Best Hawaiian Grinds & Munchies In Maui
This Best Hawaiian Grinds & Munchies in Maui list refers specifically to Hawaiian cuisine found in Maui. Selected items are either native to Hawaii or ones that have become a part of the daily diet for many on the islands. We went bare bones with this one, avoiding complicated concoctions of meals thrown together by the region’s (and resorts) premier chefs and opted for the basics that you can find at a mom & pop shop or road side stand, the way the locals eat. Below we have detailed popular Hawaiian foods and where to get the best of each on the island. Usually we say a list such as this is subjective, but we’re pretty sure we nailed it this time.
E ‘ai ka-ua! (Bon Appetit in Hawaiian…sort of)
Poke - Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli
2665 Wai Wai Pl, Kihei, HI
Poke is Hawaii's answer to sushi. It typically consists of cubed Ahi (yellow fin tuna) and is marinated and spiced in a variety of ways with added condiments coming from Japanese influence.
Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli in Maui is without question home to the best no nonsense poke on the island. You can’t go wrong with the Spicy Ahi, Masago Cream Ahi, or Ceviche Poke in addition to a couple of other varieties available on any given day. Be sure to show up early as they tend to run out in the late afternoon, faster once everyone gets ahold of this list.
From South Kihei Road: Turn mountainside at Hale Kuai (at Maui Dive Shop & Gian Don‘s restaurant) Eskimo Candy is located 3 blocks down on right.
From Piilani Hwy: Turn oceanside on Lipoa St. take first left turn to Liloa st. Eskimo Candy is located one block down on the left.
Macadamian Nuts - Maui Tropical Plantation
1670 Honoapiilani Highway, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii (between mile markers #2 and #3)
Approximately 90% of all Macadamia nuts in the world are produced in Hawaii with the bulk of these coming from the Big Island and most of that batch comes from the popular Mauna Loa factory in Hilo. However, many visitors to Maui expect some sort of Macadamia experience outside of picking up a $5.99 mini tin at the nearest ABC store and being waved away with a “Mahalo!” upon receipt. A tour of the Maui Tropical Plantation will provide you with the agricultural experience you are looking for and we suggest one of the best ways to sample the Macadamia Nut on this island is by ordering the Macadamia Nut Cream Pie ($6.95) at Maui Tropical Plantation’s Waikapu Grill. Don’t worry, they have a Country Store on location should you desire to pick up that $5.99 mini tin. We can’t guarantee the “Mahalo!” but you’ll get a smile for certain.
Pineapple - Maui Gold @ Mr. Pineapple
370 Dairy Rd # C, Kahului, HI
Pineapples are a symbol of Hawaii and a mainstay in the agricultural climate of the islands. While everyone is quick to take the Dole Plantation tour over on Oahu and grab a Dole brand pineapple pack at the airport, Maui Gold is the real gem. This sweet tasting staple of tropical fruit is grown exclusively by Hali‘imaile Pineapple Company, a locally owned and operated group formed by previous Maui Pineapple Company employees who showed their commitment to saving an over 100 year tradition of pineapple industry on Maui. A showing of support for the local community is far from the only reason to go with Maui Gold when on the Valley Isle, as their pineapples are world renowned for the extra sweet flavor without the acidity. In addition to the history and flavor, Maui Gold and it’s unique brand image makes for one of the best perishable souvenirs around and for use as a gift when returning to the Mainland.
Mr. Pinepple on Dairy Road in Kahului is a great place to pull up and pick a boxed and airport ready Maui Gold or simply to enjoy one for yourself. It’s location near the Kahului Airport is perfect for your first “aloha” to Maui experience upon arrival and for a final “aloha” before impending departure. The Mr. Pineapple Express (not that kind) truck out front is a popular spot for taking novelty photographs and for express service should you be in a rush, even though you should be on Hawaiian time by this point.
Update (Spring 2012) - Maui Gold is once again offering tours! Start planning your Maui Pineapple Tour now.
Spam Musubi - Da Kitchen Cafe
425 Koloa Street, Suite 104, Kahului, Maui, HI
Spam, that’s right, you are reading correctly. Spend enough time in Hawaii and you will realize that this food so often shunned on the Mainland is actually a major player in the dining landscape of the islands, Maui included. Spam has history in Hawaii as a meal alternative for the large contingent of local lower income families impacted by the historical injustices placed upon Hawaii by the U.S. government in the past. As anyone with a financially challenged upbringing (or struggling student) knows, when you don’t have much, you tend to get creative with your meals, very creative sometimes. From time to time, this creativity results in some pretty amazing tasting makeshift meals that surprise even its creator.
Today, Spam can even be considered a delicacy on the Hawaiian Islands and is found at the forefront of menus in popular eateries. In Maui, visitors rave about Spam Musubi, in particular the one served at Da’ Kitchen Café in Kahului near the airport. Stop by Da Kitchen and order this light meal known to turn even the most fickle food snob into a fan of this canned watchamacallit.
Malasada - Home Maid Bakery
1005 Lower Main Street, Wailuku, Maui, HI
Malasadas are basically donuts without the holes but with much more soul than that description provides. These scrumptious fried dough treats are a gift from Portuguese origin and are the pastry of choice in Hawaii. The key to Malasadas is freshness, like their potential Mainland counterpart Krispy Kreme (original), they must be fresh from the fryer to truly convey how amazing they can be. Set up camp at Homemade Bakery in Wailuku to be among the first through the door to sample the best dessert type delicacy in Maui.
Shave Ice - Ululanis Hawaiian Shave Ice
815 Front Street, Lahaina - Maui, Hawaii
When you mention shaved ice in Oahu you hear the name Matsumoto, when you do the same for Maui you hear Ululanis. We’re going to try to organize a battle between the two, but for now we can’t think of a better treat to compare in Hawaii than the good old fashioned shave ice.
You shouldn’t need too many details here as quality shave ice is all about the fulfilling the basics: Is it big? Do they have a large variety of flavors? Does the syrup last from top to bottom? Does the ice refrain from melting before you get to fully enjoy it? Is the price reasonable? Ululanis answers with a resounding “YES!” to all of the above.