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Coming Up

  • Next on 'Ono Kine Grindz:

    The Wedding Cafe, Manoa

    Recently Consumed:

    Zaney's, Downtown Honolulu
    Bob's Bar-B-Que, Kalihi
    Restaurant Yamagen, Moili'ili

    Below you will find a never ending list of restaurants that I want to visit or re-visit:

    Young's Fish Market
    Alan Wong's Pineapple Room
    Cafe Sistina
    Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
    Yakiniku Toraji
    Sushi Masa
    Ono Hawaiian Foods
    Tsukuneya Robata Grill

    If you would like to give me a tip on a new restaurant that is opening up, or give me a recommendation on some of your favorite restaurants, please send an e-mail to:

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    The following posts should be completed someday (!):

    New Diner's Drive In
    Border Grill
    Penang Malaysian
    Chez Panisse
    Zuni Cafe
    Indonesia Restaurant
    Boston's North End Pizza
    Happy Inn
    Kat's Sushi
    Fritz's European Bakery
    Makino Chaya
    Singapore/Bangkok Posts
    Chin's Kahala
    Hata Restaurant
    Ebisu Catering Service
    Bubba Burgers
    The Eggberts
    Blossoming Lotus
    Hamura Saimin Stand
    Bob's Big Boy

    WHEW! I hope to have them done by year's end!

    Upcoming adventures

    San Francisco, CA

    Sydney, NSW, Australia

    London, UK
    Paris, France
    Chicago, IL
    Seoul, South Korea
    I won't be able to visit Korea this year.
    San Francisco, CA
    New Orleans, LA
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Shanghai, China

    Hopefully, some of you can provide me with recommendations for some good eats!

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« Little Village Noodle House | Main | Helena's Hawaiian Food »

May 31, 2004



Hi Diane,

Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed reading everyone's comments. It seems as though Giovanni's is as popular with visitors as it is with the locals.

Hope the recipe that you found posted works out for you.


hi anyone
i am an old friend of connie aragonas from australia, who lost contact, i have just found about what went on with the shrimp truck in 03, does anyone know which jail she went to and would it be possible to contact her my email is


I don't think you can get that kind of information off the internet so I would suggest you contact her attorney Dwight Lum.
By the way, I found the best creole/jambalaya sauce I have ever tasted out of a jar. They sell it at Smart and Final in San Diego mainly because they are not a big company but if you get the chance you have to try it. It's called Brendory's. Here is the link.


Hi Reid,
I tried the recipe posted, but I placed all the garlic (10 cloves) in the marinade, and then it says after you cook the shrimp to remove shrimp and cook the garlic. Well, I think the garlic was supposed to separate and not in the marinade? What do you think? I'd like to try it again soon. It tasted okay, but nothing like the original! Thanks.


I was in Hawaii last summer ('04) visiting my auntie in Oahu, she took me to Giovanni's and I fell in love. I think about the shrimp truck all the time. The next time I come to the island, I think I will try to find someplace to stay closer to the North Shore just so I can have shrimp every day! Thanks so much for posting the pics, recipes, and information!


Hi Diane,

Thank you for visting my blog. Unfortunately, I haven't tried the recipe posted, however, what you could do is marinate the shrimp first, then heat the marinade in the pan to cook the garlic just a bit. Remove the garlic and cook the shrimp in two batches. Pour the resulting sauce over the cooked shrimp after plating. I'm going to try to visit Giovanni's again this weekend. Hope it's not too crowded. If anything, once I taste the shrimp again, I can let you know what I think should be done to the recipe posted above.

Hi Courtney,

Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving me a comment. I like the shrimp at Giovanni's as well, and hope to stop by there this weekend. I agree that if you really like the shrimp there, you should stay somewhere nearby. How's about at Turtle Bay? The hotel and bungalows have been recently renovated, or so I've been told...and you're very welcome! =)

Mathy Kandasamy

ah! Giovanni's Shrimp Scampi. The taste is still memorable even after 5 years.

Reading your blog really makes me homesick. I have decided to move back to Hawaii as soon as I can. Being a non American, it is quite impossible. But Am going to try! :)


A request!

