Sauteed Hawaiian Kupe’e (serves 2) (KUPEE SHELLS)

Sauteed Hawaiian Kupe’e (serves 2)

Sauteed Hawaiian Kupe’e

These kupe’e or Hawaiian snails were harvested by my friend T on the rocks off the shore of the island of Lanai. T is a local Hawaiian born and raised on Maui. His current job takes him to Lanai. In his personal life he lives off the land partly because he enjoys it and partly out of necessity.

He uses the shells to make beautiful leis for his family and friends. On this recent visit he shared these snails with me. These snails range up to about 1 1/2 inch in length. They are different than other ocean snails (such as periwinkles) that I am used to harvesting in Maine and New Hampshire.

The flaps are very tough and required a lot of muscles to get to the meat. If you want to eat these kupe’e you have to have a lot of patience!  

Like the periwinkles you need to boil them in a little water. I boiled them for approximately 20 minutes. My husband and I ate these kupe’e over toasted vegetable bagels and Kona Hawaiian coffee for breakfast. They are tasty with and without plain cream cheese.

with plain cream cheese over toasted veggie bagel

Sauteed Hawaiian Kupe’e (serves 2)


  • 2 Tbsp oil (canola, olive or what you have or prefer)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or about 1 1/2 Tbsps minced garlic
  • 2 young kaffir lime leaves, julienned
  • 1 fingernail-size ginger or about 1 tsp minced or grated ginger
  • 1 tsp minced lemongrass
  • 1 C kupe’e (snail) meat, washed well
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • A pinch of raw sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A pinch of black or white pepper


1) Heat a pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add the oil.

2) Once the oil is hot add garlic, kaffir leaves, ginger, and lemongrass. Saute about 2 minutes.

3) Add the kupe’e meat. Saute about 2 minutes.

4) Turn off heat and add fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to let everything cook for about a minute on the stove.

hand-made kupe’e leis kupee shells

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