Maui is a destination that demands indulgence in its local cuisine. While other options may be available, it is highly recommended to savor the island’s freshly caught fish and regional produce. The local food movement has taken root in Maui, and Lahaina, Kihei, and Paia are the towns to head to for a taste of the island way. Popular restaurants like Paia Fish Market, Mama’s Fish House, Merriman’s, Star Noodle, Lahaina Grill, and Nalu’s offer dishes that showcase the island’s bounty. For a more authentic experience, venture further away from the resorts and discover local mom and pop joints that serve specialties such as pork roasted in banana leaves, poi, and haupia. Seek recommendations from the locals to begin your culinary tour of Maui.
One cost-effective and widely embraced approach to indulging in Hawaiian cuisine is to opt for a hearty midday meal. Local eateries offer a popular dish known as a “plate lunch,” which typically features an ample serving of protein such as beef, pork or fish, accompanied by rice and macaroni salad. This culinary tradition traces its roots back to the fruit and sugar plantations, where laborers would congregate for lunch with bento-style boxes brimming with rice and leftover meat from the prior evening’s supper. Today, it is commonplace to observe both residents and tourists relishing the generous portions served up by plate lunch establishments and vendors.