As I said, I am missing Hawaii a lot. And now that I blog, want to write about the places i've been to in and around Honolulu. But, I dont have photos to go with it. I will give a permanent link to your blog with a 'thankyou note'. Would you let me use your lovely photos?

Waiting anxiously,

mathygrps at gmail dot com


Hi Mathy,

You're more than welcome to link to my photos as long as you credit my weblog. Good luck on your blog. I'll be sure to stop by and check it out!


It tasted nothing like the original because the bottled sauce is not the same sauce as they use on the truck. In fact I was told that they thought about stopping to sell the sauce because people complained since it was not the same. They were going to produce it and bottle it in California but for a reason I do not know, they never did. I know how the original sauce is made but I cannot say. I know that sounds rude and I'm sorry. All I can tell you is the shrimp are marinated for a specific time and then grilled. They don't take the shrimp out or anything like that. If you use the bottled sauce you may have to do that but I don't know. The original sauce is way more simple than what everyone thinks. There is no paprika, lemon juice, white wine etc.. in it. Ok , now that I have frustrated you by telling you everything but what's really in it, I'll leave now...sorry... If you smell a lot of garlic coming from someone's home, that may be me cooking the shrimp :)


Hi Wes,
Funny you should write... I just tried making it again last night. Didn't really work again. Before my shrimp scampi experience at Giovanni's, I really never cooked shrimp, but I find it easy and readily available to cook. So, I just might try getting really good shrimp and try the butter, garlic, salt combo, cuz you can't go wrong with that combination! Then I'll figure out what to add to make it better. Thanks so much for the info. Now, I won't try so hard to copy it, if I know its not really the same! We will just have to visit Giovanni's again really soon!


Diane, I have not got the recipe....yet...still experimenting. For starters though, try replacing the butter with a good olive oil.

Wes...going to Oauhu in July. Anything I can bring you back?



I visited Hawaii in Sept of 05 and had my first taste then and have been trying to replicate it since.
I see the chain is about a year old now has there been any successful recipes yet?

Randy from K.C.Mo.

This place sucked

I tried this place with my wife during our Honeymoon trip to Hawaii after hearing all the hype. The food isn't bad, but the girl running the truck at the time was flat out rude. We even decided to give it a second chance a couple days later and the girl was just as rude. On top of that the menu posted seems to exist to add flavor to the truck and does not serve any real purpose as the ONLY thing they actually served both times was the 'scampi.

Tom S.

I knew Connie in 2001;nice woman.
I think her venture at the Sturgis
S.D.Biker week bankrupted her. Her
stand did not do well and she had
invested 10's of thousands, alot
borrowed. I think she came back to
the islands, her back to the wall
and knowing bikers fell into a
crazy extortion scheme that sent
her to prison. She was having
disputes with Troy the guy she
extorted too; wrong way to win
a business dispute that's for
sure. I remember her as a
very religious woman too. She
must have thought she was in
the right and the end justified
the means (pretty bad - the
bikers pistol whipped Troy).
No sympathy from the judge -
20 years and she lost her
handicapped daughter to foster
care. I think she is in prison
in Kentucky where Hawaii sends
women prisoners under a contract.
I have 2 bottles of the sauce
still in my frig - wonder if
it is still good. Connie would
love to know people are blogging
her sauce. Pray for her and
hope she can get a parole before
too much of her life goes by.


Has anyone gotten close to the recipe yet? I've tried many recipe but am not able to duplicate.

Thanks for sharing.


Having used the bottled sauce in the past, the key was to heat the 8 ounce bottle of sauce with one stick of butter in a pan - then it tasted exactly like the good ole days on the truck... We went there today for good eats and were disappointed - it has changed from the good ole days. Found anoher place - Holy Smokes over in Haileweh (sp?) (next to the other Giovanni's truck) had a great hot shrimp sauce (with capers of all things) and promises to make it hotter if you want! Tasty after a marginal meal at Giovannis...

