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On Oahu, Oyster Dinners Begin in a Jurassic Park-Like Paradise

Kualoa Ranch plays an important role in Hawaii’s culinary scene

Kualoa Ranch in northeast Oahu is a 4,000-acre private nature reserve, a picture-perfect paradise you’d recognize from the likes of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. But in addition to being a common cinematic backdrop and excursion destination (ATV and zip-line tours are popular), the park also plays an important role in Hawaii’s culinary scene, as a producer of grass-fed cattle, Pacific saltwater oysters, and saltwater shrimp.

Kualao’s dedication to freshness means that no beef or seafood orders orders are shipped out of the reserve — locals and visitors can pick up their goods at the visitor center, a practice many nearby restaurants take advantage of, as well. One such restaurant is Mud Hen Water, located 20 miles south of Kualao Ranch in Honolulu. There, chefs make use of the local freshwater oysters (known for their "distinctly savory and kelpy" flavor) in a few menu items. Watch one dish come together in the episode of Deconstructed above, following the Kualao oyster from harvest to the plate.

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