Dining in Maui can be an adventure as there is definitely a little bit of everything for everyone who is visiting. There are always great restaurants located near the hotels and resorts, but when venturing a little further away from those areas there are some pretty awesome more casual places with food that is familiar but remixed with ingredients, dishes and cooking styles inspired by locals and the cultures of their families. In this article we explore some favorite “local grinds” – Maui dining places, where you will find many of the island’s residents coming in for their daily top food picks.
Tin Roof, a family owned and operated, fast-casual eatery with tons of flavor, filling portions, and daily changing specials is THE place to go when in search of local food, that will not break the bank. Although there is very limited seating inside and outside, there is always a line out the door and people who are happily willing to wait. Here you will find rice and noodle bowls topped with mochiko chicken, poke or fish, mac salad, dry mein, pork belly, kimchi that is made in house, daily changing specials inspired by the chefs, and their famous mochiko chicken sandwich served on brioche donuts. Come prepared to wait in line, but don’t overthink the simple menu, as it is all delicious!
Hawaii is famous for malasadas – Portuguese confections made of yeasted dough that is fried and rolled in granulated sugar. Home Maid Bakery is serving their Maui malasadas fresh from the fryer with every order, and they can be filled with the house made custard. Malasadas are great for sharing with friends, bringing to the beach or snacking in the car. They are warm, gooey, and not overly sweet. A must when visiting the islands.
There are a few places where you’ll find Maui food truck gatherings. Thai Mee Up, located in the food truck court in Kahului offers Thai food that is bursting with southeast asian flavors. Tons of citrus, texture, sweet and salty flavors, pad thai, cornish game hens, crispy pork ribs and flavorful lamb chops. There is plenty of community picnic table seating and a chance to visit some of the other Maui food trucks. Picking a few items from the different trucks to share with a few friends is definitely the way to go and a great way to spend time before heading to the beach.
If you are looking for a quick cool down in the middle of a hot Maui day, shaved ice is perfect. Ululani’s has two locations: one in Kahului and the other in North Kihei. The Kahului location seems to always be a lot less busier with shorter lines but both locations offer the same menu. Pick your ice cream, the size of your shaved ice, syrup flavors and toppings, then sit back and enjoy cooling down in the Maui breeze. Ululani’s does not disappoint and the kids will love it too!
Anyone who appreciates seafood will love Geste Shrimp Truck. Geste Shrimp Truck located near the Kahului Harbor offers plates that come with rice, shell-on shrimp tossed in your choice of multiple sauces and crab mac salad. Their flavors include Spicy Pineapple, Hot & Spicy, and Lemon Pepper. Grab a shrimp plate and take a seat near the grass or back in the car and prepare for a flavor explosion.
Lastly, Tamuras Fine Wine & Liquors is your one stop shop for the best beer, wine and spirits as well as some of the best poke in Maui. Here you can get poke bowls which come with rice and seaweed salad, or buy different types of poke by the pound. Choices of poke include ahi, hamachi, shrimp, tako (octopus), pipikaula (Hawaiian dried and cured beef), pickled garlic, king crab, scallops and much, much more.
If you a vegetarian or a vegan, you can find agreeable food choices at most restaurants in Hawaii. Local fruit and vegetable dishes should be easy to find.
So next time you’re in Maui, visit some of the local favorite Maui dining places! Whether you are exploring Maui food truck scene, hunt the best poke in Maui, or satisfy your sweet tooth with Maui malasadas, you will meet great people and see some new parts of the island at the same time.
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Rose started culinary school and cooking in professional kitchens at age 23. Upon finishing school and an inspiring trip to San Francisco, she decided to pack her things and move to the city that would ultimately be the start of an incredible cooking and lifelong journey.
For the next 5 years, she trained in some of the most celebrated kitchens in the Bay Area including:
– Benu (stagiaire) by Corey Lee, San Francisco
– Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller, Yountville, CA
– Boulevard by Nancy Oakes, San Francisco
– Mourad by Mourad Lahlou, San Francisco
In May of 2016 she became the Executive Sous Chef for The Mill House located at Maui Tropical Plantation on Maui, Hawaii. In these kitchens she developed a background in savory, pastry, baking and bread production.
An advocate of the slow food movement with a love for strong, bold flavors, fresh produce and rustic cuisine, she believes that food should be comforting and memorable, shared and soulful.
Currently, Rose works as a private chef in the Bay Area with a focus on plant based cooking.