Lotus Garden (Kauai, Summer 2022)


A couple of weeks ago I finished up my meal reports from our time on the Big Island of Hawaii. After a week’s break here now is my first report from the week we spent after that on Kauai.

Our time on the Big Island was great; Kauai, if possible, was even better. We spent all our time either in the sea or hiking—with a brief sojourn to a museum. As on the Big Island, we did not have eating as the center of any of our days. Once again we ate at places that were close to hand to wherever we needed to be. Indeed, some of my favourite meals comprised poke and wakame salad picked up from grocery stores and eaten either on a beach or at our rental. Which is not to say that we did not eat out at all. One meal a day was usually out. I begin my reports with our first meal on Kauai, eaten at a Chinese-Thai restaurant in the Princeville shopping center, not too far from where we were staying in the northern part of Kauai.

There are a large number of condo communities in Princeville; I’m guessing many/most are timeshares and rentals aimed at tourists like us. The Princeville shopping center seems aimed mostly at this crowd as well. There are a number of restaurants there. Many were not open for lunch on a Monday. But the odds that we would have ended up anywhere other than Lotus Garden even if all had been open are slim. After a week eating Hawaiian food on the Big Island we were ready for a bit more spice/heat and Lotus Garden’s Chinese/Thai menu was exactly what we were looking for and then very exactly hit the spot. Indeed, we went back there to eat again the next day between visits to beaches on either side of Princeville.

They have no indoor dining setup. Their main business is split between takeaway and outdoor dining at a nice covered area that is shared by all the restaurants that open on to it. You order, get a buzzer and snag a table. When the buzzer goes off you go pick up your food from the counter (all in recyclable containers); and when you’re done you buss your own table.

My working theory—arising from experience—of combination menu Asian restaurants is that one of the two things they proclaim is the real specialty with the other as an add-on. From a look at the menu, it appeared that Chinese might be it at Lotus Garden. Accordingly, we ordered mostly from the Chinese side of things at the first lunch. However, the one Thai dish we got at that meal (the drunken noodles) was good enough that at our second lunch we split the Chinese-Thai items 50-50 in our order. What else did we eat at the two meals?

Lunch one included the aforementioned drunken noodles, steamed fish with ginger and green onions (very good), Szechuan string beans with pork (good) and the spicy garlic sea bass (very good). At the second meal we had the pad see ew (good), the Thai curry with ono (good), the kung pao (chicken) and the spicy eggplant ginger-garlic sauce (very good). And we washed all this down with some of the local canned fruit drinks that we drank by the gallon over week on Kauai.

For a look at the setup and the food, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it all cost and to see what’s coming next.

My credit card statements tell me that both meals cost just over $80 all-in. That would be a bit high in Minnesota but absolutely par for the course in Hawaii. I would recommend Lotus Garden highly if you’re in the Princeville area and looking for something other than Hawaiian food.

All my other meal reports from Kauai, however, will be of Hawaiian food. I’ll have the first of those reports next Sunday. Before that a restaurant report from Minneapolis but not of dinner at Tenant as originally planned. That’ll be on Tuesday. And next Saturday I’ll have my penultimate report from Los Angeles.


 

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