#bitestravels to Maui, Hawaii.
I recently spent 5 days in Maui, and the response from all of you have been incredible! From food recommendations, places to visit and questions regarding my travels, this trip opened up a lot of communication between my Instagram account and my followers.
I received so many great tips and recommendations, I wish I could have seen and tasted everything! Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to squeeze everything in, but I’ll share everything I did, tasted and saw.
I’ll focus the first part of my post on the food I bought and restaurants I visited. The second part of my post will be the activities I did and sites I visited.
A little back story on the times I’ve spent in Hawaii:
I’m very fortunate to say that this was my fifth or sixth time visiting the island of Maui. I’ve been blessed with parents who love to travel (my mom’s favourite place in the world is Maui) so I’ve been coming to Maui since I was a teenager. That being said, prior to this trip I had never been to Maui without my parents who have always been my “guide” and trip planners. Traveling as a family of six, and being economically savvy, I tasted many of the wonderful foods Maui has to offer but I never really had the opportunity or freedom to visit any restaurant I wished.
This trip, I went alone with my boyfriend Pat, and naturally we wanted to try as much food and as many restaurants as we could.
Here are all of my food recommendations for Maui:
Stop by Costco right after you land. It’s near the airport and like any other Costco, it’s great for families! It’s also great for purchasing bulk items (we grabbed a big pack of water), snacks, local coupons/gift cards (they have a gift card deal for the luau at The Grand Wailea), and alcohol. One tip I’d give about Costco is to really think about the quantity of the items before purchasing them. My boyfriend and I went kind of grocery shopping crazy and actually bought too much food for ourselves, especially considering we knew there were lots of restaurants we wanted to try.
2. SATURDAY SWAP MEET/FARMER’S MARKET (near the University/Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall)
This market is great for grabbing local produce. We found the prices to be very reasonable (in most cases cheaper than local grocery stores) and the produce was larger and locally grown. The vendor who helped us out asked us how many days we were spending on the island, and picked out the perfect ripeness of each fruit (timed with how many fruits we wanted to each eat day!) She thoughtfully sorted out ‘Day1 papayas’, ‘Day2 papayas’, ‘Day 3 papayas etc.’ into separate bags for us. We bought tons of papayas and mangos, and although we didn’t buy any, I’d recommend checking out the avocados! The market also sells lots of souvenirs, local artisan goods and a cool guy who will slice open a coconut for you so you can drink the juice. Don’t forget to go back to him after you’ve drank all the juice so he can open up the coconut and cut out the meat for you! We also purchased some banana bread, macadamia nut bread and mocha bread from various stalls. Try some lilikoi (passionfruit) bread and you’ll be surprised by the crunchy texture of the seeds!
Foodland was my favourite local grocery store in Maui. I went to Safeway first, but later realized Foodland had more Hawaiian food options. Like Safeway, they have lots of poké options, but they also have (one of my favourite) spam musubi (I’m a huge SM fanatic) and it seems like this is where more of the locals choose to shop.
4. LIKE POKÉ…? FOOD TRUCK
Yes, the name includes the ellipsis and question mark. This is where I had my favourite poké in Maui, and it came highly recommended! The poké options are great and they also offer some interesting menu items like fried poké and ahi katsu. Their furukake curly fries are a must order, and I loved their ahi shoyu ginger poké.
5. MO ‘ONO HAWAII TRUCK ACAI BOWLS
Located in the same food truck area as the Like Poké food truck, their refreshing açai bowls are a nice treat after having some poke!
6. TIN ROOF
This small restaurant is only open from 10am-2pm so make sure you plan accordingly! The lineup was out the door when I got there around 11am, and it didn’t look like it was going to die down anytime soon.
7. POKÉ FROM SAFEWAY
I bought six different kinds of poké from Safeway, and I liked all of them! After I posted my photo on Instagram, a number of people told me that the poke at Foodland is even better, and that they have even more options. I can’t comment on the poke at Foodland as I didn’t get the chance to try it.
8. HOME MAID BAKERY
Fresh, hotmade-to-order malasadas! (Sadly I forgot to take a photo!!) These malasadas are smaller than Leonard’s in Oahu. I noticed a lot of local grocery stores sell Home Maid’s products (mostly breads) and when I visited the bakery there were a lot of locals buying baked goods and cakes. I really like their mochi products and they have mochi donuts! Some items were sold out when I went in the afternoon.
9. DA KITCHEN (Kahului location)
Near the airport, this was the last restaurant we went to before catching our flight to Oahu. I wouldn’t recommend doing this because the portions are huge and even though my boyfriend and I only ordered one entree for the two of us to share, we still had tons leftover. We had to try the fried spam musubi which is something they’re known for. Personally I liked their regular spam musubi but if you’re the type of person who loves fried things, I’m sure you’ll love the fried one. If we had taken home our leftovers, it would have probably been enough for another whole meal for us!
10. PAIA FISH MARKET (Kihei location)
This restaurant caught my eye as we were driving along S. Kihei Rd because there was always a long lineup out the door. The seating area is outdoors beside the ordering section of the restaurant. I also noticed another location when we were in the town of Paia, which I’m assuming is the original location. I had the calamari which had a great texture (theirs is the kind that are cut up into thin rectangular strips, not the tentacles or rings) and my boyfriend had the Mahi Mahi fish and chips.
