The Best Macaroons On Maui

The Best Macaroons On Maui

You have to try some!

Nothing screams remote islands like coconuts and coconut palms. But it’s what’s inside those coconuts that are the heart of the very best Macaroons in all of Maui (and quite possibly anywhere.)

I love all things coconut! I mean, I really love coconut so it was with great pleasure that I discovered these amazing cookies while strolling around the Maui Swap Meet a few years ago.

Lori Steer, Maui Macaroon’s owner and creator sells her decadent cookies at the Maui Swap Meet in Kahului every Saturday. Her booth is easy to find, it’s the one with the line of people waiting to buy these little bits of paradise or for a taste of her free samples which are generously shared while you wait.

The Best Macaroons On Maui
Yummy free samples!!!

Lori hands out slightly larger than grape sized samples of the delicious flavored macaroons which she creates in her shop in Wailuku. The minute you pop one of these little coconut balls of bliss in your mouth, you are sold! BEST.MACAROON.EVER!

Imagine flavors like ‘Salted Heaven’, ‘Kona Coffee Dark Chocolate Pecan’ (I know right?!), Lilikoi (passion fruit), Fresh Pineapple and Double Mac Nut! Of course there’s also Classic Coconut which, as a macaroon connoisseur, I can assure you is the best classic macaroon I’ve ever tasted.

The Best Macaroons On Maui
Photo by Lori Steer via Facebook

Lori’s macaroons are baked fresh on Maui in her Wailuku factory. Pre-orders are encouraged and requested before you stop by.

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Lori Ships to the Mainland!

Luggage too full to take some home? No worries! Lori will pack up a box of your favorite available flavors and ship them to your home at a date of your choosing. Have them shipped in time to meet you when you get home. Just about the time you’re sinking deep into Missing-Maui-Syndrome your box will show up and you’ll be transported back to the island we all adore so much!

The Best Macaroons On Maui

And don’t worry about them spoiling, put them into ziplock bags and freeze until you’re ready to eat them.

The Best Macaroons On Maui

You’ll also find that Lori accepts special orders. Perhaps you need some for wedding or party favors, fund raisers or a special event. Maui Macaroons will print custom labels for your order!!

The Best Macaroons On Maui
Photo by Lori Steer via Facebook

You can find Lori and her little coconut yummies at the Maui Swap Meet, Fourth Friday street party in Kihei (read more about those here), several locations in Lahaina and upcountry too. For a current list of vendors selling Lori’s macaroons, visit her website Maui Macaroons or just call 808-344-5465 or email

You can also follow (and drool over) Maui Macaroons on Facebook and Instagram!

The Best Macaroons On Maui
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Best Sushi Restaurant On Maui

Best Sushi Maui 1054Togoshi

Our pick for the best sushi restaurant on Maui, 1054Togoshi

We’re sushi fanatics. We’ve eaten sushi all over the world. We’re pretty darn picky when it comes to our sushi. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about our most recent discovery – Maui’s BEST sushi restaurant.

I’m hesitant to even let the (yoga) cat out of the bag (you’ll understand the ‘yoga‘ bit in just a moment.) I fear that once I click the publish button on this post that the -hard to get reservations- for this place will become even harder to get. But in the interest of spreading Aloha, I’m going to let you all in on our sushi secret.

No Sushi – No Life. Keep Calm & Eat Sushi!

I can’t remember how we found this place – probably Yelp or Google Maps, but it’s not in a place you’d expect to find (in our opinion) the very best sushi restaurant on Maui. The restaurant is located in a smaller strip mall off the main thoroughfare of South Kihei Road, on East Lipoa Street. None of this matters because this hidden gem will delight and you’ll believe you’ve been transported to a top Tokyo sushi restaurant decorated with a Jimmy Buffett-esque style beachy theme.

The owners clearly love the beach vibe the decor conveys and I must admit, that while it’s very busy, it does make this eatery feel less like a Japanese restaurant and more like a beach cabana! It’s fun, quirky, eclectic and very artistic, and I love it!

1054Togoshi is only open evenings and reservations are required. Seating is limited to about 9 at the sushi bar and there are only two tables (that I can tell) – one that seats four and the other up to 8. There are just the two owners, the sushi chef and his wife who is hostess, server and waitress.

This duo do a fantastic job! Warm Aloha is what you feel when you’re greeted at the door. Upon being seated you’re served water and given a hot, moist wash cloth to wash your hands with. That one feature places this restaurant high up on my authenticity scale. I absolutely love when Japanese restaurants provide this simple yet important and thoughtful touch.

The menu is perfectly adequate in it’s offerings but don’t expect to find off the wall rolls dripping in aioli sauces with crazy names like Mucho-Macho Roll or Batman Roll. Nope, here you’ll find a few of the ubiquitous rolls such as ‘Rainbow‘ and ‘Spicy Tuna‘ but the real gems on the menu are the Sashimi, Nigiri, the items on the Pupu list and appetizers.

Place your food order directly with the chef and be patient. This truly authentic sushi arrives only as quickly as the chef can prepare it and depending on the time of evening – how busy the restaurant is. Trust me, every bite will be worth any wait you might incur.


Speaking of the menu, the rest of the menu offers Sake (listed considerately in order of dryness), Japanese beer, Wine, *Shōchū, Japanese Whisky, softdrinks and of course prepared ‘just right’ macha green tea.

*Shōchū is a Japanese distilled beverage less than 45% alcohol by volume. It is typically distilled from rice (kome), barley (mugi), sweet potatoes (satsuma-imo), buckwheat (soba), or brown sugar (kokutō), though it is sometimes produced from other ingredients such as chestnut, sesame seeds, potatoes or even carrots.Typically shōchū contains 25% alcohol by volume,[1] which is weaker than whisky or standard-strength vodka but stronger than wine and sake.

We tried the Takeno Tsuyu sake first – it’s delicious, unfiltered and very much on the sweeter side. Our second sake was the Tamano Hikari, much dryer and clear, crisp and smooth. I recommend both BUT not in the order that we tried them.

What we ordered!

Before this becomes the longest restaurant review in history, lets get down to business shall we. What we ordered!

We started off with the Yellowtail Carpacio with garlic, jalepeño, local greens, Yuzu soy and olive oil.

Next was traditional nigiri. But it was anything but run of the mill. The fish was as tender and flavorful as I’ve ever had and the sushi rice, perfectly formed was quite literally the best I’ve ever had. It was slightly warm, seasoned to perfection and just the right texture. Magnificent. I could have just eaten an entire bowl of just sushi rice! I also must say, that it is better than any I had in Japan.

My companion opted for the Rainbow Roll and for a standard roll, it did not disappoint.

I went back for more nigiri. Oh my!! Big pluses for me are the ginger, which doesn’t contain food dyes and the GENUINE wasabi the chef uses. More points in my book! All in all I tried the Hamachi, Kanpachi, Yellowtail and one other on the special menu that I don’t recall the name. Be sure to try something from the ‘Special’ menu!!

This is the 12 piece Sushi “A’ combination. Which my other companion had and said was amazing. It was so amazing that we didn’t get a photo of it before it disappeared. Photo by Wayde T. via Yelp.

And finally I opted for a spicy Hamachi roll. Decadent!

The Nuts & Bolts

We found the prices on par with the other sushi restaurants on the island (except for Morimoto Maui which is very expensive, though delightful but we left very hungry!). The portions were slightly on the smaller side but you are getting extremely high quality fish and the price reflects that.

The service is on par with what you’d expect for just two people working and doing it all. Some reviews online complain about this but I’m a ‘go with the flow’ type and it never bothered me as I didn’t find the service to be slow. In fact, the service we got was great, super friendly, we didn’t wait too long, and were generally very satisfied. This restaurant is clearly a labor of love for the owners and if you’re patient and adopt a ‘Maui Time’ mentality (I recommend that for ALL things on the island) you will greatly enjoy yourselves.

Reservations are a must! Fortunately we got in on the same day for our first visit (and yes, there was a second visit in the same week, it was that good)

Note that LAST CALL (for both food and beverages) is at 8:30 and they mean it. Though they did bend it a bit for a 2nd glass of Sake for us.

Overall, both of my dining experiences were great. The food was great and the prices what I’d expect for the quality.

Bottom line, WE LOVED IT!

So what’s the deal with the Yoga Cat?

My seat featured a very nice book entitled ‘Yoga With Cats’ which is hilarious, and propping it up is the cat, in (I believe) the forward fold position! Such a hoot!


Mon Closed
Tue 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm (closed 4th Tuesday of each month)
Wed 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Thu 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fri 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sat 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sun 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Contact: (808) 868-0307 (Call well in advance to make reservations, but DO make reservations. Walk-ins might not be seated)

Location: 95 E​.​ Lipoa St​,​​ ​S​ui​te A-104​, ​Kihei, HI 96753

Rating: ★★★★★

Prices: $$

More info here

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do, come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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Best Sushi Restaurant On Maui - 1054Togoshi Vacation Rental By Owner in Beautiful Maui #BookDirect

Last Day On Maui? What To Do, Where To Go, Things To See

Last Day On Maui
Last day on Maui? What to do, where to go, things to see.

Wondering what to do on your last day in Maui? Often folks traveling to Maui plan their whole vacation except for what to do on the last day, the day you have to check out of your vacation rental. Several of the airlines offer late evening fights and many travelers opt to take that late flight to eek out every last hour on the island that they can. Do you blame them? No way, Maui is so amazing and fantastic that we all want to stay as long as we can.

