When visiting Kauai, good food need not be expensive – and a local entrepreneur has the kudos to prove it.
Justin Hier, the founder of Porky’s food truck, keeps getting showered with compliments. In early July, in its “Best Hot Dog in Every State” feature, Travel + Leisure ranked Hier’s pork sausage creation as Hawaii’s finest, calling it “dog heaven.”
Hier serves only three types of sandwiches at his original location in Waimea, along the route to Waimea Canyon, and from a truck in Kapaa just steps from the ocean. All three are priced at less than $10, including a can of soda.
The No. 1 ($9) is a grilled pineapple-infused pork sausage topped with slow-roasted kalua pork, freshly cut pineapple, grilled onions and barbecue sauce. It is served in a toasted cheese French roll. The No. 2 ($8) varies only in that it has an all-beef hot dog at its core.
The No. 3 ($9) combines kalua pork and grilled onions with Havarti and Muenster cheeses, sandwiched between two slices of toasted cheese bread.
“The No. 1 is definitely the most popular one,” Hier said. “The grilled cheese, the No. 3, is right on its tail. That’s becoming more and more popular.”
It’s not hard to figure out why people patiently wait in line to place their orders, then wait again while their food is prepared.
The food is so tasty and inexpensive that users of Trip Advisor consider it Waimea’s best restaurant; 86% of people give it five stars (excellent).
Earlier this year, Yelp’s large pool of critics put Porky’s at No. 35 on its list of “Top 100 Places to Eat for 2018.” The Waimea food truck ranked at 95 in 2017.
“I wouldn’t think picnic tables and a food truck [would be] on that list,” Hier said, “It has a lot to do with us being under $10, and that includes a drink. People think it’s unheard of to feed a family of four for under $40 on Kauai.”
Hier began with a small cart — the type you’d expect to see along city sidewalks — five years ago. His growing success allowed him to buy his first food truck about a year and a half later.
Five Hawaii restaurants made Yelp’s 2018 list, which definitely skews toward modest, informal eateries. Beside Porky’s, two more spots are also on Kauai: Makai Sushi in Koloa and Rainbeau Jo’s in Lihue.
Porky’s Waimea is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. On Friday evenings, the truck can be found at Friday Art Night in nearby Hanapepe. The Kapaa truck is open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.