The North Shore Culture of Oahu: Highlights Winter Surfing & Delicious Shrimp

The Island of Oahu in the State of Hawaii has become a culture of big waves and big eaters especially shrimp during the winter months of November to March. Growing numbers of surfing competitors and fans have created excitement and enthusiasm that grows larger and larger each year.  Surfers follow the Winter Trade Winds by watching and surfing enormous waves that burst along the reef-lined shore where waves can reach upwards of 30 to 40 feet a run.

One of the original heroes of the surfing world is Eddie Aikau, the first lifeguard of Waikiki. Eddie saved countless surfers in his pursuit of safety and is memorialized at an annual ceremony called the Billy Bong Pipemaster. To participate in what has come to be called “the Eddie” surfers are chosen very selectively while conditions must be ideal to begin with. Surfers like Eddie continue to inspire winners of major surfing events such as Greg Long who won the last time the Pipemaster was held in 2008 in front of 20,000 spectators. Other stars emerge each winter regardless of age like 25-year-old John John Florence and 47-year-old Kelly Slater who has won 11 World Championships to date. Yet no one knows who the next champion will be. 

Surfing fans no less than surfers themselves have created a surfing sub-culture which includes surfing boards of all sizes, yoga, and massage therapy, plus the orthopedic practice of many physicians. Real estate brokers and property are also booming on the North Shore especially during the winter months when the surf is up.  Other North Shore products and services that surround the business of surfing are growing every day. For example, the sport has attracted a fan base that follows the surfer like other sports fans who follow baseball, basketball, soccer, and  American football.  Still another growing business involves those who build shrimp ponds and others who enjoy eating the tasty crustaceans. 

 It’s said that Shrimp is at the heart of this surfing business. There are food trucks and stands of all kinds, shops that only live to delight the weary, hungry traveler. Hawaii Magazine and the writers, editors, filmmakers, and photographers who document this world, support the North Shore community and surfing itself. To appreciate the culinary side of this business  I have included a recipe which you may also enjoy.  See below.

I also recommend a few of the many shrimp shops available where you can buy directly from trucks and vans and homemade shops along the road. They carry a vibe that is special. These are all beyond tasty and vary by the number of shrimp on a plate; 14 shrimp per plate is typical: shrimp, melted butter; garlic; and rice are available for about  $14.00. The seven food trucks listed below sell their shrimp throughout the day. This is all very casual, informal and available for all ages.

If you wish to spend twice as much money inside an air-conditioned restaurant or on a veranda, visit Joe’s Haleiwa, or surf the internet and you will find a few other spots. Indoor restaurants also serve alcohol. And they are all very enjoyable. However, the trucks listed below do not sell alcohol. But takeout is easy and flexible. Take your plate back to your van and have a cold one on me.  Most of the shrimp are grown in artificial ponds you can visit. But grocery store shrimp is all frozen. 

        1- Giovanni’s Original Shrimp

         2- Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck

         3-Hono’s Shrimp Truck



         6- Fumi’s Shrimp

Recipe for Garlic Shrimp or Coconut

By: Chef Alan Zox

16-32 shrimp in a frozen bag

Medium in size

Serves 4-6


  • 1 bag frozen shrimp (32)
  • Two 8 oz. bars butter  
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 1 tsp of each of the following spices: smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne
  • 2 bulbs garlic 
  • Juice 1 whole juicy lemon with seeds removed
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, diced

        Optional Ingredient: 1/2 cup slices of Coconut,  add to the soup pot.


  1. Defrost shrimp by placing a colander in a bowl with the cold water running slowly into the bowl over the shrimp.  Allow water to continue running for 10-12 minutes until shrimp is defrosted. Drain water and place it in the fridge.
  2. Separate all the cloves from the two garlic bulbs. Crush, remove the cloves and the skin of each clove and dice in the following way. Press the side of your largest French knife against each of the garlic cloves so all are crushed. Then remove the garlic skin and dice.
  3. Melt 2 bars of butter then add the diced garlic and saute at a low temperature until soft. Do not fry or brown the butter or the garlic.
  4. Melt 2 bars of butter then add the diced garlic and saute at a low temperature until soft. Do not fry or brown the butter or the garlic
  5. Lightly melt all the butter.
  6. Add all the minced garlic to the butter and continue lightly melting.
  7. Add the minced garlic and the rice to the butter and garlic mixture and lightly cook at a very low temperature in a soup pot until done— for about 3-5 minutes. Mix the garlic into the rice and add the spices. Cover until warm.
  8. Combine 1/3 to 1/2 the shrimp with half the remaining mixture of ingredients. Mix with a long spoon cooking for 5-8  minutes until all done. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp. Test to be sure all the shrimp is pink all the way through.
  9. Cover and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 150 F until warm to the touch at the bottom. Mix the lemon juice and parsley with the rest of the dish and either serve or move to the top of your stove at a very low temperature. The key to the dish is not to overcook the shrimp.
  10. Optional Step: Remove 1 cup of mixture and add ¼ cup of coconut and mix together.


Send questions or your favorite recipes directly to:  [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you. Chef Alan