Last Day On Maui

But the problem arises when check out is at 11 a.m. and your fight doesn’t leave until 10 p.m. What do you do in between checking out of your condo and checking in at the airport?

In today’s post we’ll give you lots of ideas of activities, places to visit and things to see on your last day in Maui.

Extra Day & Late Check-Out Options

The first and best option is to purchase an extra day at your condo if it’s available. There will be times when it won’t be as new guests will be checking in but if it is, I highly recommend this option. Of course this will have to be planned well in advance with condo owners to ensure you can take advantage of this convenience.

By doing this you have the convenience of taking your time to get ready for your flight and you keep your luggage with you in the condo. You can do day activities like go to the beach one last time, golf, swim at the pool, shop for last minute gifts and souvenirs and so one. It’s definitely worth the price of one night’s stay for all of this convenience.

When it’s available we offer late check-out for a nominal fee, as do many condos. This must be arranged in advance.

If either the extra day option or late check-out aren’t available due to budget restrictions, or if the condo is just unavailable the list below will help in planning your last day on Maui.


Last Day On MauiSo it’s 11 a.m. and you have to vacate the condo you’ve been enjoying. What to do?

Let’s start with planning your day by finding a safe option for storing your luggage while you adventure out.

It is generally considered a bad idea to leave your luggage or any valuables in your car if it is unattended. Unfortunately petty theft and car break-ins are all too common, even in the land of Aloha and the last thing you want to do is lose your luggage and valuables after a wonderful trip to paradise.

One option for our Kihei Akahi guests (and I suspect many other condo complexes as well) is to leave your luggage safely in the office until 5pm. If you plan on staying at the condo property for the day, you can leave your luggage in your rental car trunk – it should be safe so long as it’s not in plain sight. However, if you have souvenir chocolates or any other item that might not do well in the heat of the trunk, consider leaving it in the office.  The Kihei Akahi staff leave promptly at 5pm so make sure not to be late in retrieving your bags. Our guests can also ‘borrow‘ a key for the condo pools and tennis court for the day but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Another option is to call the airlines to see how early you can check your luggage. If you can drop your checked-baggage early, then you can play for the day worry free. This option, of course, only applies if you are checking baggage. What if you have only carry-on luggage?

A final option for luggage storage is to take advantage of the Queen Ka’ahumanu shopping center’s free luggage storage option. They have a guest services center where you can check your baggage in for the day while you play. They even offer free luggage tags and coupons for shopping in their shopping center!

The one small disadvantage to this is the shopping center’s location. It’s in Kahului, about 35 minutes from our condo in Kihei (and about 15 minutes from the airport). Not an issue if you plan to visit Iao Needle, or Wailuku museums, or Paia and the upcountry area, but might be a bit of a timing issue if you head out to Lahaina. For more information visit Queen Ka’ahumanu’s web page.

What to do!?

Now that you have your luggage dealt with, you can decide how to spend your last day on Maui! Here’s a list of ideas!

■  Relax at the condo pools, guests of Kihei Akahi can ‘borrow’ a key for a $10 fee, return it before the office closes at 5pm and guests can get their $10 deposit back. If you didn’t bring a towel with you, you can purchase inexpensive beach towels at ABC, Walmart or Whaler’s General Store.

Last Day On MauiI’ve often just used my sarong (also inexpensive at ABC), they dry you off fairly well and they dry out pretty quickly, and if it’s not dry by the time you need to leave for the airport, it can just go in your luggage in a plastic bag. They don’t take up much space.

Another option is to pack a Turkish towel, they’re absorbent but thin and don’t take up much room in your baggage. (I have no Amazon affiliation, the links are just examples, I’ve also seen some very nice ones on Use keyword search ‘Turkish towel’ as well as

For our Kihei Akahi guests, showers are available at the lower pool as well as a refrigerator to keep your lunch or snacks for the plane.

■  Go check out a new restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try (plan in advance for Mamas, The Millhouse or other popular places) There are many wonderful places to try upcountry, in Lahaina, Kahului, Wailuku and Kihei and – below you’ll find a list of suggested eateries near the airport.

■  Bliss out at a local spa. Make a spa appointment at one of the nice Wailea hotels. They will have showers, generally offer pool and facilities use and may even store your luggage while you’re getting pampered. Call around to the hotels in advance to book and ask what they can offer.Last Day On Maui

■  Visit Maui Tropical Plantation – Maui Tropical plantation offers 45-minute tours, guests are led through private Plantation grounds aboard their tram vehicle. Tickets are $10-20.  More info here.

■  Visit Maui Ocean center – great way to spend the afternoon filling your heart with all things ocean! More info here

■  Head Upcountry to see;

  • Surfing Goat Dairy offers 30 minute tour includes feeding the goats and cheese sampling, Mon-Sat Every half hour, 10am – 2:30pm, Sunday Every half hour, 10am – 1pm ($8 for kids $12 adults) More info here.
  • Hali’imaile Distillery – Makers of Pau Vodka, Fid St. Gin, Paniolo Whiskey and Mahina Rum*  Tours
  • Ocean Vodka Distillery – Makers of Ocean Vodka, in the nifty blue bottles* – Tours
  • Maui WineryVisit MauiWines & Ulupalakua Vineyards and Ulupalakua Country Store
  • Pineapple plantation tours – multiple tours available, check out how pineapples are grown and what happens to them once they’re harvested.
  • Shop in Makawao Town, check out the bucolic town of Makawao, Paniolo town and artist community. Lots of shopping or ‘window’ shopping. Great spot to grab lunch too.
  • Visit Hui No’eau Visual Arts Centerself guided tours of this artist community
  • Farm To Table lunch tour or Seed to Cup Gourmet Coffee Breakfast Tour at O’o Farms
  • Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm – offers walking, guided card tours and picnic lunch
  • Head to Haleakala Summit – It may not be sunrise or sunset, but the view is amazing and the Mars like landscape is stunning. Park entrance fees apply.

Most if not all will require advance booking so plan accordingly and book as early as you can.

*Please drink responsibly and elect a designated driver when wine or spirit tasting.

■  Head to Hookipa beach to see the turtles. They often hang out at the far east side of
the beach and often there are more than a dozen beauties dozing in the sunshine. Be sure to practice Pono (do the right thing), sea turtles are federally protected and harassing, touching or getting too close is against the law. Keep at a distance, take lots of photos and enjoy.

Hawaii MAUI | Hookipa Beach Park | Resting Turtles_14DEC2016.v2
Sea turtles basking on the beach in Ho’okipa.

■  Go play miniature golf near Ma’alea Harbor – They also offer bumper boats, rock climbing and extreme trampolines. More info here.
Last Day On Maui
■  Spend the day in Lahaina, go early in the day and make sure to leave plenty of time to beat the evening traffic.

■  Commemorate your trip with a Tattoo. If you want a tattoo to memorialize your Maui vacation, this is the day to do that. Plan well in advance, make an appointment – since tattoos need time to heal out of the ocean and sun, it’s recommended to get one at the end of your vacation rather than the beginning. Tattoos done at the beginning of a vacation will preclude you from enjoying the ocean and sunshine.

■  Take a morning kiteboarding lesson at Kanaha beach park by the airport. More info here.

■  Try a helicopter tour. AirMaui offers flights from 45-75 minutes long and many options to view different parts of the island.

■  Go beach exploring, Maui has so many fine beaches, find one that you haven’t been to yet and head out. If the beach doesn’t have a shower/bathroom you can stop back at Kamaole I or II and rinse off there before your flight. No towel? Use a sarong and pack a small bag to use to shower up.

■  Visit one of Maui’s escape rooms. What’s an escape room you ask? Wiki describes as; “An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms.”

■  Walk through Iao Needle State Park. A .6 mile walk through this scenic and beautiful park is well worth the visit. This park is steeped in rich Hawaiian history. Have lunch in Wailuku. More info here.

Last Day On Maui

Restaurants near the Airport

■  Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes – American style with island influence. $$ 15 minutes +/- to the airport.

■  Mama’s Fish House – Seafood/Hawaiian influence, local foods. $$$$ +/- 24 minutes to the airport. Perfect for lunch on your last day. (reservations required well in advance)

■  Zippy’s – Fast Food, Hawaiian/Comfort Food – local favorite (think Denny’s) $$, +/- 15 minutes to the airport.

■  Marco’s Grill & Deli – Italian, American Deli – especially popular with the breakfast crowd on their way to the airport $$, +/- 8 minutes to the airport.

■  Da Kitchen – Hawaiian, Fish & Chips, Burgers – local style,  $$, +/- 8 minutes to the airport.

■  Bistro Casanova – Mediterranean, Italian, Tapas Bars, $$ +/- 12 minutes to the airport.

■  Paia Fish Market – Local Seafood, Fish & Chips, Salads Pasta, $$, +/- 20 minutes to the airport. A little further out, but well worth it (personal favorite) and take advantage and tour Paia town.

■  Acevedo’s Hawaicano Cafe – Mexican/Hawaiian – grab and go and head to beach, (5 stars on Yelp), $$ +/- 10 minutes to the airport.

■  Poi by the Pound – Local style Hawaiian Grinds, $$ +/- 8 minutes to the airport.

■  Fork and Salad – Freshest Fast Food, Salads, Sandwiches, Soups, $$ +/- 10 minutes to the airport.

