There are just too many damn people (and too much b.o.) on the rush hourtrain. The last email from your boss broke something inside you. And theGarbage Pail Kid above you is a having an epic jam sesh while you’re trying to catch up on your stories. It’s been one of dem days and you need to get out of town...now.
Maui is your antidote. Gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, bamboo forests, and some damn good EEEEEATS are just a flight (or three) away. On the downside, thisis, without a doubt, the most expensive Hawaiian island for food. So knowingyour way around the good stuff is key.
As a young buck, I had the pleasure of living on Oahu and have visited most of the major islands in the 808 state. Before you go, let this haole offer some free advice. First, slow down bruddah. Island time is real and the sooner you let go of your Type-A instincts, the happier you’ll be. Put your phone away, take a breath and drive slow homey. If you forget, there will be plenty of bumper stickers to remind you.
Second, this is not America...not really. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that was once its own kingdom and the circumstances of its overthrow and statehood are still hotly debated. Long story short, show respect to the locals and don’t be an ass hat. That means do not rent a Mustang convertible. Promise you won’t. It’s the Maui equivalent of wearing a beret with your name on it. Sure you’re a tourist, but you don’t have toadvertise it. Just get your Jeep or sedan, turn the radio to Native 92.5, roll down the windows, and soak in the ocean air. You have arrived. Now it’s time to eat.
425 Koloa St.
Kahului, HI 96732
You should really start and end your trip at Da Kitchen since it’s only ten minutes from the Kahului airport. This is the place to grab plate lunch, which is a uniquely Hawaiian combo of rice, meat(s) and, usually, macaroni salad. DaKitchen does elevated local food that blows away what you’ll see elsewhere and the portions here are fcking huge. You can’t go wrong with the chicken katsu or teri beef, but make sure you get the fried spam musubi. It’s a salty, fatty bomb of goodness that’s the perfect time-release sleeping pill. The cherry on top is it’s BYOB and there’s no bullsht corkage fee.
286 Kupuohi St.
Lahaina, HI 96761
So you’re in Lahaina and wondering if there’s anything more to the place than t-shirt shops, sh*tty parking and sunburnt tourists. The block-wide banyan tree is pretty crazy, but we’re talking eats here. It’s time to continue your island education with saimin, which is basically the noodle equivalent of a plate lunch. It’s local comfort food that’s so popular McDonald’s put it on their menu. Star Noodle’s version uses spam and egg with fishcake (kamaboko)and it’s perfect. The kimchi chicken wings are damn good too, but don’t sleep on the steamed pork buns with hoisin and spicy mustard. Smooth it all out with some Portuguese malasadas and proceed to sunset beers on the beach. This is how you do Maui.
Beating the Heat
Ululani’s Shave Ice
819 Front St. or 790 Front St.
Lahaina, HI 96761 (other locations in Kihei and Kahului) 808-877-3700
It’s hot, you’re thirsty and you want something sweet. Put some shave ice in your life, but be warned that next time someone offers you a weak ass snow cone you might slap it out their hand. Ululani’s is the king of shave ice in Maui. There’s a ton of flavors to choose from, but go tropical and you won’t regret it. Lychee, li hing mui (sweet/salty plum) and mango are about as goodas it gets. Just make sure you get some haupia (coconut pudding) or mac nutice cream on da bottom.
3500 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Wailea, HI 96753 (Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort) 808-573-1234
Good news . . . the “Breakfast Experience” at Ka’ana is fcking amazing. Bad news...it’s $45. We know that’s insane, but it’s totally worth it. Considering how much you’ll eat it’s more like two (or three) meals, because you won’t behungry for about seven hours. Portuguese sausage, freshly preparedfruit/veggie juices, chorizo-egg steamed buns with hoisin and insane fruit you’ve never seen. The “Experience” also comes with free half orders of any other dish on the menu, which is just dangerous. Make sure you get a patio table because the ocean view takes everything to the next level. Now go straight up Caligula in this btch.
2511 S. Kihei Rd.
Nothing fancy here, but everything’s done well. Taking its name from the Hawaii area code, 808 Deli is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch before you walk across the street to Kamaole Park II (Kam 2), one of the best beachesin Kihei. Basic sandwiches are turnt up with island twists like kalua porkwith mango salsa and ham with pineapple. You can also get fancy hot dogs with kimchi, buffalo sauce or bleu cheese. Make sure you throw some ghost pepper or pineapple-habanero hot sauce (from Adoboloco) on your eats before heading to the beach.
3500 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Wailea, HI 96753 (Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort)
So you’ve been slummin’ it with plate lunch or saimin and you’re ready to ball out. Morimoto is your spot. Listen, we may not have liked his take on Asian comfort food, but there’s a reason Morimoto is an Iron Chef and this place reminds you of his skill. The oyster foie gras was f*cking bonkers and we pretty much licked the plate once the braised black cod was finished. Not to be forgotten are the sushi and sashimi, which include some unusual and interesting choices like Japanese butterfish. Everything was delicious and the fish was so fresh it was practically flopping on the plate. You’ll definitely feel the pain in your wallet, but it’s worth the trip even for a cocktail and some pupus. The patio is perfectly situated between the ocean and cascading infinity pools. It’s an outstanding place to drink, eat and watch the sunset. This is the vibe you can’t get at home and damn does it feel good.