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Just steps away from the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, located in the Kings’ Shops, is Hawaii Island favorite, Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum. Created for the legacy of popular big wave surfer Eddie Aikau, this Waikoloa restaurant is a hotspot for locals and visitors who want a taste of Hawaiian cuisine. As the restaurant takes a contemporary approach to preparing traditional island dishes, a meal at Eddie Aikau is easily layered with fresh flavors and local history.
Maui-born Eddie Aikau remains one of the most well-known surfers in Hawaiian culture, whose impact on the surf community still holds a strong importance. Aikau rose to fame on the islands for his mastery of surfing, as well as becoming the first lifeguard in Hawaii, specifically in Waimea Bay.
Aikau did tremendous work on the North Shore of Oahu, where under his watchful eye, not one drowning occurred. His courage was tested in 1978, when the Hokule’a, a voyaging canoe, set sail from Hawaii to Tahiti. The canoe capsized off the coast of Moloka’I, leaving Aikau and the crew in dangerous waters. Aikau paddled out on his surfboard towards Lanai to get help, but unfortunately was never seen again.
The Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum is a tribute, not only to the legendary surfer, but also to the unique blends of tropical flavors found only in Hawaiian cuisine. Award-winning Chef Scott Lutey, also a Maui native, has created a modern menu that blends local ingredients into Asian Fusion dishes. Although centrally located in a shopping area, stepping into the restaurant calls for a casual, laid back atmosphere, the perfect place to enjoy Lutey’s cuisine.
Starting appetizers and salads are in no shortage on the menu. The Kalua pork spring rolls showcase a flavorful Hawaiian classic of Kalua pork, served with pickled cucumbers and a guava chili.
Staying true to local fruits, pairing this dish with guava takes it to the next tropical level. A watermelon salad is a refreshing way to get a great dose of greens. Served with Waimea greens and juicy watermelon, this salad continues to use local products to create delicious dishes. A creamy goat cheese is added onto the salad, along with candied macadamia nuts that give a balanced crunch.
For any food lover, it is hard, sometimes nearly impossible, to resist a good pork belly. The pork belly entrée at Eddie Aikau is surely not one that can be passed up by any means. A generous portion of succulent pork belly is presented on a plate that will make anyone’s mouth water. Served atop a bed of sweet potatoes, the creaminess of the potatoes blends well with the meat. Accompanying the pork belly is a bed of greens, along with a row of jumbo shrimp. Any appetite can be easily fulfilled after tasting this masterfully created dish.
Another entree that is not to be missed at Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum is the ‘Ahi and Shrimp entrée. The ‘ahi tuna is sliced and presented beautifully on the plate to show how it is seared to a rare perfection. Biting into the slices of ‘ahi reveal a level of freshness that could only come from being caught locally.
Chef Lutey takes full advantage of the restaurant’s proximity to the sea and highlights the great seafood in Hawaii. Served with the ‘ahi tuna is a grouping of shrimp, prepared to perfection. Along with the seafood, this plate is served with mashed potatoes and drizzled with a ring of macadamia nut pesto.
Utilizing locally grown and sourced ingredients is a main staple behind the restaurant’s cuisine. Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum takes pride in supporting the local community and sources their products from nearby farms, such as Wow Farm Tomatoes, Fresh Fish Asa, Hamakua Macadamia Nuts, and King Ocean Farms, among many others.
It is this sense of giving back to the community that Eddie Aikau himself continuously strived to do as a lifeguard. Aikau’s legacy continues to do exactly that with this restaurant, as it serves the community with history as well as unparalleled Hawaiian cuisine.
Image Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/EddieAikauRestaurant