■  Tin Roof Maui – Hawaiian/local, comfort food. Local favorite/local gem. Closes by 2pm, sells out fast, order online as the line will be out the door. Take away or eat at their picnic benches. Or order out and head to the beach in Paia.  Award winning chef. $, +/- 10 minutes to the airport.

■  Polli’s Mexican Restaurant – Popular local following. $$, +/- 30 minutes to the airport. This one is a little further out, but worth the drive -or if you’re already in Makawao doing an upcountry tour, add this restaurant to your list.

Timing – Rental Car Return,  TSA/Security and Agricultural inspection

Plan enough time to drop your rental car off, get through the ag inspection and  TSA security lines. They can be long.

Arriving at the airport

You’ll need to leave yourself a good window of time to return your rental car. Since all rental car returns are off site for now (the construction of the new on-site airport car rental facility is due for completion in May of 2019) be sure give yourself time to wait in the drop off line and catch the shuttle back to the airport.

TIP- If you’re traveling with a group and have multiple pieces of luggage, drop everyone and all the luggage at the airport and send one person with the car to the rental car return.

If you dropped your luggage early, then you’ve already likely sent your checked bags through the ag inspection station. If not, then you need to, all checked bags must be scanned through the Agricultural Inspection Station and receive a sticker stating that they’ve passed inspection. Make sure to declare any agricultural products.

If you haven’t checked in via your smart phone app and if you’re checking baggage, you’ll need to wait in line at the airline counter or self check-in. On busy days, lines can be long.

Next is the TSA security line. It is often very long.  Kahului Airport was never really set up to handle the post 911 TSA security checks so the airport line snakes through a long section of the airport’s corridor.  Recently, this line took me approximately 30 minutes to get through.

Be prepared for Maui’s own version of TSA security. ALL food must be taken out of your carry on bags.  This is in addition to the standard measures that all travelers must take such as removing any electronic item larger than a cell phone from carry-ons, shoes, belts and jackets off etc. For a full list of what is allowed in your carry on luggage visit the TSA’s website.

Maui Travel Packing GuideTIP – carry a Reusable/packable shopping bag (as mentioned in our Ultimate Maui Packing Guide – the kind that folds into it’s own pocket like Chico Bags do. You can put any food souvenirs and plane snacks in the bag to make it fast and easy to get through the TSA line. Once you’re through and waiting at the gate, you can repack these items into your carry-on bag.

After you’ve passed through the TSA security line, you can expect to encounter one more Agricultural Inspection.  This is for your carry on bags. Be sure to declare any agricultural items including food or snacks like fruit salad or any fresh fruit, plants, leis etc. This inspection station is generally very quick with little or no line.

Best To Avoid

Things I don’t recommend doing on your last day.

Don’t make the drive all the way to Hana either the front side or back side. Traffic can be an issue and you could be delayed getting back. But there are some stops along the road to Hana where you can hike to waterfalls, get some great photos. and see some amazing things that don’t take you all the way to Hana town.

I don’t recommend getting a late start back to the airport if you’ve gone to Lahaina for the day. Traffic in the afternoon, early evenings can be bad coming and going to Lahaina, even with the new Lahaina Bypass road. Make sure to leave enough time if you’re traveling at peak commute hours.

It’s best not to go to the far west side of the island or try to drive around that way. The road is harrowing on a good day and should always be driven slowly with plenty of time allowed to go all the way around. Your last day is not the best day to attempt this trip.

Don’t go scuba diving. Experienced divers know that you don’t dive and fly within 24 hours. Your last day is not the day to take a scuba class. The commingling of these activities, when not planned for properly, can be physically dangerous and even fatal.

Do you have a favorite ‘Last Day On Maui‘ activity? Share it with us in the comments below.

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Last Day On Maui? What To Do, Where To Go, Things To See - Vacation Rental By Owner in Beautiful Maui

5 Places To Grab A Great Breakfast In Kihei Maui

Breakfast In Kihei Maui
5 Places To Grab A Great Breakfast In Kihei Maui

Good Morning Maui!!  You’re here finally and are up with the birds. Time for a yummy breakfast but not sure where to go for the best island breakfast?  We’ve got you covered in our breakfast guide with 5 places to grab a great breakfast in Kihei.

Does the sound of banana macadamia nut pancakes make your tummy grumble? How about a bowl of fresh fruit salad, island style? 

image by Kihei Caffe – Instagram


Let’s start with a quick and light breakfast version for those on the go or in search of a healthy start to their day –

Quick, Healthy & Light

Brekkie Bowls

Images via Brekkie Bowls Instagram

Located in a non-descript light industrial park near two fitness centers, Brekkie Bowls food truck serves up  healthy Açaí or Pitaya (dragon fruit) bowls to locals and visitors ‘in the know’.  Here’s the inside dish, pick your base (Açaí or Pittaya), pick two fruit toppings, add some toppings like almond butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds or gogi berries and head to the beach to watch the day get started.  Don’t forget your kombucha, coffee or fresh smoothie!!  Brekkie Bowls are all organic, no added sugar and ono delicious.

What is Açaí you ask?  Açaí berries come from the Acai palm.  They’re small grape sized berries that pack a nutritional punch of antioxidants, beneficial fiber and heart-healthy fats. How about Pitaya? Pitaya, also known as dragon fruit is the fist sized fruit of the Cereus pitahaya plant that also boasts powerful nutritional benefits. Check our our post on visiting Maui’s only Dragon Fruit Farm!

Brekkie Bowls


Location: 300 Ohukai Rd B2 -202, Kihei, HI 96753 (In front of Makena Crossfit)

Hours: 7:30 am to 1 pm

Follow: Brekkie Bowls on Instagram


Hearty or Healthy

Nalu’s South Shore Grill

Images by Nalu’s South Shore Grill via Instagram

Next up on our breakfast tour of Kihei is Nalu’s South Shore Grill.  Nalu’s is known for their fantastic night entertainment and dinners but they serve up a mean breakfast too! They serve up Loco Moco all day so those who want to really fuel up are all set! Not sure what Loco Moco is all about, check out our Ultimate Food Guide To Hawaiian Local Foods and read all about it.

Nalu’s also serves up Açaí and Pitaya bowls but you might want skip the bowls and give their signature pancakes served with a homemade rum syrup, Maui Gold pineapple, bananas, and mac nuts a try. Yum! Maybe add a side of Malasadas? eh?

It’s very casual here, order at the counter and seating is open.

Nalu’s South Shore Grill


Hours: 8:00 am – 9:30 pm

Location: 1280 S Kihei Rd Ste 132, Kihei, HI 96753

Follow: Nalu’s On Instagram

Something For Everyone

Kihei Caffe 

Images by Kihei Caffe via Instagram

Next up is by far one of Kihei’s most popular breakfast spots and the line out the door is testimony to just how popular this beach cafe is.  Situated right on South Kihei Road, for years, Kihei Caffe has been dishing up delicious breakfasts to locals and visitors alike. If eating hearty breakfast while sitting outside and watching the world go by sounds good to you then this is the spot. Breakfast is served all day, no problem if you sleep in!

Remember those banana macadamia nut pancakes I mentioned earlier (you can get mac-nut French toast too)? Yep, you can get them here along with all of your traditional breakfast favorites and a few new local style dishes.

Tip – Get there early to avoid the line and to grab one of the outdoor seats. Also go early if Pecan Sticky Buns is your thing, they sell out early. Or grab your food to go and head to the beach across the street.

Kihei Caffe


Hours: 5:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: 1945 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753

Follow:  Kihei Caffe on Instagram


Hearty and Local

808 Grindz Cafe

photos by Annie-N, Tea-A and Robert E. via Yelp

This hidden gem is tucked back in the Safeway shopping mall. Famous for their Mac-Nilla sauce for their pancakes and waffles but they have just about everything under the breakfast sun as well. Casual atmosphere, order at the counter and all food is ‘to-go’ – you can take it to the beach, back to the condo or sit at their outside tables.  Since the weather in Maui is lovely most any time of the year, you can’t go wrong no matter where you choose to sit and eat.

You’ll find a lot of local-style influence in their menu (like Loco Moco, fried rice or Kalua pork hash).  How about trying the Kawabanga Breakfast with ubiquitous Spam on the side! Hows that for local-style!!

Where does 808 and Grindz come from?  808 is the local area code, and grindz is the local Pidgin term for food, good food.

808 Grindz Cafe


Location: 225 Piikea Ave, Kihei, HI 96753

Hours: 7:00 am – 2:00 pm (breakfast and lunch all day)


Fancy Schmancy

Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz Hotel

Images by Andaz Maui via Instagram

Our number 5 pick goes all out. If you really want to treat yourself to an elegant breakfast at one of Maui’s premier fancy schmancy hotels then Ka’ana Kitchen is the place. The breakfast buffet will set you back roughly $50 per person (excluding gratuity) and for the buffet, it’s best if you arrive earlier rather than later, they seem to slow down stocking the breakfast bar around 10am. Breakfast can also be ordered off the menu, of course, and items such as Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with coconut creme, macadamia nuts and pineapple compote or Poached Eggs and Sweet Potato cake intrigue the palate.

Free Valet Parking can be validated at the restaurant.

Ka’ana Kitchen


Location: 3550 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753 

Hours: 6:30 am – 11:00 am

Follow: Andaz Maui on Instagram


Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!


