Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp, O’ahu

Aloha from Waikiki, O’ahu!

We stumbled upon the world-famous Giovanni’s White Shrimp truck at the north shore of O’ahu today, at Kahuku. Along the drive to the north shore, there are many shrimp trucks selling shrimp scampi, garlic shrimp or shrimp plates; there are also a few road site joints selling live shrimps caught from the nearby shrimp farms.

Totally unassuming in its appearance and set-up, Giovanni’s shrimp is basically a mobile truck selling shrimp, but their shrimp is known to be the best on the island of O’ahu according to the locals and also many guide books. Plus, a truck load of people waiting eagerly in line for their shrimp can’t be wrong.

One local told me that the current operator is the second owner and bought the business from the original “Giovanni” for a hefty $400,000, including his secret recipes. Giovanni then regretted his decision and got some local thugs to try to take back the business but to no avail. From what I gather, this shrimp truck is a mean business and a cash cow that pulls in thousands of cash by selling only shrimp plates, priced at $13 for a dozen of shrimp with two scoops of white rice.

I tried out Giovanni’s signature shrimp scampi and hot and spicy shrimp but opted out the rice. The shrimp is delicious! I am especially partial to the hot and spicy shrimp in their special blend of hot sauce. The spicy shrimp got my tongue burning with the fiery kick from the hot sauce but I wanted more. The shrimp scampi was good, but I thought it lacks salt.

In any case, as a shrimp fan, I thoroughly enjoyed Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp. The throng of tourists and locals who patiently waited for their shrimp plates obviously enjoyed their meals very much, too.

Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp
Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku,
O’ahu North Shore, Hawaii


  1. Hi!! I discovered your site among foodblog and I like very much. I often read you.
    Today I have to submit a comment, because I have been in O’ahu last summer and I enjoyed the shrimps and all the Island….Well, thank you to your post you are remembering me of a great Holiday!
    How long are you staying in Hawaii?

  2. Mmm, I agree, people standing in line to buy shrimps can’t be wrong! These sound yummy.

  3. Hi! i love ur website and have made a few of ur dishes, of wich the Cashew Chicken is a family favorite, as is the Kung Pow Chicken! I love the tip of baking soda. makes the chicken so soft!

    Today i opened ur site in hope of seeing the recipe to these delicious shrimps im reading about but alas! there are only pictures tempting me even more!

    Kindly post some recipes for spicy shrimps, or garlic shrimps. My husband and I love shrimps and squid, and especially those made in spicy sauces.

    Also, do u know anything about peanuts roasted in a sweet and spicy chilly paste?
    Ive had some at a local Szechuan Chinese place and they are simply delicious. Would love to have their secret recipe… or yours if u have one.

    An avid fan of your recipes,

  4. Bee I was there in 07 and actually ate at giovanni’s..killer good

  5. Gio’s is pretty good. Have you had some good Hawaiian food here on Oahu yet? I have a couple recommendations!

  6. Its rather strange that over here shrimps are both a poor man’s enjoyment ( prawn mee/ckt ) and also a rich man’s ( drunken prawn ) luxury ! Tts nutritious & delicious but sadly many older people in Malaysia avoid it as “got too high cholesterol” ( which we think is ignorance of the highest order )

  7. I was just there yesterday!!! Sorry I missed you by 1 day.

  8. We’ve been to Giovanni’s. Love eating the sauce w/ the rice!!! Yum.

  9. I live in Honolulu. While here you should try the garlic ahi at Irifune’s at Kapahulu Ave, near Waikiki.

  10. Delish Bee! Thanks for the tip. Next time I’m in O’ahu I’m definitely stopping by.

  11. been on a shrimp kick lately and this looks delicious!

  12. Hmm.. I must be the exception then. I’ve been to Oahu twice (2001 and 2006) and I got to say the shrimps and prawns at Giovanni is really not that great to me. It is basically bland shrimp (not marinated obviously), boiled/sauted and served over heavy heavy sauce. Something that reminds me of the bad chinese take out in US. Reminds me of General Tso chicken – breaded fried chicken with sweet sauce dumped over it. Also, the hot sauce is generally too hot for you to actually enjoy the sweetness of the shrimps and prawns. Funny they insist I try the sauce first in a souffle cup before making up a batch for me.

    OTOH, around north shore area at one particular grocery store, I came across a guy in a pickup truck grilling chicken in the parking lot. That was at least good. Reminds me of Ayam Mas.

  13. Aloha,
    I live here in Honolulu and everything on your blog looks delicious!! My husband and I are foodies so if you need any suggestions, just let me know. There is one place you must try. It’s called Side Street Inn. Not too far from Waikiki. If you get a chance to go there, you have to at least try the fried rice and spicy chicken.
    Have fun!!

  14. What makes it a white shrimp? Is it a white/pale variety of shrimp? Does it refer to the cooking process like “white boiled chicken”?

  15. I use a Canon Rebel 500D.

  16. Eh, you stay Hawaii!

    Shrimp at another truck (Romy’s) is better.

    Be sure to visit our Chinatown. Eat the Chinese Beef Stew made with beef tendon at Eastern Chinese Food Center on Hotel St.

    • Ooooh, I will have to try Romy’s the next time. I must go back again soon!!

    • Romy’s is also very good, but the line is too long. I like Giovanni’s much better. You can ask for extra garlic sauce or purchase a side order of rice with garlic butter for $1. OMG, I could make a meal from just the rice with garlic butter.

      If you decide to try Romy’s, I suggest you call in your order ahead of time.

  17. I tried these famous shrimps. I HAD to try them when i read about them on a local hawaii food blog…. [] and, i’m not sure if i liked them, but i’m glad i tried them. the shrimps were cooked rather tough in texture, tho spicy and flavored enough. I can’t say the the other “trucks” were better. it was rather simple to replicate tho. butter, salt, tobasco, pepper and lots of garlic, omit the tobasco and pepper for your basic shrimp scampi. you can kick it up by adding some thai chilies, and of course lemon….. make the sauce first by slowly blanching garlic in butter then adust the heat by adding tobasco, pepper and/or crushed chili. merry the flavors. then add shrimp and quickly cook. i definitely think the shrimp scampi is better had elsewhere. and i didn’t think local farmed raised shrimps that were used were better than others you can find at any local market, it didn’t seem so for me.

    hope you ate well….. i know i did when i was there….

    • I did eat very well. Yeah, it’s really not that hard to make the shrimp scampi, but there is no shrimp truck like that elsewhere and that’s what makes it so special and delicious!

  18. I love Giovanni’s. In an effort to play the pity card, I sent photos of the truck & my food back to my office during a site visit a couple of years ago and told them that in the interest of trying to save the company money, i was eating out of a truck.

  19. Love it that you’re covering my neck of the woods. Giovanni’s is a must when circling Oahu. Glad you think it’s a charm, too.! Hope you filled you opu (stomach) on your visit here.

  20. Wow, those shrimps look really good! Just too bad Hawaii is a world away from where I am now :(

  21. The best scampi I ever had!!! The hot sauce is fiery and delicious!!!

    Just an FYI – Giovanni didn’t send his thugs to get the truck back. It was his ex-wife and her thugs who did the dirty deed and she’s still doing time for the crime.

  22. Ana Tarape says:

    Do you have the recipe for this?

  23. Hey..looks good!! Can you somehow work out a recipe for this? hahahaa.. both garlic and hot & spicy flavour.. thanks!! waiting for it…

  24. Garlic Shrimp yummmyyy….
    You should try this out with bit of more curry and with plain rice…
    You can’t beat that combination. Simply mind blowing…

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