Although gourmet food trucks are relatively new to Los Angeles, locals and tourists in Hawai'i have long enjoyed lunching off the famed Giovanni's Shrimp Truck on the North Shore of Oahu.
Inspired by a trip to Oahu and a meal at Giovanni's, Rich Narne and Rico Libang founded The Shrimp Guys. Their website states that their objective is to evoke memories of Hawai'i for its customers--a surefire way to this girl's heart! Although The Shrimp Guys has been up and running for several months, Rich and Rico have been busy with catering and have taken to the streets only in the last few weeks.
After stalking The Shrimp Guys on Twitter for weeks, I caught up to them at NELAart Night in Eagle Rock.
After chatting with Rich and Rico while the grill fired up, I found myself surprised that neither owner is from Hawai'i. Both are so genuinely friendly and passionate about their food and the 808 state that they ooze with "aloha spirit."
In an homage to Giovanni's, The Shrimp Guys, of course, offers Garlic Butter Shrimp. To make things their own, however, Rich and Rico also have Coconut Lime Shrimp on the menu and will serve specials such as Loco Moco (rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and gravy) and Shrimp Tacos. All shrimp is available regular or spicy, and all shrimp plates cost $9.00 (drink included).
Rich offered the make a special plate for me and J with half garlic butter and half coconut lime shrimp. We really enjoyed watching the Shrimp Guys cook this mound of shrimp on their giant flat-top and eagerly awaited our dinner.
Let me state for the record that your $9.00 will go far. Our plate was absolutely loaded with shrimp and three scoops of rice, which soaked up the tasty flavors of the shrimp.
The garlic butter shrimp did not disappoint. Each shrimp had a delightful crunch that packed a garlic-y punch. Although my inner fat kid wanted the shrimp to drip with butter, I certainly did not complain about the lovely garlic flavor that prevailed in the dish.
My favorite of the two, however, was the coconut lime shrimp. Topped with a sweet and spicy mango salsa that reminded me of my Dad's own mango salsa (major bonus points here), the coconut lime shrimp had the perfect amount of flavor. Dishes such as this are all too often overpoweringly sweet, but the Shrimp Guys have done it right with a subtle sweetness that is enhanced by the salsa. I'll be back again soon to order a whole plate of this for myself.
Although some may balk at the $9.00 price tag, here is my logic. Many Angelenos rave about the Grilled Cheese Truck, whose sandwiches will set you back around $8.00. With all due respect, will one grilled cheese fill you up? No. Is it something you could attempt on your own? Indubitably. A plate from The Shrimp Guys will definitely fill you up with restaurant-quality food that you may not cook for yourself every day.
The Shrimp Guys are friendly, hilarious and are serving delicious food (and lots of it) with a drink (they even have Hawaiian Sun juice!). You're paying for quantity and quality...and a little taste of Hawai'i.
The Shrimp Guys