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5 Places To Grab A Great Breakfast In Kihei Maui- Vacation Rental By Owner in Beautiful Maui





5 Tropical Cocktails You Must Try When Visiting Maui Hawaii

Tropical Cocktails Maui

Do images of little drink umbrellas, orchid flower garnishes and skewers of pineapple in a tropical cocktail pop into your head when you dream of Maui?  The quintessential tropical drink served up in a Tiki glass or carved out pineapple is what comes to mind when I think of tropical cocktails. In today’s post we explore 5 tropical cocktails you must try when visiting Maui for the first time or tenth time (and I can assure you that the ‘research and development‘ needed for this post was great fun!)

We’ve already explored the yummy Mai Tai in a previous post and let our readers know who we think serves up the best on the South Shore if not all of Maui and we’re going to revisit it briefly again in today’s post.

In no particular order…

The humble yet delicious Piña Colada.  While it’s origins don’t stem from the Hawai’ian Islands, it’s comfortably made itself at home here in our little tropical archipelago and we welcome it with true Aloha!

The piña colada (from the Spanish words: piña or “pineapple,” and colada “strained“) is a sweet cocktail made with rum, coconut cream or coconut milk, and pineapple juice, usually served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with either a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, or both. The piña colada has been the national drink of Puerto Rico since 1978, but we don’t think Puerto Rico will mind if we borrow it.

Piña Colada Recipe (Our revised version of Kōloa’s recipe)

  • 2 oz  Kōloa Kaua`i white (or coconut rum – or use 1 oz each of white and gold or dark for a more flavorful colada)
  • 2 oz Frozen Hawaiian Sun Coconut Milk
  • 2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh) + a few frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup crushed ice

Blend or shake and pour into a suitable glass and garnish with pineapple and cherry, little umbella or tropical flower.

Next up is the Blue Hawaii. The Blue Hawaii is a tropical cocktail made of rum, pineapple juice, blue Curaçao, sweet and sour mix, and sometimes vodka as well.

The Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 by Harry Yee, legendary head bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Hawaii when a sales representative of Dutch distiller Bols asked him to design a drink that featured their blue color of Curaçao liqueur. After experimenting with several variations he settled on a version somewhat different from the most popular version today, but with the signature blue color, pineapple wedge, and cocktail umbrella.

Blue Hawaii Recipe (our revised version of the Food Network’s recipe)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and mix vigorously. Stop when the shaker is too cold to hold. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with (of course) a drink umbrella and/or pineapple skewer.

The Chi Chi has a loyal island following and it’s easy to see why.

The not-so-distant cousin of the Piña Colada resembles the basic make-up of Puerto Rico’s national drink, while exchanging rum for vodka. The Chi Chi’s history  is a little vague but was likely first invented shortly after the Piña Colada made its first debut. The Chi Chi gained it’s immense popularity in 1970s and ‘80s but still has it’s loyal following.

Chi Chi Recipe

  • 3 oz. Pau Maui Vodka
  • 4 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 2 oz. Frozen Hawaiian Sun Coconut Milk (available at Foodland)
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup or 1 tsp powdered sugar

Tropical Cocktails MauiBlend on high, pour into suitable cocktail glasses and garnish with pineapple spear or orchid flower.

TIP- Freeze pineapple juice in ice cube trays for a super frozen concoction!

* A twist on the Chi Chi recipe is to add one ounce of Passionfruit syrup in replacement of the simple syrup! Yum!

We look next at another twist on our favorite Piña Colada recipe, the Lava Flow – imagine the Piña Colada married with fresh strawberries and you get the Lava Flow. Decadent!

Our recipe today comes from Mixologist, Joey Gottesman of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki.

Royal Hawaiian Lava Flow
Muddle in the bottom of a Boston shaker glass:

  • 2 fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 in. slice of banana (use one of Maui’s famous Strawberry Bananas if you can find them)
  • Fill shaker glass with ice and then add:
  • 1 oz. Frozen Hawaiian Sun Coconut Milk
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1.5 oz. Old Lahaina Rum (or other golden rum)

Cover with top of the Boston shaker, shake vigorously. Pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish pineapple wedge and paper parasol. Enjoy.

TIP – The key to preparation is to muddle the strawberries separately from the other ingredients.

Best Mai Tai MauiAnd finally we get to our favorite, the Mai Tai.  Now, a few weeks ago I wrote about our favorite restaurant to saddle up at the bar and have a delicious Mai Tai so I know that I can’t top this recipe.  I’ll just share it again here.  Make your own or head to Monkeypod and have one of theirs.

Monkeypod Mai Tai Recipe

  • 1 oz. Old Lahaina Light Rum
  • 1 oz. Old Lahaina Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz. macadamia-nut orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

Honey Liliko‘i Foam

  • 1/2 oz. honey
  • 1 oz. liliko‘i purée
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. egg whites
  • 1.5 oz. cold water

Mix foam ingredients well and put in a nitrous-oxide (NO2) infuser* to half capacity. Use 4 charges for a liter-sized infuser. (Or blend ingredients on high speed till foamy.) Add lime juice, orgeat  (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water), orange curaçao and Old Lahaina Light Rum to mixing glass. Shake with 1 cup cubed ice about 30 seconds and pour into highball glass. Float dark rum. Top with honey-liliko‘i foam and garnish with pineapple half moon.

*also known as a ‘Whipped Cream Dispenser‘ , widely available on Amazon.

None of these 5 drinks strike your fancy? How about trying one of these tropical drinks?

Bay Breeze – cranberry, pineapple, vodka
Tropical Itch – bourbon, rum, curacao, lemon juice, passionfruit puree, bitters
Mango or Lilikoi Mojito – passionfruit/mango puree, lemon/lime juice, sugar, mint, club soda
Lilikoi Martini – vodka, passionfruit juice shaken
Daiquiri – rum, lime juice and sugar syrup
Maui Mule – vodka, pineapple, lime juice, Pimm’s No. 1, Ginger Beer

Tropical Cocktails Maui

Have a favorite drink that you enjoy on the island?  Leave us a note in the comments below and let us know!

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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5 Tropical Cocktails You Must Try When Visiting Maui- Vacation Rental Maui

7 Best Happy Hours In South Maui | Where To Find Kihei’s Best Eats & Cocktails Before Sunset

Best Happy Hours Maui
7 Best Happy Hours In South Maui – Where To Find Kihei’s Best Eats & Cocktails Before Sunset

Mmmm… Mai Tai’s, Chi chi’s, Lava Flows, Pina Coladas, Ice Cold Beer… no matter your favorite cocktail or adult beverage to drink while visiting the island paradise that is Maui, you are sure to find some great deals at our local watering hole happy hours.

You’ve been soaking up the sun all day at the beach, tummy is grumbling, it’s not quite dinner but you’re ready for some *pupu’s and a nice adult beverage.  Here’s a list of South Maui’s top happy hours and a few menu samples. We’re featuring 7 top happy hours, one for each day of your 7-day itinerary!

*pupu [poo-poo] noun, From the Hawaiian word pūpū.  Polynesian-Hawaiian Cookery.
1. any hot or cold usually bite-size appetizer, snacks, small bites, often served in a varied assortment.

Showing 7 of our Happy Hour picks – In Blue Martini’s and the

Orange Bed is our condo location.

We’ll start at the top of the map, the northern most watering hole which is;

Maui Brewing Co.

This is a fantastic spot for happy hour, but it’s also great for lunch, dinner and brewery tours! But if happy hour is your thing, check out their Logo Wear Wednesdays where wearing any of their logo shirts or hats will get you $2 off MBC beers all-day-long! Combine that with their happy hour which runs 3:30pm-5:30pm & 9:30pm-11pm Daily and you’ve got yourself a great deal!

They have a great patio and the brewery sits up on a hill so you get a great view toward the ocean and sunset. Happy Hour – $1 Off House Beers, $3 Off Culinary & Classic Cocktails, $10 Pizzas, 50% Off Select Appetizers.

(I love their Panko Calamari with Sriracha mayo, lime & furikake!! Pair this with their Imperial Coconut Porter and OMG!)

Check out our blog post about Maui Brewing Co here!

Menu Link:

Address: 605 Lipoa Pkwy Kihei, HI 96753

South Shore Tiki Lounge

Gotta love Tiki Kitsch!

Next on our map we scoot over toward the beach where we find South Shore Tiki Lounge.  Recently voted BEST Bar in Hawai’i.

“The young (and young at heart) flock to South Shore Tiki Lounge, where bamboo and kitschy tiki decor complement a full bar, outdoor lanai, great wait staff, surf videos and a menu of sausages, burgers and some of the best pizza on the island.”

   – Maui Time Weekly

All Day Happy Hour 11am-6pm Daily
$4.00 Sauza margaritas, Well drinks from their premium well, Bloody Marys & Pacifico Draft,
$3.00 Primo Draft

Give their TBone’s Famous Sliders a try! A trio of local Maui beef sliders with pickles and a garlic aoili mayo on a Hawaiian sweet roll. 

Menu link:

Address: Kihei Kalama Village, 1913-J S. Kihei Rd., Kihei

Three’s Bar & Grill

Serrano Hibiscus-rita at Three’s

Located in what is locally known as the ‘Triangle’ and just a few doors away from South Shore Tiki, we find Three’s Bar & Grill.  Called the Triangle due to the location of several bars within a few meters of one another. Definitely walking distance if you wish to bar hop.

