at the best price on the island. As with most things at Costco, however, the fish is packaged in fairly large quantities. If you are looking to feed four or more – no problem. For two people, you might consider buying a slab of fish, cutting it in half, and freezing one half for another night later in your trip. It will be just as tasty the second night you cook it. Or, cook up the whole piece and use the leftovers for fish tacos or wraps the next night.
Just recently, our Costco set up a sushi chef preparation area where you may also purchase fresh sushi daily.
Address: 4300 Nuhou St, Lihue, HI 96766
Phone: (808) 241-4000
The Fish Express
While still in Lihue, check out The Fish Express. Located right across the street from Walmart, this busy place has a small variety of raw fish, as well as a large variety of poke, shrimp and other items from the sea. In addition to seafood, they offer cuts of meat. Daily prepared specials are listed on a placard.
Address: 3-3343 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, Hawaii 96766
Phone: (808) 245-9918
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00, Sundays, starting March 1, 2020: 10:00 to 2:30 but grill will be closed.
Most grocery stores on the island will also carry fresh fish. Foodland, in Princeville, generally has quite a good selection (depending on how well the fish are biting). When I am not going to be in Lihue, this is where I buy my fish. They almost always have ahi and marlin. I prefer white fish so I am always on the lookout for Mahi Mahi, Ono, or occasionally Sea Bass. Here one can buy smaller portions to barbecue, fry, or bake. Try coating each serving of fish with olive oil and a combination of panko flakes and finely chopped up macadamia nuts. Then bake at 450 degrees until brown on top. It does not take long to bake and it is so delicious (ono)!
Foodland also features sushi chefs making a variety of fresh sushi for take-out.
The Kilauea Fish Market
Although most people go to this small fish market for prepared food (their fish tacos are the BEST), they do offer a few pieces of high quality fish for you to take home and cook. Located behind the stone building on the left side of Kilauea Road (road to the lighthouse), this popular spot can be quite crowded around lunch time with long wait times. There are a few tables on the covered patio and a couple of picnic tables on the grass where you may “dine in” or wait for your order.
Address: 4270 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754
Phone: (808) 828-6244
Hours: Monday through Saturday 11:00 – 8:00, closed on Sunday.
The Dolphin Fish Market
Just down the hill from Princeville, on the way to Hanalei Town, you will first see the Dophin Restaurant on your right, next to the Hanalei River. Around back is the small Dolphin Fish Market where you will find one of the best selections of raw fish on the north shore.
From their website:
“If ‘Take out’ or ‘cook-your-own’ is where you’re at tonight, then there is no better place to start your meal preparation than the Dolphin Fish Market in Hanalei. Cleaned and cut by master fish cutters you are guaranteed to receive the finest cuts in fish or beef, not to mention specialties like Teriyaki Shrimp, Beef Stix, sushi rolls and fresh sashimi, poke salad, ceviche, seafood chowder, organic salad mixes, squaw bread garlic croutons (a delicious snack themselves) and The Dolphin’s homemade salad dressings.”
They are proud of their offerings as is suggested by their prices, but some people swear you will not find a better piece of fish.
Addriess: Hanalei Dolphin Center, 5-5016 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei
Phone: (808) 826-6113
Of course, the best way to ensure that you have fresh fish is to catch it yourself. Check out two fishing charters in the “Sports” category of my blog list. If you happen to see someone along the side of the road selling fresh fish, that is a great way to get yummy fish at a more reasonable price. Wherever you buy your fish and however you cook it, a trip to Kauai is not complete until you have tasted our local fish. Enjoy!
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