Hawaii shrimp food truck- inspired garlic shrimp

As inspired by our vacation in Oahu in 2019, I re-created the shrimp and rice dish that we had at one of the food trucks on Oahu’s North Shore. Shrimp trucks are popular in Hawaii — just watch Hawaii 5-0 (or not! LOL!) where Kamekono’s Shrimp Truck was a fun mainstay of the show showcasing Hawaii’s local food culture.

Please check out my North Shore Oahu Shrimp Truck post here where I posted yummy photos of our shrimp plate and food trucks in the town of Haleiwa in Oahu.

This dish is so easy to make and so delicious! Buttery and garlicky shrimp over hot rice make this the ultimate comfort food! Make it as spicy as you want.

A little note on vegan butter

I also want to mention that in order to lessen the guilt, I used vegan butter for the first time. I really could not tell the difference between dairy butter and vegan. It so happened that the vegan butter was on sale at Costco. The woman right next to me was looking intently at it as well. I asked her if she had it before and she told me that being European, she grew up on Miyoko’s Creamery brand and it is good. There you go, use vegan butter if it matters to you although this is obviously not a vegan dish. (I am going to try this on tofu next time instead of shrimp.) Oh, just to be clear, this is not a sponsored post.

Hawaii Shrimp Truck-Inspired Garlic Shrimp

To Make:

  1. Combine flour, paprika and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  2. Drench the shrimp in the flour mixture.
  3. Heat pan over low heat. Add olive oil until hot then add butter.
  4. Add garlic to the pan oil. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Watch it while cooking for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook the shrimp until it turns pink, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the shrimp and cook on the other side until slightly brown.
  6. Add salt and pepper if desired, and cook for another minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and serve over hot rice.
  8. Squeeze lemon over the shrimp.
  9. Serve with parsley (optional).


  1. Shrimp truck-style Garlic Shrimp in Hawaii is traditionally served with shell on. However, I really did not want to deal with the shell while eating this at home. (Peeling off the shell while eating this dish on a gorgeous hot day in Hawaii is fun. Not so much during the chilly spring weather in at home! At least not for me.)
  2. I used very good quality frozen shrimp also because I did not want to peel and devein but it could easily be done. Just add another 10 minutes to the prep time.
  3. I also used already peeled but fresh garlic from Trader Joe’s. Easy peasy is my middle name. LOL!
  4. Wait for the garlic to brown a little before turning off the stove in order to get that nice crusty texture.
  5. I put a little bit of Italian seasoning on top of my shrimp before eating it. The heat will incorporate the seasoning. Totally optional and not like what I had in Oahu but it was delicious. Use parsley as well if you want instead of Italian seasoning or omit.

Did you make Hawaiian Shrimp Truck-Inspired Garlic Shrimp? Please let me know by leaving a comment on the blog. Enjoy!

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