182 – On The Honolulu-Honshu Connection: Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House, Eastwood Mall

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This restaurant is now defunct; I passed by its old spot at Eastwood Mall’s ground floor, and found the space boarded up. Timestamp: 8 January 2020, 07:25 am.)

Expect Pearl Harbor to come up most of the time whenever the words Japan and Hawaii are mentioned in a sentence. December 7, 1941 is a date immortalized in history due to the attack on the eponymous naval base—now a National Historic Landmark. However, Japan-Hawaii relations started as early as the 1800s with King Kamehameha I helping a few shipwrecked Japanese sailors return home. (Manga artist Akira Toriyama would use the king’s name as Son Goku’s signature move in his Dragon Ball series.) More Japanese nationals would arrive years later as laborers in the island’s pineapple plantations. By the 1930s, the descendants of these laborers would be considered as Americans after a 1900 law – stating that persons born in Hawaii after April 30, 1900 are counted as citizens by birth.

Putting that short history lesson aside, Hawaiian cuisine is influenced by the native populations – but the Japanese also contributed in their own way. Okazuya-style tempura, with a simpler yet puffier batter, is a popular staple in restaurants. In addition, I just realized that poke (an appetizer made with raw fish, rice, and seasonings) is slightly similar to the Japanese dish tekonezushi (marinated red fish, vinegared rice, and garnish). The similarity can be noticed with both dishes’ use of red fish such as tuna, serving the fish on a bed of rice, and the variety of toppings and garnishes that can be used—thanks to this post by Anne.

Thankfully, I don’t need to book a flight to Honolulu just to have a taste of Hawaii. Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House brings the flavor of the islands in the middle of Libis. They have another branch at Newport Mall within Resorts World Manila, but it’s far from where I am. Located at the ground floor of Eastwood Mall, this restaurant takes cues from Hawaiian surf shacks. You get transported to the beaches of North Shore as soon as you enter; reggae tunes playing in the background add to the tropical vibe of the place. Even the staff wear summer attire; the female servers wear hula grass skirts, while the male crew are clad in floral polos. It just saddened me that I didn’t hear the ukulele version of  “Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole during the times I visited. Why so, you may ask? Braddah Iz is a legend in Hawaii, and an authentic Hawaiian experience would not be complete without his memorable tune.

Now, on to the food. Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House does its namesake crustacean right—from shrimp baskets for appetizers, to entire shrimp buckets the whole family can share. I can attest that they always have fresh shrimps ready, and my personal favorite is their honey garlic shrimp. If you’re not a fan of seafood or are allergic to it, don’t fret; Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House also has grilled specialties on the menu. Specialties such as ribs, chicken, and pork grilled the Big Island way are available for those with dietary restrictions. The restaurant also has poke bowls (either tuna or salmon) and smoothie bowls to cap off a hearty seafood meal. The thought of shrimp buckets are overwhelming if you’re dining alone, but don’t let that discourage you from visiting. The lunch specials at Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House deserve special mention—most of the dishes I’ve tried here are easy on the pocket. (Just a note on the lunch specials: they are only available at this particular branch.)

Okay, surf’s up! Here’s a few of the Hawaiian fare I ordered.

Do visit their Facebook and Instagram pages to stay abreast with their latest promotions. Until the next review, mahalo a e ‘ai kākou!

Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House   
G/F Eastwood Mall,
Eastwood City, Bagumbayan,
Libis, Quezon City 1110


4 thoughts on “182 – On The Honolulu-Honshu Connection: Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House, Eastwood Mall

  1. I’ve never been to any shrimp specialty restos but I’ve been planning to visit one for the longest time. Kaso when I get hungry, Chinese is always my go to. (because I love dumplings! I love Nido soup!) I always forget that I have to try those restos pa nga pala.

    Grabe lang yung “a few” of what you ordered. Ang daaaami!

    • Hehe, may plot twist diyan: most of the ones I ordered do not go beyond P350 😉 Lunch specials kasi karamihan, and those are part of Johnny Kahuku’s offerings for the Eastwood crowd 😀

      Natuwa nga ako kasi kilala na nila ako, to the extent na alam nilang hindi ako umiinom ng malamig na tubig haha =))

  2. Wow, I’ve just known the fact that Goku’s popular attack is taken from King Kamehameha’s name!
    Nice fact about Hawaii history.
    I have an Hawaiian friend, he was a volunteer at my work place. He taught the kids about Hawaiian language, like mahalo (thank you), Ohana (family, I guess) and other simple things like boy ang girl in Hawaiian. and not to forget: “Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. When he told the kids about a Hawaiian song, I was surprised, “Is that a Hawaiian song?!” Then I got a new fact again, yes that is a song by a Hawaiian musician.

    • Thanks! 🙂 For Braddah Iz’s song, I used to hear it in a news program on the morning radio when I was a kid…and it was stuck ever since. Loved the ukuleles, and it calms you for some reason 😀

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