The Bites at Puka Dog ~ Koloa, HI
I hadn’t heard of Puka Dog before I was dragged here by a coworker. We were on Kauai for the day and had a very tight window for an opportunity to get a bite to eat I figured since we were in Lihue we’d checkout some joint in the area. But noooo. He had to drive us half way across the island to Koloa off of Poipu Road.
While I was annoyed at the distance we traveled for a bite to eat, I was even more perturbed when we arrived and there was a line snaking around the mall. Seriously? For a hot dog?
I begrudgingly waited in line. The restaurant itself is rather small– just a little bigger than a food truck with some picnic tables.
When we got close enough I finally got a glimpse of their menu. It didn’t take a long for me to realize they aren’t serving ballpark hot dogs. They serve the equivalent of the filet mignon of hot dogs.
The concept itself isn’t all that revolutionary. Basically they take a bun and slam it onto a hot metal spike that creates a hole or “puka” as the locals call it in pidgin. The spike is part of a toaster that warms up the inside just enough to give the bun some body. Then, you have your option of relishes, and its the relishes that make all the difference.
They have mango, pineapple, papaya, coconut, banana, etc. You can also choose a mustard like Lilikoi which must have been created by God himself. I chose a Puka with Coconut and another with Lilikoi. After you choose, they fill the Puka with your selected relish or mustard and then slide in a grilled Polish Sausage or Veggie Dog–I stuck with real meat.
They hand you the Puka Dog in a paper wrapper which keeps any of the relish from dripping out. It works just fine. I also ordered a lemonade to go with my dogs. It’s fresh and was just as good as any lemonade they serve in the deep South.
My first bite into my coconut Puka was nothing short of divine intervention. That dog was like nothing I have ever had and likely will never have except on Kauai. Maybe it’s just the environment or the combination of the lemonade, I do not know. What I do know is before I finished my first one, I got back in line and bought two more for the road. I kept them nice and warm and when I arrived back on Oahu later that evening, I had a second round of goodness.
Best Hotdogs ever. Service was crazy uber slow, but with that good of a product, it’s worth two times the wait: which it technically was for me since I waited in line twice.
(Let’s do it again for our non-pidgin speaking friends)