People travel to Maui for a variety of reasons- the beautiful scenery and weather, the warm ocean and golden sand beaches, and a vast array of island activities. What you might not realize is that Maui has the most land dedicated to farming of all the Hawaiian islands. The fruits (and veggies) of this agricultural labor comes through deliciously in island cuisine. While we lost a few eateries over the pandemic, we are thrilled to see new snack and dining opportunities appear. Take a little foodie tour with us to see what’s new, and support local businesses that are embracing locally sourced ingredients.
Mauians are no stranger to Asian fusion cuisine. Going back to plantation days, arrivals from the East brought their own unique ingredients and flavors to combine with the abundance of freshly grown produce, as well as proteins
from land and sea, influenced by the native traditions.
One of south Maui’s newest restaurants, Lineage, uniquely celebrates Asian fusion. The establishment strives to support local farmers and suppliers as much as possible, served with local style hospitality and aloha. From the One-Ton chips sprinkled on the poke appetizer, chef’s special preparation of local fish, or exclusive Wagyu Kalbi ribs to handcrafted cocktails like the Buddha Belly or gourmet desserts with a decidedly local flair, this menu is like none other on the island. Find Lineage at the Shops at Wailea.
A former chef from Lineage, Robert Ramshur, left that hotspot to go in a different direction- snacks! Traveling Plum centers around a local favorite known as crack seed. The treat gets its name from preserved fruits that have been cracked or split with the seed or kernel partially exposed as a flavor enhancement. The candy is a delicious combination of fermented fruit that is both sweet and sour.
Some find the flavors addicting. Whether as a snack or adornment for a unique cocktail, these treats are like nothing else. Located at the popular Maui Tropical Plantation in Central Maui, Traveling Plum’s fare uses local fruit like pineapple, starfruit and guava, which you can also observe growing on a Plantation tour.
Shikeda Bento Patisserie
Another exceptional fusion is the Japanese and French pastries at Shikeda Bento Patisserie. Fresh made every day from local ingredients, get there early for flavors like banana caramel, matcha berry or an array of choux au craquelin and roulade. But we can’t eat dessert all day (can we?). The patisserie also offers savory bento boxes (think divided lunch pail, with specialties like Japanese curry and mochiko chicken. Located in the heart of old Wailuku town.
Esters Fair Prosect
Neighboring the Patisserie in Wailuku is a watering hole worth a journey off the beaten path. Esters Frair Prospect has vintage décor will take you back to a kitschy chapter in Maui’s history. Two best friends with top industry experience have created an extensive and oddly wonderful drink menu. The Milk Punch is a favorite for its flavor, but others selections are hard to resist because of the names, like Velvet Elvis, Dirty Birdy and Come Here Often?
Food offerings are minimal, so plan to go for the drinks and atmosphere.
Mahalo Ale Works and Marlow
What’s better than pizza and beer? Enjoying it in cool upcountry Maui! These two businesses are actually separate in the same new complex on the slopes of Halakala. Husband and wife team at Marlow, Jeff and Kaili Scheer, bake up pies, and a few other signature entrees, in their kiawe wood fired oven, featuring fresh ingredients from local farms. Patrons can take their pizza next door to Mahalo Ale Works for a cold one, described as rustic, artisanal farmhouse ales. The perfect hardy brew can be enjoyed with pizza in the ample two-story taproom, or on the outdoor lanai with an island view.
Island chefs and entrepreneurs are providing delicious new hot spots all around Maui. Come explore with us!