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Tropical flavor and hot dogs at Puka Dog, Poipu

Puka Dog, Poipu

What is a Puka Dog? It’s not your ordinary hot dog, that’s for sure! Puka dogs are Hawaiian-style hot dogs served at, of course, Puka Dog in Poipu on Kauai. “Puka” is Hawaiian for hole – as in puka shell necklaces, where many small shells with holes in the center are strung on a necklace. Puka dogs start out with large buns that, instead of being sliced down the center as traditional buns are, have a hole poked lengthwise right in the center. Each bun is closed at the bottom, to hold in the hot dog and all the relishes topping it, and open at the top so everything can fit inside.

Puka Dog Menu

The toppings are what make these dogs unique. The dogs themselves are polish sausages (or veggie dogs). They are topped with one of three sauces – mild, medium or spicy – one of a variety of tropical relishes, as well as with mustard. The relishes include coconut, mango, banana, papaya, starfruit and pineapple. They are all very sweet, very tasty and very tropical. You can even get a tropical mustard if you choose the lilikoi option (passionfruit) over yellow or dijon.

A Puka Dog!

I’m not kidding when I say these dogs are sweet. The relishes are so fruity that it’s almost like you’re eating dessert. But the combination works well for such a tropical location. You will find yourself thinking back about all the combinations you didn’t try once you’re back from Kauai. I tried pineapple, cococut and mango and couldn’t pick a winner from those three because I liked them all. I loved the lilikoi mustard.If I could change anything, I think a slightly spicier polish sausage would have been even better than the (still good) sausage that was in these dogs. I also wish I had gotten pictures that make the dogs look as good as they taste. I have to note that it is very difficult to photograph a puka dog because of the way that they are served, although it does make them very easy to eat.

A Puka Dog!

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  • Marisa@make happy
    April 11, 2010

    I’m lovin’ this Kauai food guide! Hubby and I are planning to go in the next few years, so I’m compiling a list of places we HAVE to try. This is definitely one of them! Thanks!

  • Ashley
    April 11, 2010

    This looks a lot like Kasekrainer, a popular street food in vienna. I was obsessed with it when I went there! There’s a picture of it on my travel blog- http://adventureho.blogspot.com/2009/05/kase-krasy.html The Puka dog looks amazing!

  • Goo
    April 11, 2010

    OMG! I LOVE Puka Dog! I’m from the islands but now live on the Mainland… my husband and I went to Puka Dogs years ago as we stumbled upon it and I tell everyone who goes to Kauai that they have gotta try Puka dogs even if they don’t like Hot Dogs… my mouth is watering for some now… and I also love their lemonade!

  • ControlCalorie
    April 12, 2010

    Wow. That Puca DOg is really something! I love the hotdog. I seems very different from the usual doggs i eat.

  • Marla
    April 12, 2010

    not sure I want everyone to know about Puka Dogs…*G* but what a great place! hubby and I first ate with them when they were a roadside stop on the way to Waimea Canyon. we tell EVERYONE about the dogs when we know they’re going to Kauai..
    plus Bubba’s, of course…and don’t forget the shrimp truck lady!!

    thanks for spreading the Puka Dog delicousness!!

  • AF
    April 12, 2010

    Would love a Puka Dog right now! YUM! We should have ate there more than once.

  • Julie
    April 14, 2010

    I’ve been living vicariously through your food descriptions from Kauai. I have good friends who are there now. I wonder if they’ve had these?

  • Thank you for this wonderful information

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