Eating is wonderful. It’s right up there with old men who wear suspenders, beer in the morning, sloths and Carmex. Though you don’t have to be an expert to find wonderful food on the Valley Isle, you might find a brief guide to food on Maui to be a dandy little addition to your upcoming trip.
Keep in mind that I grew up mainly eating things made of meat, fried stuff, cheese and potatoes, and I love it all. I personally think Tex Mex is the most underrated cuisine of all time, and I cannot for the life of me understand why every restaurant in the world doesn’t serve chips and queso and pitchers of frozen margaritas. I honestly think the world would be a happier (and likely way more obese and diabetic) place.
While the food in Costa Rica definitely left something to be desired – I can only eat the same combination of unseasoned black beans, white rice, fried plantains, and some kind of meat so many times in a row before I start to crave something, anything else – the food on Maui is, for the most part, pretty damn delicious.
A Brief Guide to Food on Maui
What You Should Be Prepared to Like:
Raw, sauteed, fried, steamed, grilled, poached, baked, you name it. People on Maui eat a lot of fish. Duh. If you ever go to an island and they don’t eat a lot of fish, there is something unnatural going on with that island.
Some of my favorite places on Maui to consume a solid dose’a seafood are Tobi’s Shave Ice in Paia (try the spicy poke plate with furikake or seared ahi salad with kimchi), Paia Fish Market (try the face-sized fish tacos), and Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kihei or Kapalua (go for the 50% off early bird special on Sundays & Mondays and try the Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Roll and Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth).
Dude. I had no idea how cool the fruit would be on Maui! Costa Rica brought my fruit knowledge up a few octaves, but what’s cool about Maui is that you get to see it growing everywhere, all year around, and each particular fruit stand or farm has its own signature offerings of delicious fruit finds. Hence the reason Monsanto chose Maui as a giant testing ground. Apparently volcanic sand + Hawaii weather = viagra for plants, crops and fruit. Who knew! Well, besides Monsanto. And everyone that grows food on Maui. They clearly know.
My favorite places on Maui to taste test some damn tasty fruit are Breakwall Shave Ice in Lahaina (try the dragonfruit acai bowl), Sporting Club of the Pacific in Paia (I really hope they change their name, but regardless, try the acai bowl or one of their fresh juices), Laulima Fruit Stand in Kipahulu (try whatever they have samples of and buy at least one thing they don’t), and, for a refreshing fruity non-adult beverage, one of the many kickass local lemonades at Wow Wow Lemonade in Kihei or Kahului.
Approximately 60% of Peter’s diet is food made of sugar. Luckily for him, Maui is a mecca of sweet goodness, and I can’t say I don’t enjoy our weekly adventures in pie. What’s even better is that each sweet thing has its own sense of culture and tradition – Portuguese malasadas, Hawaiian shave ice, Italian gelato, etc.
The best places on Maui to satisfy your sweet craving are Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice in Kihei, Lahaina, Wailuku or Kahului (they make their own fruit purees and it’s the best thing in the world – try the No Ka Oi with Coconut, Mango and Lilikoi or the Local Motion with Mango, Li Hing Mui and Pineapple), T. Komoda Store & Bakery in Makawao (try the stick donuts, cream puffs or malasadas), Coconut Glen’s on the Road to Hana (try the Lilikoi or Pineapple Banana ice cream), 808 Deli in Kihei (try the pistachio or twix pudding with cookie crust bottom), Ono Gelato in Kihei or Paia (try the lime and pineapple gelato), or Leoda’s Pie Shop in Olowalu (try the pie – any pie will do, trust me).
People on Maui get up early. And rightfully so, ’cause there ain’t shit to do after the sun goes down. So you might as well start your day off right with a healthy breakfast. Or at least one that will allow you to nap in the sand until it’s time for lunch.
Some of the best breakfast spots on Maui are Kihei Caffe (try anything and everything, it’s all good and the portions are huge), Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula (try the cornbread benedict on weekends) or Tasty Crust in Wailuku (try the banana pancakes). There are a ton of fancy places with baller breakfast dishes to be listed, but breakfast is one of those meals that I refuse to pay more than $20 for unless it’s my birthday or a spectacular Sunday Funday.
I know I know, but just shut up and eat some spam.
An easy way to break yourself into the world of mystery meat? Home Maid Cafe in Kihei, which also doubles as an excellent and cheap breakfast spot. Try the spam breakfast sandwich and thank me later. If you’re feeling particularly frisky, try the Fried Spam Musubi at Da Kitchen in Kihei or Kahului.
Eat happy, my friends.