With accolades such as MauiTime Best of Maui 2017: Best Pupus on Maui 2017 and MauiTime Best of Maui 2016: Best Happy Hour on Maui 2016 how can you go wrong with Three’s!

Three’s gets it name from the 3 chefs, surfers and best friends Travis Morrin, Cody Christopher, and Jaron Blosser, owners of not only Three’s but also my favorite healthy noshing joint Fork & Salad (soon to have a 2nd location in Kahului!) and Three’s Food Truck which is generally featured at Kihei 4th Fridays.

Happy hours run 3pm to 6pm and again 9pm-10pm (late night HH in the Surf Lounge only)

Why not give their Coconut crusted fish tacos a try!

Well drinks, draft beer and house margaritas $3.50, top-shelf cocktails $6.50

Menu Link:

Address: 1945 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753

Fred’s Mexican Cafe

Stellar sunsets from this happy hour hot spot!

Up next we head just a little further south down the beach to Fred’s Mexican Cafe. Fred’s is our Tuesday watering hole. Fred’s is also the next door neighbors to our condo complex and a quick 3 minute walk from our door to theirs. On Tuesdays during the busy season, you’ll find a line out the door for their Tuesday Taco happy hour special.  Fish-bowl sized house margaritas (great with shot of Cuervo on the side!) and plate of fish tacos make up their Tuesday special. But any day is a great day for happy hour because Fred’s has a great lanai that sits over South Kihei road, directly across from ‘our ‘ beach Kamaole II, where you can catch sunset just after happy hour if you time it just right.

Menu Link: Fred’s

Address: 2511 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753

5 Palms Restaurant

Can’t beat their ocean view + umbrella drinks!

If you’re not too tipsy by now, we’ll waddle over to 5 Palms Restaurant & Bar. 5 Palms is located just about a mile south of our condo and Fred’s and sits on the north end of Keawakapu Beach. If you don’t want to walk from our condo why not hitch a ride with our favorite $3 Turtle Tracks shuttle! Perfect for when you want to drink and not drive!

5 Palms is fantastic for it’s location, stellar views of the beach and sunset. Their happy hour is immensely popular so make sure to get there early enough to grab a seat. It’s not overly crowded, but it’s a more intimate restaurant with limited seating.

You can count on tropical cocktails with an umbrella and a garnish of pineapple! Their mai tai’s are good but hold out for our next up happy hour spot, their mai tais are my favorite. This place is all about ambiance. Tiki torches, tropical drinks right over the beach, sunset. Doesn’t get much better!

Happy Hours run 7 days a week from 3-5pm with Late night happy hour from 9-10pm.

Happy hour specials include 50% off Happy Hour Sushi & Pupus with a one drink minimum per person.  Select draught and bottle beer $6, wine $8 on up to house cocktails for $8.95

Menu link:

Address: 2960 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753

Monkeypod Kitchen

If mai tais are on your bucket list, then look no further. We’ve posted about Monkeypod’s mai tais before – they’re that delish! Crafted from old lahaina silver rum, old lahaina dark rum, lime, house-made macadamia nut orgeat, orange curacao, honey-lilikoi foam – they’re a departure from the very traditional but we think you’ll love it!

This is a hopping-busy restaurant so plan accordingly. Happy hour is popular as is dinner (reservations recommended)

Two happy hours each day, I recommend the earlier to catch sunset if you time it just right. Happy Hours run from 3pm-5:30pm and 9pm-11pm.

$4.75 for beers originally $9 and under, $7 for beers $9-$11, $10 for beers $12 and over.

Ocean Vodka cocktails $6, White and red wines by the glass $6, Culinary cocktails $8

50% off All Appetizers
with the exception of the raw bar mixed plate and poke tacos. Pizzas $9

Menu Link:

Address: 10 Wailea Gateway Place, Kihei, HI 96753

Mulligan’s On The Blue

Sunset view from Mulligan’s lanai

Last up on our Happy Hour train is Mulligan’s! Come experience our “Irish Aloha” on the south coast of Maui! Maui’s only Irish Pub! Mulligan’s is a happening pub well known for their daily live entertainment and pub grub!

Located in Wailea, just a hop, skip and a jump from our condo, at the Wailea Blue [Golf] Course’s 19th hole. Mulligan’s is well known for their nightly entertainment.

Head over for a pint, cocktail or Whisky and some pub grinds and hang out for the entertainment. Don’t expect three asparagus spears with a twig of thyme here, you will find decent pub fare, the food is good, filling and the beer and whisky menu will impress!

Happy Hour Beverages – Jameson, Powers & Tullamore Dew $7, Imported Bottled Beer $5, Well Drinks and House Wines $6, Domestic Draft Beer $4, Mai Tai’s & Mojitos $7, Domestic Bottled Beer $4

Mulligans’ Happy Hour runs 2pm-5pm & 10pm-Midnight, Daily.  33% Off Food Items / Beverages as listed on their menu

Menu link:

Address: 100 Kaukahi St, Kihei, HI 96753

(UPDATE: Our friends at Mulligans have let us know the following;

“A few changes have been made to the Happy Hour menu at Mulligan’s on the Blue with daily specials now offered from 2pm to 6pm. $5 drink specials and a menu of 8-10 items all at just $8!!! Items include Fish Tacos (3), a Cheeseburger with fries, Mini Fish and Chips, Jumbo chicken wings, Coconut shrimp, Chicken or Veggie quesadillas, Parmesan and Panko Macaroni and Cheese, and more!!!!”

Prices and menus are accurate at the time of this blog posting but are subject to change.  Let us know if you find something that needs updating!

Have a favorite Maui Happy Hour? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll give them a try, uh…um… for research purposes of course!

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

7 Best Happy Hours In South Maui | Where To Find Kihei's Best Eats & Cocktails Before Sunset -

Get Your Morning Fix At The Cinnamon Roll Place In Kihei Maui

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui
Get Your Morning Fix At The Cinnamon Roll Place In Kihei Maui

You’re up with the birds and out walking the beach road in Kihei and then it hits you, the delicious aroma of fresh baked, warm cinnamon rolls and coffee! You make a little detour along an unassuming strip mall and WOW, this is the spot!

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui

The Cinnamon Roll Place in Kihei, Maui has been a town favorite for years and it’s easy to see why, or smell why. With warm cinnamon-brown sugar smells wafting it’s just too much to resist.

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui

The Cinnamon Roll Place is a tiny little hole-in-the-wall breakfast eatery that serves up, well… cinnamon rolls. They also have coffee drinks of course and their breakfast menu includes delicious items like cinnamon bread pudding, scones, island style banana bread, muffins and cookies.

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui

But it’s the Cinnamon Rolls that bring them their loyal following! Especially when they’re topped with cream cheese frosting and macadamia nuts!

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui

Imagine a hot, gooey, cinnomony roll topped with your choice of macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, raisins and/or cream cheese frosting.

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui


Lunch Too!

In addition to breakfast items, you can get a quick lunch bite here too. Simple lunch here includes fresh made sandwiches or salad.

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui


Why not try their version of egg sandwiches like the ‘Spamhead’ with fluffy eggs, Spam and cheese? Spam, it’s a thing in Hawai’i. Other breakfast sandwiches include The Egg Head, The Pig Head, The Veggie Head, The Hot Head and more.

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui


The Cinnamon Roll Place hours are 7 days a week 5:30 am to 3:00 pm and they’re conveniently located just next door to our condo complex, and across from Kamaole II beach (think ‘grab breakfast and coffee and hit the beach to watch the world wake up‘.)

Cinnamon Roll Place
2463 S. kihei Road
Open everyday 5:30am-3pm.

Cinnamon Roll Place Maui

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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Cinnamon Roll Place Maui - Vacation Rental Maui

Wine Tasting At MauiWine – Maui’s Upcountry Winery & Ulupalakua Vineyards

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards
Wine Tasting At MauiWine – Maui’s Upcountry Winery And Ulupalakua Vineyards

I’ll be the first to admit that we’re just a little bit wine snobby. Our primary home is in the Napa Valley and most of our friends are involved one way or another in the wine industry. In fact Jeff’s family has a long history in this valley (7 generations!) and our son continues the tradition and works in wine sales (and of course we love to drink good wine, who doesn’t?)  What’s very interesting to us, and fun little fact that a wine grower from our town here in Napa Valley has been involved with MauiWine since it’s wine-making inception! We love that Napa Valley-Maui connection!

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

When you think of Maui, wine country isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but MauiWine & Ulupalakua Vineyards are putting out some very lovely wines.  Located on the hillside of Haleakala in the upcountry area of Maui known as Kula, MauiWine is producing some delicious varietals!  The cooler upcountry temperatures combined with the unique terroir allow for some amazing and complex tastings!

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

Wine grapes are not the only basis for their wines, they produce their famous pineapple wines and sparkling wine as well as a raspberry dessert wine.

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

What started out as a temporary wine making exercise soon flourished into a signature wine. While waiting for the grapes to mature, MauiWine began making wine from local pineapples. It’s popularity earned it a permanent spot on their wine list!

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

Their signature pineapple wine ‘Maui Splash’ is crisp, sweet and slightly acidic with rich pineapple overtones. Perfect for afternoon wine coolers on a tropical island!

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

MauiWine and surrounding estate and vineyards has a rich and varied history and heritage dating back to 1841. It’s well worth a visit to learn about this rich history.

