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Food tips and recommendations in Maui, Hawaii: The top five dishes to try

Beat the heat in Hawaii with shaved ice. Photo: iStock SPONSORED ARTICLE
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Maui isn’t all just beautiful, unspoiled beaches, lush rainforests and volcanic craters—the island abounds with great food, too. Thanks to the fusion of Polynesian, Japanese, Filipino and Portuguese influences, the cuisine on Maui is incredibly diverse, exciting and delicious to boot. Below, we’ve rounded up the top five dishes you need to eat when in Maui (and where to get them).

1. Poke at Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Café

Poke, pronounced poh-keh, is a Hawaiian culinary staple that typically consists of cubed raw ahi (tuna) marinated in a mixture of shoyu, sesame oil, Hawaiian salt, and green onions. For all its simplicity, the dish is incredibly flavourful, often served atop warm rice. Though you can get it at most Hawaiian fish markets, the best poke on the island can be found at Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Café, a small, low-key eatery in Kihei beloved by locals for its delicious fresh seafood. Eskimo Candy offers four different kinds of poke—order the kind dressed in spicy mayo—served over white rice and topped with furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning. For $10, it’s the best cheap eat on the island.

Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Café, 2665 Wai Wai Place, Kihei, +1 808 879 5686

2. Loco Moco at Da Kitchen

Da Kitchen is a Maui institution: its hearty, home cooked Hawaiian comfort food has been featured on The Travel Channel and has made fans out of everyone from Taylor Swift to President Barack Obama. But even with all its fame, the establishment has remained relaxed, cozy and unpretentious, its smiling waiters serving up cheap, enormous plates of Hawaiian food with a side of Aloha daily. The best thing on its menu? The equally-iconic Loco Moco: a mountain of rice under a floppy hamburger patty, topped with an egg and doused in gravy. Delicate? Not a chance. Delicious? Very. Throw a couple of slices of fried Spam on top and call it breakfast.

Da Kitchen, 425 Koloa Street, Suite 104, Kahului, +1 808 871 7782

3. Stuffed Mahi Mahi at Mama’s Fish House

Like Da Kitchen, Mama’s Fish House in Paia is one of iconic eateries in Maui. It’s been around since 1973, and serves native fish that’s caught and cooked that day (Mama’s daily menu even lists the name of the fisherman and where they caught the fish). Their menu changes regularly based on the catch, but you can usually expect to see Mama’s stuffed Mahi Mahi: the dish that put Mama’s on the map, and a must-eat when in Maui. The whole Mahi Mahi is stuffed with lobster and crab, and then baked to perfection in a macadamia nut crust. It’s nothing short of legendary, so stand in line, ignore the tourists, and just go.

Mama’s Fish House, 799 Poho Place, Paia, +1 808 579 8488

4. Shave Ice at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Sure, you can get shave ice anywhere in Maui, but one bite of Ululani’s and you’ll quickly realize that not all shave ice is created equal. In fact, some say the shave ice at Ululani’s is the best in the world: they use filtered water, shave the ice by hand right in front of you, and use homemade syrups crafted with 100% cane sugar and local fruit. Try the No Ka Oi: a coconut, mango and lilikoi (passionfruit) shave ice blend, topped with sweetened condensed milk, azuki beans, and macadamia nut ice cream.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice, 819 Front Street, Lahaina, +1 808 877 3700

5. Plate lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate

You can’t get more quintessentially Hawaiian than the plate lunch—essentially the Hawaiian version of a bento box—generally consisting of two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, Kalua pork or pork laulau (wrapped in taro leaves), poi and lomi salmon. Though you can get plate lunches on practically every corner in Maui, Aloha Mixed Plate remains authentic, affordable and is in an ideal location by the water on Lahaina’s bustling Front Street.

Aloha Mixed Plate, 1285 Front St, Lahaina, +1 808 661 3322

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