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Kauai may be a small island, but it offers some great food experiences that are worth tracking down. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for five Kauai food experiences to try.
1. Saimin. The most famous saimin stand on Kauai — and possibly the entire state — is the fourth-generation noodle shop Hamura’s Saimin Stand. Saimin, an off-shoot of the richer Japanese-style ramen, is a staple in Hawaii’s local food scene. A holdover from Hawaii’s plantation era, this dish features curly egg noodles served in a salty broth garnished with green onions.
2. Kauai coffee. While Kona on the Big Island is the most well-known area for coffee production in Hawaii, Kauai has its own share of small coffee farms, too. The Blair Estate produces organically grown coffee, all hand-picked, fermented, sun-dried and freshly roasted daily. It offers farm tours — of both its coffee and cigar production — for small groups by appointment. You can also visit Kauai Coffee for a walking tour and taste its 100 percent estate-grown Kauai coffees.
3. Koloa rum. Taste the rum from the first and only licensed distillery on Kauai, Koloa Rum Co. It offers samples daily.
4. Manju. Manju is a Japanese dessert typically filled with a red bean paste made from boiled azuki beans. One of the best is the Lawai Manju, which is sold at the Menehune Food Mart. This version has a golden, flakey crust with a sweet azuki bean filling.
5. Kulolo. This Hawaiian dessert, made primarily from mashed taro corms and either graded coconut meat or coconut milk, is worth trying while on Kauai. You can also get it at the Menehune Food Mart.