If you ask anyone, or research any website, about where to eat while visiting the OBX (Outer Banks, NC), I guarantee you that each person and each website will recommend Mama Kwans. If they do not, then they have not lived.
Mama Kwans, which started as a way to share the owner Kwan Gray’s mother’s recipes, has a Hawaiian/ Caribbean vibe. The brightly colored walls and decor, as well as the mellow-island music softly playing throughout the dining and bar areas magically transport you onto the beaches of Kauai or Montego Bay, feet buried in the white sands, as you leisurely sip on a Mama Kwan Parrot Head Freeze.
When the restaurant was recommended to my boyfriend and I, I didn’t know what to expect going off of a name only basis. Were we in for an asian/ seafood feast, being that it is on the beaches of Nags Head, NC? Or were we in for a twist of asian and North Carolina BBQ? There were so many different combinations of what Mama Kwans had in store for us.
After visiting the establishment the first time we got down there, I was sold and made sure we visited again before we left to head home. (the only restaurant we visited twice).
****WARNING!! food porn and a case of watering mouth will soon ensue****
Listen, the blackened tuna nachos were by far one of the best, if not THE BEST nachos I have ever had in my entire 20-something years of eating food, and that is a bold statement that I stand by.
Firstly, it is gluten free, for those who have a gluten intolerance or lead a gluten free lifestyle, and secondly, the pieces of tuna aren’t sparsely scattered throughout the dish, they are piled on and are large and in charge pieces of tuna. The melted cheese atop crispy nachos and scallions and a lime sour cream just make the flavors pop in this awesome dish. These nachos are listed underneath the appetizers section, but it is big enough (even if shared) that you’ll be too full to order a main entree, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Another recommendation would be the Thai Money Bags, and since we were at the restaurant the day of the Mayweather and Pacquiao fight (
also my 3 yr anniversary with my boyfriend), it seemed fitting that we ordered this appetizer. Inside these little presents were ground ginger and shrimp, hand wrapped in a wonton, tied with a scallion and fried. Paired with their house special teriyaki dipping sauce, this makes for a delicious app to share.
One of the cool things is that with certain drink orders, they gift you with the cup the drink is served in as a souvenir. So as a heads up, if you’re browsing the specialty drink menu, don’t get turned off by the “high” price, remember, you’re getting a cute mermaid cup to go along with it (as well as refills for $5).
If I have not totally convinced you to just get up and drive down to Nags Head right now to eat at Mama Kwans, let me leave you with this picture as a lasting image for the rest of your easy Sunday afternoon.
Question of the Day: Have you been to Mama Kwans? What is your favorite dish to order?
Leave a comment below!