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Trip Planning – Maui Eats to revisit

The countdown is on! We’re leaving for Maui in 22 days! Although on previous Hawaiian vacations I’ve usually planned our itinerary pretty thoroughly by this point, this is not our first time to Maui so I don’t feel compelled to do all the touristy things (read about one of our previous trips here). I feel this trip will be more relaxing and I have not planned that much. We’re pretty easy-going, and since I’m not a big boat-person (get seasick easily), we don’t really book any of the snorkel tours or sunset cruises (although if you like that sort of thing, Maui is the perfect place for it). Maybe we’ll do a zipline, or a farm tour, or maybe we won’t. I don’t feel the rush to plan my vacation to a T (compared to our first Maui trip in 2009) What I am really looking forward to is the FOOD. We love Asian and Asian-inspired cuisine and there is just so much of it in Hawaii. Here’s some of our favorite Maui eats we’re looking forward to trying again on our trip:

Star Noodle, Lahaina

We went here on our Maui 2010 trip, and Star Noodle already had quite a cult following. Most of the food is good, some dishes are better than others, but what we really loved was the delicious Vietnamese crepe with the amazing nuoc cam dipping sauce. It was delicious and worth waiting on line for. Chef Sheldon was a runner up on Top Chef so that’s just made this place even more popular. Let’s see how easy it will be to get in…

The egg-y Vietnamese crepe at Star Noodle, which is like an omelette, filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. You chop it up and wrap it in lettuce and dip it in sauce…Oh so good.

 The Gazebo, Napili

The line at the Gazebo is usually pretty long, but it’s worth it, and I never like to wait on line regularly. They only open for breakfast/brunch/lunch, and their specialties are their tasty fried rice (yes you can have fried rice for breakfast) topped with scrambled eggs, and the delectable mac nut pancakes.

The usually long waits. The view is lovely though so it makes it (somewhat) tolerable.

Fried rice, with porky goodness and just enough scallion so you can say you had a vegetable.

The mac nut pancakes – it was topped with whipped maple buttery goodness fluffy stuff. An order had 3 so we split it. Sharing is key here.

 Sansei Sushi, Kapalua and Kihei

This iconic Hawaiian sushi chain has fresh fish and unique rolls – not for the sushi purists but those who love explosions of flavor really take to this restaurant. I personally come here mainly for this: fresh ahi rolled in arugula, breaded in panko and deep fried…in a soy butter sauce. It’s so perfectly yum. If you go at certain times for their happy hour, everythingi is 50% off! (go early or expect not to get in).

The ahi arugula roll. A perfect lunch IMO – however I think they only open at dinner.

 Koiso Sushi Bar, Kihei

On a different sushi note, sushi purists will flock to Koiso Sushi bar – the freshest fish ever is served to only a handful of diners every night, by a sushi chef who is so proud of his craft. We spent a lovely evening here chatting with him and finding out about his process for buying fish every day. Omakase is a must for the freshest fish.

example of omakase at Koiso. Picture from Yelp. Mine was very similar, but of course I forgot my camera that night.

 Kihei Caffe, Kihei

This little breakfast joint is very popular and for good lamisil 250mg reason…well executed LARGE portions of food served from 5:00am-3:00pm…those still on mainland time will really appreciate that they open early. We really love the breakfast here, and I’d be hard-pressed to find another favorite breakfast place on Maui. Gazebo is a close second.

I love the bircher muesli at Kihei Caffe


The superb loco moco with fried rice, beef patty, eggs, and doused with a home made brown gravy…

 Ululani’s in Lahaina or Local Boys in Kihei or Lahaina for shave ice

I get my shave ice fix when in Hawaii as no one on the mainland (well at least on the east coast) makes it as well. My favorite flavors are lillikoi (passion fruit), li hing (salty-sweet plum) and lychee. I usually add ice cream and azuki beans. Oh and some condensed milk never hurt either.

Giant shave ice from Local Boys

 Mama’s Fish House, Paia (link opens with loud Hawaiian music so turn volume off at work)

This is definitely a splurge restaurant, and the one I booked for our actual anniversary dinner on November 1st. However, this is only the plan if Morimoto at the Andaz Wailea does not open by then. I really do love the ambiance and the food here…it is just very costly. It is a one-time must-do though, so I highly recommend it. I imagine this is the sort of place Don Draper would feel comfortable in, the ambiance is old-world Hawaii…and there are tiki torches. I do love a good tiki torch.

Mama’s Fish House at dusk

Whole wok-fried moi

 Da Kitchen, Kahului

This place gets rave reviews for it’s large portions and local flavors. I definitely think this is a great place with groups because the portions are so big. They are known for their deep fried spam musubi, which I have yet to try…it seems like too much fat in one appetizer. Of course, I end up ordering a katsu plate, and it’s a giant portion of fried panko-breaded chicken…sigh, well at least I didn’t have both.

Katsu plate

Giant bowl of saimin, which is noodle soup, served with a ton of stuff!

On another trip, a huge Hawaiian plate for me, and a Korean meat mountain for Steve.

 Honokowai Okazuya & Deli, Honokowai

This local take-out joint is run by a former gourmet chef so he knows what he’s doing! Great-tasting quality plate lunches that are fantastic eaten at the picnic table outside or on the beach. I’m looking forward to not cooking and getting take-out from here and eating in our condo enjoying the ocean breezes.

the loco moco, beef patty, rice, and mac salad. think the egg is under the patty.

teriyaki steak plate

 Sam Sato’s, Wailuku

Wailuku is like the “city hall” area of Maui from a local standpoint and it’s a location we’ver never explored much. That will probably change on our trip because I really want to seek out more local-type eats and old-time mom and pop places. Of course we will stop at our beloved Sam Sato’s for their famous dry mein. Delicious firm noodles tossed with secret sauces and served dry with charsiu, green onion and clear soup on the side. It’s so old-school chinese noodle goodness and we love it.

Sam Sato’s famous dry mein. Pic from Pomai from Also from

Wow…I just realized we have so many Maui food  favorites, how will we fit in all the new places we want to try? Will have to work on expanding the belly…soon to come are a list of newly opened and not-so-new Maui Eats we’re looking forward to trying!


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