Good eateries on Kauai can be hard to find; they are often tucked away in the corners, far from the overpriced tourist restaurants and cloaked behind the doors of a food van or extremely casual venue. One of our favorites is Chef George of Da Jungle just south of Kilauea town. George hails from New York City originally where he was an executive chef at several restaurants. Even though the setting is extremely casual (George has converted a truck into a kitchen and set up some picnic tables in a garden area under shelter); the quality, taste and freshness of George's food is easily among the top 10 of all restaurants on the island. If you are looking for great food in a casual atmosphere frequented by locals more than visitors; George of Da Jungle is the place to go.
When we first met George; he had driven the George of Da Jungle truck down to Kapaa for the monthly art walk night. This is a busy event and there was a large crowd of people lined up to order his food. In the midst of preparing everyone’s orders, George was finding the time to turn out plates and plates of free samples so the community could experience what he had to offer. This spoke volumes to me about George’s commitment to his food and his values as a human being. Not only were the samples tasty, but the portions were generous and he kept it up all night; making sure that every passer-by felt welcome to try a plate on the house. I was impressed by what I tired and we ordered a meal.
Prior to opening George of Da Jungle in November, 2013; George worked as a private chef on Kauai for 3 years. George sources a lot of his food locally and he is willing to spend the extra money for high quality ingredients; meats that are hormone free. As he says, “I want to serve the same kind of food that I want to put into my own body.” George also operates his own private catering business called “Eat Chef George”. George takes a lot of pride in his food; he butchers his own lamb; separating the leanest meat for the Gyro and using his new meat grinder to grind his own lamb burger out of the fattier meat. He uses his own unique, homemade seasoning blends to season the lamb to perfection.
The Lamb Gyro Kabaab with Tzatziki sauce is a truly mouth-watering delicacy which I thought would order time and again; that is until I tried the lamb burger on our next visit which was THE BEST burger I have ever eaten in my life. Now I am in a constant state of indecision about which dish to tempt my taste buds with. For those of you who don’t like lamb or red meat; George offers other tasty alternatives such as the Greek Salad and the fish tacos; both of which are excellent.
One evening when we were dining with George, we over heard one of the other customers say how something magic happens when one mixes the tzatziki sauce with lamb. At that exact moment I was taking a far too large bite of my lamb Gyro and my broad smile showed that I was experiencing the same delight. Another customer said that he used to rent a place without a kitchen and he would eat at George of Da Jungle every night; he then pointed to the menu and said “look, seven main dishes, one for each night of the week.”
George will even go out of his way to adapt the menu for you with whatever is available - he helped avert a moment of crisis for my 4 year old daughter who had her heart set on pizza by creating a "pita pizza" without any tomoatoes, mozzerella cheese or pizza dough on hand. I was impressed and my daughter gave him her highest review rating..."really yummy".
One of the things that makes George special is his relationship with his customers; everyone who comes by seems to be his friend and have a fondness for both his food and George as an individual – I could not agree more.
You can email George at: [email protected]
***TELL GEORGE THAT YOU HEARD OF HIM ON Hawaii Guide AND HE WILL GIVE YOU A FREE DRINK WITH YOUR MEAL***