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

The Estate wine list includes a Grenache with tasting notes of “roasted nuts. cherry fig. orange rind. cactus. wet fire wood. olive. dusty. plumb. progression. vagrant. wood cabin. curious.” Very interesting tasting notes, wouldn’t you say? I know they had me at ‘cherry fig, orange rind’.  But I doubt I’d turn down sips of the Malbec either how does ‘belgium chocolate. dark cherry. blueberry cream. sweet mint. figgy. pistachios. gushy‘ sound?

Spending an afternoon wine-tasting upcountry is a lovely experience.  We love to sit on their veranda and sip while nibbling on a nicely laid out charcuterie plate. There is a large checker-board for an impromptu game or head over to the lawn for a little game of corn hole.

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

The well manicured tropical landscape is inviting and makes us think back to a quieter time when upcountry Maui was Paniolo country.

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

Visiting the winery is easy, just head to Kula along highway 37 – travel through Maui Beef company territory and enjoy the expansive views. You’ll come upon the winery on the left with the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and deli on the right.  I recommend having lunch at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and wine-tasting in one afternoon. We’ll add a blog post soon about the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Deli soon!

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

We found that we really liked one of the wines they produce so we joined the wine club so that we can get it back home as well as provide for our guests. One of our favorites is Kula,  a crisp white wine at a very ‘weekday wine‘ price point – and with tasting notes of; ‘ginger, peach skin, tangerine oil, apricot, honeysuckle. pomelo. asian pear. jacaranda, nectar flower, sweet basil root‘, it is indeed a yummy wine!

The wine club is well worth checking out (make sure they can ship to your state.) Jeff and Casey, our son, really like the 2015 Syrah. With tasting notes of “kiawe smoke. dill. plumb. rhubarb. morels. wet forest. dates. tobacco. darkness. new leather. thought provoking. masculine. fig. green tea” it doesn’t take much convincing to sip this luscious wine!

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

Visiting the Winery – From their website:


Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

“Starting at the King’s Cottage, we invite you to engage your senses with a tasting at our 18-foot bar, crafted from a single piece of solid mango wood. Take a step back in time with us and enjoy the rich culture of this historic location.

Originally constructed in the 1870s, the King’s Cottage was built for the visits of King Kalākaua, the last reigning king of Hawai’i, who would come to the slopes of ‘Ulupalakua to relax, entertain, and enjoy a little royal vacation time.

Here, it is our privilege to continue this rich tradition of home-grown hospitality as we offer a taste of our handcrafted wines. Whether you plan to visit our historic winery in a group or as a romantic outing for two, you can experience all of our unique wines here, including our popular pineapple wines, Traditional Methode sparkling wines, and our small production estate wines.

Tastings are offered here every day from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and guided tours of the historic estate, production area, and wine cellar depart the King’s Cottage lanai at 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.”

Tasting: 10am-5:00pm
Tours: 10:30am & 1:30pm, 30 minutes

No reservations required for groups of less than 10

Tasting: $10-$15 Fee (flight of 5 wines)
Tours: Complimentary

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

Private tastings are also available:

“For our most exclusive MauiWine experience, it is our pleasure to offer a personalized tour with one of our knowledgeable wine consultants. Stroll through the beautiful historic estate, view our production area, and enjoy a one-on-one wine tasting in one of the many historic buildings on the estate. A great way to make memories with friends, family, and those you love at MauiWine—all part of this unforgettable private experience.

Time: variable, unavailable for same day booking

Starting at $400, inquire for pricing

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

A Rare Vineyard Experience

A visit to our vineyard is not only a memorable adventure for the wine enthusiast, but a chance to experience the beauty of the island in an unparalleled way. Stroll between the rows of grapes and run your fingers through the rich volcanic soils that sustain our vines and give each of our varietals their distinctive character. In our 23-acre vineyard, you get away from it all and escape to a little slice of island paradise that is made available to few. At sunset, this experience offers an unbelievable perspective of the island that can’t quite be put into words. Join us outside, in the center of one of the most unique vineyards in the world. Experience a tasting of our estate wines that is designed to be as exclusive as the ground you stand on… where the flavors and aromas of our unique wines blend with the fresh mountain air and the warm glow of the majestic Maui sun disappearing behind the horizon.

*Booking requests must be received at least 7 days in advance and within 45 days of requested date.

Availability Seasonal & Extremely Limited

$850.00 Minimum – Advanced Booking Required

*See Vineyard Experiences for information on private tours and tastings in the vineyards.”

Head on up country and enjoy the spectacular views, laid back style of a bygone era and sip some delicious wines.

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Wine Tasting MauiWine Winery Vineyards

10th Annual Maui Brewers Festival – May 19, 2018

Maui Brewers Festival
10th Annual Maui Brewers Festival

May 19, 2018

Maui Brewers Festival Tickets: $120/VIP, $65/GA, $55/Designated Driver GA; prices increase on day of show (plus applicable fees)

Maui Brewers Festival

VIP Exclusive Tasting begins at 2:00 pm; General Admission starts at 3:30 pm

The Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s annual fundraiser—the Maui Brewers Festival—is one of Maui’s top festivals!

The event features tasty food from local restaurants and caterers at no additional charge, beer tastings from local and national craft breweries, live music featuring Riddum Station, Yum Yum Beast, Shea Butter and the Cream, door prizes, a home brew competition, and lots of fun!

Don’t like beer? Enjoy hard cider, kombucha, root beer, and delicious food—at no additional charge!

Maui Brewers Festival

VIP tickets include:
•    Entry at 2:00 pm for exclusive VIP tasting
•    Ten (10) 4 oz. beer tastings
•    Access to rare beer throughout the event (while supplies last)
•    First dibs at food from over 20 vendors
•    Commemorative tasting glass
•    Discounted festival t-shirt
•    Beer lanyard
•    Live music
•    Prize giveaways only for VIPs

Maui Brewers Festival

General admission tickets include:
•    Eight (8) 4 oz. beer tastings
•    Commemorative tasting glass
•    Food selections from over 20 vendors
•    Live music
•    Prize giveaways

Maui Brewers Festival
Maui Brewers Fest Sponsors

Via MauiNow:The Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s signature fundraiser and local favorite, the Maui Brewers Festival, will return for its 10th anniversary on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

VIP and General Admission tickets are now available for the popular ‘Brews & Food’ event, taking place in the MACC’s A&B Amphitheater and Yokouchi Pavilion.”

Maui Brewers Festival

cont… “The event will showcase over 90 craft brews from breweries in Hawai‘i and the US Mainland, including many rare beers, as well as a wide range of delicious food offerings from many of Maui’s finest chefs, caterers and other food purveyors.

For this year’s special 10th anniversary event, there will be 45 breweries participating in the festival, among its largest number ever, including 13 from Hawai‘i—all carefully selected because of their commitment to making craft beer with an emphasis on quality, flavor, and locally sourced ingredients.

All food is included in the ticket price. Attendees will enjoy ono grinds from many local restaurants and caterers, featuring both savory and sweet temptations. And as in past years, the event will also feature Vitali-Tea Kombucha, root beer, coffee and other beverages.

This year’s music lineup includes Yum Yum Beast, Riddum Station and Shea Butter and The Cream.” by Nikki Shenfeld

Primo Aloha Festival Ale goes highly recommended at Maui Brewers Festival

This year’s breweries include: Anchor Brewing • Avery Brewing Company, • 2 Towns Ciderhouse   • Aloha Beer Company  • Anderson Valley Brewing Company, • Austin Beerworks, • Ballast Point Brewing Company   • Bear Republic Brewing Company   • Beer Lab HI   • Big Island Brewhaus   • Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams & Angry Orchard)       • Deschutes Brewery   • Eel River Brewing Company   • Great Divide Brewing Co.   • Green Flash Brewing Company   • Hawai‘i Nui Brewing & Mehana Brewing Company   • Honolulu BeerWorks   • Hop Valley Brewing Company   • Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales   • Kaua‘i Beer Company   • Kaua‘i Island Brewing Company   • Kohola Brewery   • Kona Brewing Company   • Lagunitas Brewing Company   • Lanikai Brewing Company   • Lost Coast Brewery   • Maui Brewing Co.   • Modern Times Beer   • Mother Earth Brew Co.   • New Belgium Brewery         • Newtopia Cyder   • Ola Brew Co   • Paradise Ciders   • Pizza Port Brewing Company               • Rogue   • Saint Archer Brewing Co.   • Second Chance Brewing   • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.   • Smog City Brewing   • Stone Brewing Co.   • The Bruery & Bruery Terreux   •  Three Weavers Brewing Company   • Waikiki Brewing Company and   • Wandering Aengus Ciderworks.

Maui Brewers Festival

This year’s food vendors include:   • Teddy’s Bigger Burgers   • Whole Foods Market   • Catering Creations by Vasi   • Sumo Dogs,   • Maui Tacos   • AK’s Café   • Star Anise Indian Cuisine   • Three’s Bar & Grill   • Mulligan’s on the Blue   • Shearwater Tavern   • Maui Cones   • Outrigger Pizza   • The Maui Cookie Lady   • Maui Brewing Co   • Shaka Pops and   • Pascual’s Café.

Maui Brewers Festival

For More Info Visit Maui Arts & Cultural Center web page

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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Maui Brewers Festival - Vacation Rental Maui

Catch A Ride With Turtle Tracks – Kihei Maui’s First Electric Shuttle

Turtle Tracks Maui
Catch A Ride With Turtle Tracks  – The $3 Ride With The Aloha Vibe!

