Local Eats on Maui
As a virtual melting pot of cultures, Maui is no different than any other island in Hawaii. But Maui is something special, blending the heritage of Portuguese, Polynesian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and other Asian cultures. You’ll find the food here is most indicative of this divergence. Go beyond the tourist traps and popular eateries to truly experience the local flavor of Maui. From restaurants to roadside stands, eating in Maui is a real treat.
The key to the flavor of food on Maui is its homegrown richness. You’ll find many ranches, farms and fisheries here that cultivate the very essence of local living. If you make it a point to hit up markets and eateries that offer locally-sourced food, you’ll experience a side to Maui that you would never have thought possible by sticking to the fancy hotels. Not to say that the hotels and resorts don’t have great food – they do. There’s just something extra special about out-of-the-way places that inspires creativity.
Maui is a major producer of coffee. For example, you can’t hit a grocery store here without seeing MauiGrown coffee on the shelves. If you check out the actual store front in Lahaina, you can get plenty of samples to see which blend you like best. If you find yourself meandering along the Kula Highway on your way to or from Haleakala National Park, you can’t miss Grandma’s Coffee House in Keokea. You’ll know you’re far out when you see the many chickens wandering around! Since 1918, this family-owned shop has roasted and blended its own organic Maui coffee beans over four generations.
Just up the road from Grandma’s is a great source of produce: Kula Country Farms. You’ll find tasty locally sourced produce here from growers around the island, a lot of which is organic. If you love farm stands on the side of the road, you’ll appreciate Ono Farms spanning 50 acres of certified organic produce just outside Hana. These growers specialize in cacao and coffee, abiu, durian, breadfruit, and rambutan.
The Ulupalakua Ranch 15 minutes from Kula happens to be the second biggest cattle ranch on the island. The rolling hills increase up to 6,000 feet above sea level right up against Haleakala volcano. If you’re craving a real beef burger or even an elk burger, rest assured the meat comes from their ranch. You don’t have to go far to find Tedeschi Vineyards, also run by Ulupapakua. As Maui’s sole winery, you get total sustainability when it comes to the creation of pineapple and grape wines.
For scrumptious dishes featuring local sources, don’t miss Merriman’s run by Peter Merriman, a local food aficionado in these parts. Start off your meal with warm crusted goat cheese with kula strawberries and onions or tempura mahi mahi. Move on to the sea scallops, Keahole lobster, taro cakes, or filet mignon. For sides, there are plenty of vegetables on offer that come from local farms. If pizza is what you’re after, head to Paia’s Flatbread Company. You can’t miss the massive wood-burning oven in the middle of the eatery. Choose from locally sourced, organic toppings or try a house salad featuring organic lettuce, green papaya and carrots.
Is all this talk getting you hungry? Go grab something to eat. When you’re full, come over to Hoku Hawaii Tours for a fun way to see our island of Oahu.