An Invitation to Dine at the King’s TableFeatures Inside Feature
February 8, 2015
Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Conveniently located in Windward City Shopping Center, Cajun King Kaneohe marks the popular eatery’s second dine-in establishment. Open since September, the restaurant is enjoying a warm reception among patrons on the windward side of the rock.
When asked how he would best describe the type of cuisine offered at Cajun King, manager Jin Chen explains that it’s “Cajun and local flavors — together.” And even though Cajun is perhaps a niche of cuisine that is foreign to many locals, the delicious flavor fusion that bridges the best of both worlds — from Cajun country to Hawaii nei — speaks a delectable dialect everyone can understand, with the taste buds doing the translating into one simple statement — “delicious.”
The restaurant offers a unique blend of kickin’ Cajun spice and style, then literally shakes it up and adds a tropical island twist to the mix. Here, customers have their choice among fresh-off-the-boat savory lobster, Dungeness crab, snow crab legs, clams and more as their foundation, and then are able to build upon that bounty by selecting a seasoning and desired spice level to further personalize their orders.
But if you ask Chen, the secret is in the sauce. “The sauce is our specialty,” he says, “and it’s homemade.” So, now we know that it’s tasty, and made fresh in Cajun King’s kitchen, but anything further than that remains a mystery, as just like any master chef, Cajun King is keeping its secret recipe for this signature concoction close to its belt.
And speaking of belts, it may be just about time to loosen a few notches on yours, as the portions provided at this Kaneohe eatery are more than generous, and offered at an impressively affordable price for what you get. In fact, Chen assures Dining Out that most orders are more than enough to satisfy not one, but two or even three hungry patrons.
Also not to be forgotten is the fun factor of the Cajun King experience. Much like life, these meals can get messy. But lucky for us, diving into each dish is one time when “getting grubby” takes on a whole new (and mouthwatering) meaning.
So for those ready for a hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves restaurant adventure, here are just a few Cajun King classics.
Cajun King’s Combo #3 ($55) is a cornucopia of colors and tastes, chock-full of king crab legs, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, clams, and (as included with all combos) two pieces of corn on the cob, four pieces of sausage, rice and choice of sauce. The fresh seafood feast weighs in at about 4 whop-ping pounds, and is “more than enough for two or three people,” assures Chen.
Ginger and Green Onion Dungeness Crab ($33) makes a huge splash, presenting a two-and-a half to three pound crustacean steamed just to the point of perfection, and paired with ginger and green onion sauce (options of salt and pepper or black bean sauce also are available).
Patrons stopping by for some lunchtime feasting can enjoy Cajun King’s Lunch Specials. Available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, these delicious deals pack quite a punch when it comes to both flavor and value. Try Cajun Fried Shrimp ($6.99) served with rice and vegetables.
And no dining experience would be complete without Chicken Wings ($9). Cajun King’s version features eight pieces spiced just the way you like ‘em, served with your choice of french fries or rice.
“We allow customers to choose their spice level,” explains Chen. “That way the spiciness is just right for you.”
And if things get too steamy with the combos and other specials, opt for Fresh Oysters ($14) from the raw bar, a half-dozen chilled oysters on the half shell topped with green onion, fish eggs and ponzu sauce, and served with lemon wedges on the side.
“First, we boil the seafood,” explains Chen, when asked about the Cajun King cooking process, “then we put seasonings in, and mix it around in the bag to really soak in the flavor.”
So, here at Cajun King, it really is shake n’ bake, and we helped ourselves!
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.