Update: The original owners of Turtle Tracks have retired the business. Per a Facebook post, new owners are due to take over. When they do, we will update this page with new info and their website. Mahalo! (1•31•2022, new website is up

You’re staying in South Kihei but have dinner plans in Wailea and want to try all.the.tropical.cocktails. Whatchya gonna do? Call Turtle Tracks of course!

Call or Text for a ride


Turtle Tracks is the brain child of husband and wife team Pam and Gary Zeemin, and they’re living the dream. Leaving Oregon behind to start up Kihei’s first electric shuttle servicing South Kihei Road from Foodland down to Wailea. They began taking folks for rides up and down South Kihei road in late November but they’re fast becoming a Kihei institution. You can’t miss their bright green 6-seater golf-carts on steroids!

Turtle Tracks Maui

From their page: Just $3 per ride and more fun than Uber! We are Maui’s first and only electric powered public transportation. We will deliver you safely to your destination and ensure you have fun along the way. Happy hour, luaus, shopping trips or just a ride to the beach, we’ve got you covered! We can transport up to 5 passengers at a time in each of our 2 vehicles. Call or text for pickup!

Turtle Tracks Maui

Turtle Tracks is currently running two 2018 Polaris Gems, each of which seat 6 people.  They come equipped with seat belts, and have available booster seats on board for the kids.  By law, all child passengers need to be over 4 years old and 40lbs.  Because the Gems are electric vehicles and battery powered, they have zero emissions and are great for the environment.

Turtle Tracks Maui

Their Turtles are Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and they are street legal on roads that have speed limits of 35mph or less. They operate on South Kihei Road, and provide service to Wailea. Each Turtle can transport up to 5 passengers at a time. UPDATE 8/9/2018 Turtle Tracks is now operating between Azeka shopping plaza down to Wailea resorts.  A great improvement for shopping and quick trips to the post office, Longs in Kihei and some great restaurants in the Azeka area such as Nalu’s, Fork & Salad, Miso Phat Sushi. 

Turtle Tracks Maui

Booking a ride is super easy!  Call, text or wave them down.  You can call for a ride, you can make an appointment for a ride at a later time or just flag down one of the green Turtles when you see them shuttling up and down South Kihei road!

Turtle Tracks Maui

Turtles run from 1pm to 9pm daily and fare is $3 per person. Remember to tip well ! (original prices started at $2 but has recently gone up slightly)

Turtle Tracks Maui

On our most recent trip to Maui, it was prime season in the middle of February. We headed over to Fred’s for the very popular Taco Tuesday and found the wait to be more than half an hour and there were several dozen others waiting for a table. We were hoping for dinner during sunset so I phoned the ever popular Five Palms and was able to snag an ocean-view table reservation but it’s a mile from our condo – so not far enough to justify taking the car but also too far to walk and make the reservation in time. LIGHT BULB! I called Turtle Tracks, as I had just seen the Turtle that passed us on South Kihei road going in the other direction. In less than 5 minutes the next one came along to pick us up.

Turtle Tracks Maui

Gary was super friendly, dropped us off right at the front door of Five Palms and we made our reservation in time! Perfect in every way with the bonus of having open air shuttle that allows you to feel the ocean breezes and catch the beach scenery!

Such a great option if you want to bar hop, try out happy hours, ditching the car, walk to the store but want a ride back with all your groceries, go grab a quick bite to eat, transport to a different beach without fighting for a parking spot!

Gary gave us a few fridge magnets to leave for our guests. I’ll definitely be using the Turtle Tracks shuttles in the future and recommending them to our guests! It’s really just a brilliant business to start in Maui and we wish them all the best in their future on Maui!

​Call or Text for a ride


Follow Turtle Tracks on Instagram or Facebook

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Catch A Ride With Turtle Tracks - Kihei Maui's First Electric Shuttle - Vacation Rental Maui

Sharing Our Favorite Island Style Poke – Best Poke On Maui

Best Poke Maui

One of the delicious treats we eat as soon as we land in Maui is some fresh island style poke.

I wrote the following in a recent blog post about Local Style Foods;

Poke – It’s not sushi, it’s poke. And it’s pronounced PO-keh! Many pronounce it like ‘Pokey’ as in ‘Do the Hokey Pokey‘ but the sure-fire way to blend in while traveling in Hawai’i is to pronounce it correctly. Most often Poke is made from Ahi (yellowfin tuna), shoyu sauce (we say shoyu in Hawai’i, the mainland says ‘Soy Sauce’), onions, and any number of other flavors like sesame oil, avocado, seaweed, oyster sauce, Sriracha and more.

Our favorite ‘weekday‘ Poke comes from Foodland grocery store in Kihei. What do I mean by ‘weekday’? Think of it like ‘weekday wine’ – perfect for every day and we have our favorites. But don’t compare to high-end restaurants or a $200 bottles of wine. Still, Foodland wins every time for us.

If you’re not sure if you like poke or not sure what flavor you love best, just politely ask for a free sample to try.  A close runner up for offering great poke is Tamura’s which is a local liquor store/deli that can be found in 4 locations on Maui with one being located on Dairy road just after you leave the Kahului Airport! Perfect stop for when you’ve just gotten off the plane and you’re starving because the airplane food was yuck!


But for today, I’ll focus on the poke from Foodland. Generally speaking, there are dozens of flavors to try. Most are ahi based and others a little more ‘exotic’ such as muscles and taco (octopus).

The word “poke” comes from the Hawaiian word for “to slice or cut.” The main ingredient can be anything from ahi to tako to shellfish.



For the ahi variety you can try ‘California Roll’ with tobiko and avocado or ‘Spicy’ with a Sri Racha based sauce, another favorite is the ‘Wasabi-Oyster Sauce’.  There is the more basic ‘Shoyu’ sauce, or Poke Avocado. I tend to gravitate to the spicy or oyster sauce variety and often order a 1/2 pint container with a mix of both.


Perhaps you’re not sure if you like poke (trust me, if you like seared ahi, sashimi or sushi, you’ll love poke) – no worries, just ask for a sample or two. The gal that works the counter at the Kihei Foodland wears a perpetual smile and is always so pleasant – offering up samples.


Feeling brave and ready to try out some real island flavors? Why not sample the pickled garlic, kimchee cucumber, or other island specialties.

For our guests staying at our condo, we offer a local’s ‘Maika’i Savings Card’, attached to the house keyring.  Be sure to take it along on your grocery trips to save money on in-store specials like their delicious poke.


Foodland is easy to find, it’s located on South Kihei Road, across from Kalama Park (the park with the giant whale out front) and just a few minutes drive or a good half-hour walk (each way) from our condo – Once inside the store, the Poke counter is located in the back right.



Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *


Best Poke Maui - Vacation Rental Maui


Ultimate Guide To Hawai’ian Islands Local Foods

Ultimate Guide To Hawai'ian Islands Local Foods

It dawned on me as I was writing The Essential Guide To Food Trucks Of South Maui that I mentioned many food dishes (grinds) that were truly unique to the Hawai’ian Islands.  I guess I have some explaining to do so I’ve put together this Ultimate Guide To Hawai’ian Islands Local Foods.  A primer of sorts to help you out when reading menus while visiting Maui or any of the gorgeous islands in the Hawai’ian archipelago. Where I can, I share our favorite spots to find these unique local-style Island delicacies on Maui!

Present Hawai’ian Island food culture is a melting pot of many international influences.  You’ve got Portuguese, Native Hawai’ian cuisine,  American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Polynesian sometimes all rolled into one meal!

When you put all of these food cultures into an equation, the results are infinite and nothing less than unique and creative!

Ultimate Guide To Hawai’ian Islands Local Foods

Desserts and Sweets

Let’s start with dessert items shall we, because who doesn’t love dessert?

photo by Ululani’s Shave Ice

Shave Ice – Shave ice or Hawaiian shave ice is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. To be correct, it’s ‘Shave Ice’ not Shaved Ice! While the product can resemble a snow cone, snow cones are made with crushed, rather than shaved, ice. Served in a cone or cone shaped cup, flavored syrups are added to the ice, which are absorbed by the ice instead of surrounding it, shave ice in Hawai’i is often flavored with local ingredients such as guava, pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit, li hing mui (salty dried plum), lychee, kiwi fruit and mango. The toppings are very unique to Hawai’i too! Look for mochi balls, sweetened condensed milk, adzuki beans, ice cream! You won’t find toppings like shredded toasted coconut or adzuki beans on the Mainland! Our favorite Shave Ice spot is Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice located in north Kihei! (and walk next door for fresh out of the fryer Malasadas at Sugar Beach Bakeshop!)

Haupia – Haupia is a traditional coconut milk-based Hawai’ian dessert often found at luaus and other local gatherings in Hawaiʻi. Think of it as coconut finger jello. The traditional Hawaiian recipe for haupia calls for heated coconut milk to be mixed with ground pia (Polynesian arrowroot, Tacca leontopetaloides) until the mixture thickens. Due to the lack of availability of arrowroot starch, some modern recipes for haupia substitute cornstarch. Don’t worry if you fall in love with Haupia while visiting the Island, you can buy packets at the local grocery stores and take it home with you or order online too! But it’s also simple enough to make from scratch at home. Check out the how to video if you love this local-Hawai’ian yummy pudding!

