One of the best parts of visiting Kauai is the incredible food. The restaurants and eateries on the island range from traditional Hawaiian fare to international cuisine. The area even has its own unique street food scene. However, if you want a taste of the freshest food Kauai has to offer while also taking in the sights and sounds of the vibrant city, the farmers markets are the place to be. You can find any one market open six days of the week. Trust me, you’re in for a treat.
The setup of most of the Kauai farmers markets is informal and akin to a pop-up shop — this is why you’ll often find them in parking lots or next to retail stores. Collectively, the city’s farmers markers are known as Sunshine Markets, and they’re unlike any that you’ll find elsewhere. Not only do the vendors and farmers sell a beautiful variety of fruits and vegetables that most people are familiar with, they also have exotic offerings such as apple bananas, Hawaiian papayas, and rambutan. The latter is particularly interesting as it looks similar to lychee inside, tastes sweet and sour, but has an exterior that looks like a hairy ball — it’s just one of the things that makes Kauai’s farmers markets so distinctive.
The herbs sold at the Sunshine Markets are also super fresh and incomparable to what you’ll find on grocery store shelves. Gorgeous potted and cut tropical flowers are available most of the year as are ready made specialty foods. Items such as coconut drinks, honey straight from the island, hot prepared food, and confections bring visitors back to the market each week.
Before you go to any of the locations, you should be prepared for how they run. At some markets, you can browse before the opening time, but you can’t buy until the market officially starts. Others don’t allow any browsing until opening time, and it’s not uncommon to see craft and artisan vendors on-site as well. If you see people dashing from vendor to vendor, that’s completely normal, especially on Saturday. If you’d like more time to browse without rushing to get the best pick of the produce on display, go to one of the weekday locations. No matter when you go, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience at Kauai’s farmers markets.