11. NAGASAKO GENERAL STORE
This was my favourite spam musubi I had in Maui! The store itself is nothing special, but the spam musubi was mine and Pat’s favourite- the rice was a good texture, the spam was well marinated and the seaweed wasn’t too soggy (I do assume this is a matter of timing, though).
12. Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream & Coffee
This ice cream shop has lots of great Hawaiian-flavoured options. I loved their Kaua’i Pie flavour (Kona Coffee ie cream, coconut flakes, dark chocolate fudge, Hamakua macadamia nuts and vanilla cake crunch). Ask to sample whatever intrigues you!
13. Maui Brewing Co.
Their local beer, Maui Brewing Co. is sold just about everywhere. They’re available in all of the grocery stores and restaurants. I always like to try the local beer wherever I visit! They do have a brewery + restaurant that I wanted to visit but we just didn’t have the time! There are two locations, on the island, Lahaina and Kihei.
14. Honolulu Cookie Company
These shortbread cookies are sold everywhere (go in and try the samples…I encourage sampling at every location :D) and make for great souvenirs! Honestly, I love all of them, but my favourite flavours are the Kona Coffee, Chocolate Chip Macadamia and Pineapple Macadamia!
Aloha Mix Plate
I didn’t get to visit this time, but I’ve been in the past and I remember liking it. It’s right on the coast, and is in the town of Lahaina.
Of course, there are a lot more restaurants on the island of Maui, but these were the ones that I visited and enjoyed. If you decide to check them out as well, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Relax, and enjoy your time on this magical island! Scroll down for photos of (non-food) places I visited.
Places I visited:
1. Leilani’s Farm Sanctuary
This farm sanctuary is full of rescued animals from the island. I met and petted roosters, turkeys, goats, cats, guinea pigs, a pig, donkeys and bunnies. Each animal has a different rescue story, and the founder, Laurelee can tell you about each and every animal. The animals are saved from slaughter houses, hunting traps or orphanage. This non-profit sanctuary is definitely worth checking out if you’re an animal lover like myself.
2. Sunset at Wailea Beach Path (Waila Coastal Walk)
I try to catch the sunset every night I spend in Hawaii. The Wailea Beach Path is one of my favourite walks at sunset. The Grand Wailea and surrounding hotels are beautiful with their fire torches and lovely pools. If you’re not staying at a beachfront hotel, this is a great way to experience what it would be like. You can also watch the Grand Wailea’s luau if you want to stand and watch from the beach.
3. Bamboo Forest Hike (between mile marker 6 and mile marker 7 on the road to Hana)
This particular hike is nostalgic for myself and my family. We’ve done this hike together multiple times, and it’s always fun to go back. I’d rate this as an intermediate hike, especially if it has recently rained (highly likely) as the path gets quite muddy and slippery. Once you’re past the muddy area, you will also have to be able to climb over some rocks to get across the river to the other side of the hike, if you’d like to continue on to the waterfalls. It’s not too difficult, but be prepared to get your shoes muddy and wet. The first two waterfalls are easy to hike to. We didn’t go beyond the first two this time, but in the past I went quite a bit further.
4. Nakalele Blowhole
This natural phenomenon produces spouts of water that can reach up to 100 ft in the air. It is extremely dangerous to get close to the blowhole, so be cautious! It’s great to sit, watch and enjoy the sounds of the ocean. I wanted to check out the heart-shaped rock nearby (Google it!) and made the mistake of thinking we had to drive to it. You actually access the viewpoint of the heart-shaped rock by walking to it from the blowhole area. Tip: drive back the way you came (if you came from the south, driving North) because the road after the blowhole becomes insanely windy, narrow and dangerous. Multiple times we witnessed cars having to reverse to allow oncoming to pass by. There are dangerous areas with steep cliff drop-offs and I’d highly recommend returning to the south after viewing the blowhole.
5. Ho’okipa Beach Park for turtle watching & surf watching
Turtles seem to love this beach, and there’s a sectioned off off-limits area for the turtles. I saw three turtles while I was there which made me extremely happy! This beach is also great for watching the surfers catch some waves!
6. Keawakapu Beach
I loved swimming at this beach. The waves weren’t huge when I went, and the highlight of my trip happened here: a turtle was swimming around us for about an hour! We were surprised by his little head popping up for a breath of air…and he was within an arms reach of me! He stayed in our little area for a while, poking his head above the waves every 5-10 minutes.
Other places to check out:
Makena beach (Big Beach) which is known for its giant waves. Young kids and people who aren’t strong swimmers are advised not to go into the water. Stay safe, everyone!
The Shops at Wailea. If you like high-end shopping, this shopping area is for you. The grounds are beautiful and there are some restaurants in the area.
Town of Lahaina. Stop by Bubba Gump’s gift shop if you or someone you know is a big fan of the movie Forrest Gump! You can also take a photo on the bench with Forrest’s infamous Nikes.
Paia Town. If you’re stopping by for lunch, you can go to Paia Fish Market or grab food at Mana Foods. Mana Foods is like a little Whole Foods, and their tiramisu (found in the fridge is really good!)
Don’t forget to spread the Aloha, and I hope you enjoy Maui as much as I did. It’s a beautiful place and one of my favourite places in the world. Mahalo!