Portuguese Sweet Bread – or Pao Doce, that was originally a Christmas and Easter tradition. Portuguese sweet bread is a bread made with milk, sugar and/or honey, eggs, yeast, flour and sometimes lemon peel to produce a subtly sweet lightly textured loaf or rolls. If you’ve ever found ‘King’s Hawai’ian Bread’ on the mainland you get an idea of what this yummy bakery goodie is all about.

Kulolo – Kulolo is a Hawai’ian dessert made primarily with baked or steamed grated taro corms and either with grated coconut meat or coconut milk. Considered a pudding, kulolo has a solid consistency like fudge and is often served cut into squares

Malasada – Hawaii’s favorite fried treat. A malasada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. Think Mainland donut holes on steroids. There’s an upcoming blog post that I’ll do on the divine Malasadas from the Sugar Beach Bake Shop. Suffice it to say that they are amazing – and all Malasadas are not created equally!

Cinnamon Malasada

Ice Cream Mochis from Leonard

Mochi Ice Cream – Mochi Ice Cream is bite-sized ice cream wrapped in mochi, a sweetened rice dough. Pretty much anything Mochi, not just Mochi Ice Cream is popular in Hawaii. Why not try Butter Mochi, or Mochi Balls on your Shave Ice or Mochi’s cousin Chi Chi Dango (another confection made from rice flour).


Technically speaking many of the items listed here could fall under the snack category but here are a few that are specifically – just snacks.

Crack Seed – Crack seed is a category of snacks that originated in China. It is highly popular in many regions, such as Hawaii. Crack seed are basically preserved fruits that have been cracked or split with the seed or kernel partially exposed as a flavor enhancement. The flavors are varied, ranging from extremely sweet and salty to sour flavors. Flavors can include rock salt plum, li hing mui, honey mango, licorice peach, or any kind of combination of fruits, flavors and type of preservatives used. What originally was a preserved fruit has become a favorite snack in Hawaii and a sample of a cultural food.

Li Hing Mui – Basically a salted, dried plum but also a flavoring. You can find variations such as seedless, shredded, sweet, sweet-sour, red, white etc. Eaten as a snack , Li Hing for short, is a a ‘crack seed’.  But the flavoring – which is ground up plum skin mixed with various other flavors and red color – is sprinkled on fresh fruit, added to tropical drinks, shave ice, you name it. An acquired taste for most and the ingredients of present day Li Hing Mui don’t exactly convey as ‘health food’ (think red and yellow food dye with aspartame)

swap meet

Taro Chips – One of my favorite snacks (and I like to start my trip to Maui eating them on the plane, Hawaiian Airlines currently offers them on their snack menu.) The Hawaiian Chip Co. makes (in my opinion) the best taro chips. They are not overly salted like ones from another major chip company. They’re just perfect for snacking on the beach! I love their starchy goodness and rarely do I not eat an entire bag.

Have you gone into a sugar coma yet?  Mouth puckering from the thought of  sour pickled plums? Yea, me too. Let’s move on to some main dishes shall we.

And speaking of Taro, let’s talk about…

Poi – I recall stories from my Tutu (grandmother) of my mom eating fresh poi as a baby during the years they lived on Oahu. I’ve eaten poi several times, but it’s been a while. Note to self; eat poi again on next trip to Maui!  According to Wikipedia (and I use their reference to make sure I get it right)

Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the underground plant stem or corm of the taro plant (known in Hawaiian as kalo). It is a traditional part of Native Hawaiian cuisine.

Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) until it is a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating to achieve the desired consistency, which can range from liquid to dough-like. As such, poi can be known as “one-finger,” “two-finger,” or “three-finger” poi depending on the consistency, alluding to how many fingers are required to scoop it up in order to eat it (the thicker the poi, the fewer fingers required to scoop a sufficient mouthful). Poi can be eaten immediately when fresh and sweet, or left a bit longer to ferment.

For me, poi was a bit like the kindergarden paste of my childhood in texture, not that I ate paste as a kid, has a mild flavor and would be a staple that I imagine is like growing up with hot oatmeal for breakfast.

poi @ ono hawaiian foods

Main Dishes

Loco Moco – This is some kind of meal and how it came to be is a bit of a mystery to me as the combination is not one I’d ever come up with (the history of this local and widely polular dish is known and is said to have come from Lincoln Grill in Hilo).  Imagine this, a plate of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, then smothered in gravy/sauce and finished off with an over-easy fried egg.  There are of course variants to this dish but generally speaking these are the ‘bones’ of it.

Hawaii: Loco Moco

Manapua – Manapua is a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun (Cha siu bao).  In Hawai’i, Manapua’s  name is a shortening of the Hawai’ian mea ʻono puaʻa, meaning, “delicious pork thing.”  This Dim Sum item consists of a white bun with a dark pink-colored diced pork filling. Manapua has come to mean any meat-filled or bean-paste-filled bun made with the same dough and includes locally created versions with hot dogs, curry chicken, kalua pig, and even ube (purple yam), which is a popular vegetarian version of the manapua. In Hawai’i, freshly prepared or prepackaged frozen manapua may be found in dedicated bakeries, restaurants, food trucks, swap meet vendors and chain convenience stores. Which side of the fence you reside on , steamed or baked will provide you with endless debate among locals.

Oyster Sauce Chicken Manapua and passion orange drink

Mixed Plate/Plate Lunch – typical plate lunch consists of white rice, macaroni salad (more on that later), and a meat of your choosing, such as pork, lau lau (more on that later too) maybe mahi mahi, katsu chicken or teriyaki beef.  “The best plate lunches are simple, unassuming meals made in small, non-franchise, hole-in-the-wall, joints owned by local and ethnic families for generations.” says Amberloo of TripAdvisor.  Likely the best Plate Lunch nearest our condo will come from Da Kitchen, a local institution. You’ll also find Spam Musubi on their menu. Da Kitchen is about a 5 minute walk from condo door to Da Kitchen door. In fact, if you want to try many of the local foods mentioned in this post, Da Kitchen is a good place to go as they serve up so many local-style dishes. When ordering, if your server asks “toss or mac” – you’re being asked if you tossed salad or macaroni salad. Plate lunch purists want two scoops, and white rice (not brown, ‘brown rice’ might be white rice covered in shoyu). UPDATE: Da Kitchen Kihei location and their central location has closed due to COVID and the downturn in the economy.

Spam Musubi – Spam is an immensely popular item in Hawaii. Go figure. And when you look at the quintessential island-fusion fast-food item, well… you get Spam Musubi. What the heck is it you say? It’s the ultimate portable snack or lunch food on the islands and is as ubiquitous as flip flops and sunscreen here. A hunk of fried/grilled spam sits atop a block of white rice wrapped in nori in the tradition of Japanese omusubi.

Macaroni Salad – Not a fan here but if you are then you’re in the right spot if you’re in Hawai’i! This ubiquitous pasta salad, nearly always served via ice cream scoop is accompanied by a same-shaped scoop of white rice (or two) and just about every place has it on the menu.

Plate Lunch Special

Saimin – Probably the ultimate local comfort food. Saimin (rhymes with eye-bin) is Chinese in origin but has blended over the years to be truly unique to the Islands. According to Hawai’i Magazine “One of Hawai’i’s most traditional local foods, saimin is an iteration of a Chinese egg-noodle soup that was developed during the Islands’ plantation era. You can taste how the recipe has been touched by Hawai‘i history’s different immigrant groups, primarily the thin Chinese chow mein-inspired noodles wading in a Japanese dashi broth. As more migrations followed, more ingredients informally entered the mix—green onions, kamaboko, kimchi, Portuguese sausage, Spam—to create the recognizable bowls of saimin you see today. It’s become so iconic you can order it at sporting events at Aloha Stadium, even McDonald’s locations across Hawaii. Star Noodle on Maui is one of the island’s go-to saimin shops.

Hamura Saimin, Lihue

Poke – It’s not sushi, it’s poke. And it’s pronounced PO-keh! Many pronounce it like ‘Pokey’ as in ‘Do the Hokey Pokey‘ but the sure fire way to blend in while traveling in Hawai’i is to pronounce it correctly. Most often Poke is made from Ahi (yellowfin tuna), shoyu sauce (we say shoyu in Hawai’i, the mainland says ‘Soy Sauce’), onions, and any number of other flavors like sesame oil, avocado, seaweed, Sriracha and more. Our favorite Poke comes from Foodland grocery store in Kihei (you can read more about our favorite island Poke here ). If you’re not sure if you like it or not sure what flavor you love best, they will give you a free sample to try.  A close runner up is Tamura’s which is a local liquor store/deli that can be found in 4 locations on Maui with one being located on Dairy road just after you leave the Kahului Airport! Perfect stop for when you’ve just gotten off the plane and you’re starving because the airplane food was yuck!

Shoyu – As mentioned above, in Hawai’i we call soy sauce by the name ‘Shoyu ‘ and it’s as much a staple as ketchup and mustard on the mainland. So though Shoyu isn’t unique to the Islands, but what we call it is really a regional thing. Wanna sound ‘local’, don’t ask for soy sauce.Ultimate Guide To Hawai'ian Islands Local Foods

Have a favorite snack or meal that you think is quintessentially Hawai’ian and ‘Local’? Leave us a comment below and let us know your favorites!

(Please note that where I use the term Hawai’i or Hawai’ian, I’m specifically referring to the local-style associated with the Hawai’ian Islands)

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Header Musubi photo via Flickr

Ultimate Guide To Hawai'ian Islands Local Foods
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