A Southern Seafood SoireeFeatures Inside Feature
September 20, 2015
Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
From the highest praise, received from the endearingly protruding lips of Forrest Gump’s army pal Bubba Blue, to homage paid via Elvis Presley’s 1967 iconic film “Clam-bake,” the deliciously mussel-ed merits of southern-inspired seafood boils have long been a signature staple in American cuisine. For a taste of them right here in the Islands, you can venture to local eatery Cajun King, which specializes in these steamy affairs.
Seafood boils showcase the best of what these water-sourced treasures have to offer. Picture fresh-caught shrimp, crawfish, clams and more, thrown in a bag with a selection of spices so rowdy it’ll have you runnin’ for some southern sweet tea — then runnin’ straight back for more of these addictive eats.
Unlike Bubba Blue, who would favor the classic shrimp boil served solo, patrons at Cajun King may choose from much, much more in the way of seafood options, including lobster, Dungeness crab, King Crab, Snow Crab, shrimp, clams, crawfish or mussels.
The eatery first opened in Aiea in 2013, and it wasn’t long before its mouthwatering cuisine reached a growing number of islanders when the second location debuted in Kaneohe last fall.
Once you’ve picked your savory seafood selection at Cajun King, choose among seasonings of cajun style, garlic butter, lemon garlic butter, plain and simple, or black bean sauce. And the final step before you bag it up is to add a little caliente, and ask yourself: “How much can I handle?” With mild, medium or volcanic levels of heat, you decide just how spicy you’d like your meal.
Upon your next visit to Cajun King’s Aiea branch, located in Waimalu Shopping Center, try these savory concoctions, sure to spice up your life.
With your gloves and apron on, you’ll want to get hands-on with Cajun King’s Combo No. 3 ($55). Easily enough to feed two to three people, this meal is full of King Crab legs, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, and clams, and comes with sides of potato, two corns on the cob, four sausages and rice.
Cajun King’s co-owner Tony Siakkhasone-Lai also suggests bringing some local flavors into the mix with Asian Style Salt & Pepper Dungeness Crab ($33). It features live (never frozen) Dungeness crab wok-fried with salt, pepper and herbs.
“You can really taste the difference in the freshness here, versus when other restaurants serve first-frozen seafood,” Siakkhasone-Lai shares.
And speaking of fresh and never frozen items, step on over to the raw bar to sample a Half Dozen Oysters ($14), showcasing Pacific oysters from Vancouver, shucked the same day, and served chilled on the half shell with a smidgeon of ponzu sauce and green onion.
Siakkhasone-Lai has yet another stellar suggestion, stating that Chicken Wings ($9) served (regular or cajun spiced) with a side of french fries (also cajun or regular spiced), are “quite popular with children, those who aren’t fans of seafood, or for those who may have allergies.”
Specializing in “serving great food with great service,” Siakkhasone-Lai invites all to come and see for themselves what all the buzz is about. The popular eatery even has options—including a private room that holds up to 30—for private events. For dining parties of five or more, Cajun King kindly suggests calling ahead for reservations.
Waimalu Shopping Center
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.