Cajun-style seafood makes a splashAli Carte Columns
November 23, 2014
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
When Cajun King opened in Aiea’s Waimalu Shopping Center last year, the Cajun-inspired seafood boil eatery ignited the neighborhood with its refreshing way to enjoy seafood. In addition to the family-friendly fun the restaurant offers by way of bibs, gloves, hands-on dining and a roaring-good time, Cajun King has been welcomed by patrons in the community who no longer need to venture into Honolulu to satisfy cravings for this style of cuisine.
In September, the business brought its concept to Kaneohe, opening a second location at Windward City Shopping Center. “We noticed that there’s not a lot of seafood restaurants in Kaneohe and Kailua,” shares Tony Siakkhasone Lai, co-owner and partner, when explaining Cajun King’s desire to fill that niche.
According to Jin Chen, partner and overseer of the Kaneohe operation, the new location boasts the same “nom-worthy” Cajun-style eats with a local twist. As we head into the colder months, he suggests taking advantage of the prime season for fresh, flavorful Dungeness Crab, as highlighted in seafood boil Combo No. 2 ($55).
“Our Dungeness Crab is not frozen. It comes in live, so people who love Dungeness crab order it all the time,” adds Siakkhasone Lai.
All of Cajun King’s Special Combos — perfect for two to three people — come with crawfish, mussels, shrimp and clams, not to mention finger-lickin’-good potatoes, two island-grown corn on the cobs, four pieces of locally sourced Portuguese sausage and rice. Whether devouring combos or other seafood boil selections, diners may customize meals at every level, first by choosing from a range of seasonings — Cajun Style, Garlic Butter, Cajun & Garlic Butter, Lemon Garlic Butter, Plain and Simple or Black Bean Sauce (available with combos only; $5 extra) — and then by selecting no spice, mild, medium or volcanic spice levels.
Dining experiences go from feasts to seafood extravaganzas when supplementing meals with something from the Raw Bar, such as Oysters ($14 half-dozen; $28 dozen). Revel in fresh — not frozen — Pacific Oysters harvested in Vancouver, Canada and accented with touches of tobiko, ponzu sauce and green onion.
For those who prefer not to tie on the bibs and eat with their hands, utensil-friendly lunch specials are mealtime heaven. Priced at $12.99, the specials come with a choice of white or fried rice and are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Chen recommends surf-and-turf glory in the form of a half lobster (Cajun or Salt & Pepper) and New York steak lunch special, which sizzles with savoriness.
Chen and Siakkhasone Lai note that this season, Cajun King will be open during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas days, and is accepting pre-orders and reservations. Large parties can be accommodated at the eatery and the VIP room holds up to 40 patrons.
Windward City Shopping Center
45-480 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Kaneohe (Additional location at Waimalu Shopping Center in Aiea)
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.