Uncle Moki's Original Hawaiian  Shrimp Scampi Los Angeles

If you liked the old Original John Aragona scampi you will love what his former associate has brought to Los Angeles. There is not a single joint left on Oahu who can match this shrimp. Say that Uncle Bob sent you and get a FREE SAMPLE PLATE. Since John and Connie are gone Uncle Moki's has the guaranteed best Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi anywhere. 3560 S. La Cienega Blvd. Next to the Taco Bell.


from hawaii live in vegas giovannis is a must!!! soooooooo onolicious :) bought some harpos scampi sauce to take home almost da same hehehe

Kim Johnson

A must when visiting Oahu (from South Kona) is a trip to the shrimp shacks-I never remember the names, but where they are situated. I like the bright yellow truck place, and also the one on the flats next to shrimp ponds (Romy's I believe). We tried Giovanni's (the one by the Mill) last trip-January '06- and were underwhelmed. It was okay but just not as good as others and rather grimey. I haven't been to Uncle Moki's in Los Angeles yet, but the Killer Shrimp on Washington Blvd. in Venice is the best shrimp every-spicy and addictive. It is the first and last resturant visited every trip mainland!
Grind On- Kim


I thought I had gotten the recipe just right at one time but kind of forgot about it until I bought a bunch of shrimp. I will have to search and post later. The one thing I want to mention is that you must use roasted garlic in the recipe. Can't you all remember how dark the garlic was?? Try with all the ideas listed but use roasted garlic instead.
Janey Hansen
Oahu visitor 2005

Jim McCarthy

I live in Campbell, Calif. near San francisco. I've visited your little shrimp wagon many times when I visit Oahu. It is just delicious and the best anywhere. Where may I buy your Scampi Marinade and the Hot and Spicy here on the mainland?

Is it possible to order it from your supplier on Oahu.

Looking forward to hearing from you



fyi, i have it pretty good authority that many of the shrimp trucks use frozen, not fresh shrimp that may not even be from oahu or kauai (also known for their shrimp). some of those north shore/windward side shrimp trucks buy mainland frozen shrimp and bank on the fact that kahuku does have wonderful shrimp farms to lead their customers to believe they're eating hawaiian products.

of the many shrimp trucks on that side, i know for sure that romy's and one other truck mentioned in the advertiser's review of shrimp trucks use shrimp from the shrimp farms. there may be others, but those are the only two i know are guaranteed fresh kahuku shrimp.

to me, if you're paying $$$ for what you believe to be a certain quality of product, and moreso, that the product is from a specific location (the whole kitsch of eating at a shrimp truck is based on eating shrimp from the shrimp farms that are right there or near there), then it's a travesty that so many are being misled on purpose for profit.

my source of info on this? my beau, whose uncle is a kahuku shrimp farmer.

just so you guys know.


Kim Johnson is frickin nuts! I have been to other shrimp trucks on Oahu and I have always held that Giovanni's (kahuku) is the BEST on Oahu! Even the truck in Haleiwa was a ghetto, grimy version of the Kahuku truck. Less flavor, more grease. yuck.
I don't know how the shrimp in KOna tastes, but all of my friends who eat at Gio's also agree that it is the best on the island. Well worth the drive from town ;)
As a matter of fact, I think we will drive up there this weekend.

C Anderson

Ate 4 times at different trucks this past week, and FUMI'S by the shrimp ponds was by far the best..and the shrimp was fresh from the ponds. Just had the scampi..

Carl Golden

My family and I eat there one day and just loved it !! We went back a few time, but it is hard to pay $60.00 for road side lunch for a family of five! That is not your problem !! Well sorry, it is mostly down hill from there. The second to the last time that I eat there my wife and I were free from the kids and had a hot $25.00 so we ordered the scampi, after waiting the 10 or so minutes we got our plates and Toni's was ok but mine was cold including the rice. The last time I went to the counter to ask a question about buying your sauce the girl was not friendly. I like many others were there before you on that spot, when it was a railroad track, the factory was up and running. All we want is just " FRIENDLY" and
$11.00 worth of heat, ice, and food You must make, I guess $1500.00 per day, show us your appreciation through your employees. Also once
I stood in front of the window and I could see the stove that was cooking the shrimp, the steam was rising us and collecting on the very dirty and dusty fan that was right above the stove and if you watched very carefully about every ten seconds you could see a very dark drop fall back onto the stove or hot plate. After all is said and done we are going to stop and eat there again.

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