KAPAA — Finding a good taco in Hawaii can be hard. In fact, finding good Mexican food in general can be a challenge.
But just past the Foodland in Kapaa, tucked away in a small parking lot, is one of Kapaa’s best kept secrets: Tiki Tacos.
A town known for its abundant and unique eateries, Kapaa is a hot bed for restaurants and food trucks that deliver five star meals. But Tiki Tacos is a small establishment that delivers a big punch.
I went to Tiki Tacos for lunch Wednesday around 11:50 a.m., close to the lunchtime rush but less than an hour after they opened. I figured they wouldn’t be that busy, but I was mistaken.
I would advise calling ahead a takeout order, because it took about 18 minutes for my “True Imu Kalua Pig” taco to be served.
I wouldn’t have minded waiting that long, if it weren’t for the people surrounding my table continuously talking about how good their food was. There’s nothing worse than watching other people enjoy their food when you’re playing the waiting game.
While my taco was being made, a gentleman finished his food and approached the counter to speak with an employee. He asked if it was possible to buy their hot sauce because it was “delicious.” The employee, however, said that wasn’t possible. The man followed up with another question: “Can you guys open up a location in Koloa?”
It’s safe to say that the man and his family thoroughly enjoyed their meal.
When my food came, I stared at it for a second, trying to figure out how to pick it up without making a mess. The taco was absolutely packed with vegetables, salsa and kalua pork. To be perfectly honest, I had a hard time finding the other side of the tortilla to pick the taco up. It was so packed that I was certain the tortilla would break under its weight, but it held true and didn’t leak at all.
Vegetables aren’t everyone’s favorite and on a taco, there is a fine line between too many toppings and not enough meat.
But this was the first time that I haven’t complained about or picked extra vegetables off the top of a taco. The fresh produce really stood out to me, which is something I thought I would never say in a positive light.
Tiki Tacos also has vegetarian and gluten-free options, including corn tortillas instead of flour. Don’t be scared off by the $7-9 price per taco. Take it from me, one taco is more than you really need.
I did overhear one of the employees telling a customer the lamb taco was their most popular dish, so next time I’ll have to give that a shot.
But in the meantime, if you find yourself stuck looking for a place that serves great-tasting food with big servings, look no further than Tiki Tacos. They have a little something for everyone, and it won’t break the bank.