While Maui is well known for its stunning vistas and beautiful beaches, it’s a fantastic destination for food lovers as well. Cruisers will enjoy Maui’s delicious coffee, tropical fruits and farm-to-table produce, as well as the inspired Pacific Rim cuisine found at many of the island’s restaurants. Desserts and homemade baked goods are exceptional here, too.
If you’re heading to Maui, make sure to try a few of these tasty treats on your next trip:
1. Don't Miss Maui's Shave Ice. Shave ice is one of Maui’s true delights. Please don’t call it “shaved ice” - it’s so much better than the crushed ice snow cones that mainland tourists often expect. Blocks of ice are finely shaved into snow-like consistency and mounded into a huge ball atop a paper or plastic cup, then topped with a variety of syrups such as coconut, pina colada, mango, passion fruit, strawberry and melona. Local Boys Shave Ice and Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice are popular Maui shave ice spots and definitely two of my favorites. If you go, make sure to get your shave ice with a scoop of Roselani ice cream on the bottom and Kauai Cream on top – it’s delicious.
2. Sample Cheese and Chocolates. Located in upcountry Kula, the Surfing Goat Dairy is a great agri-tourism spot for families and foodies to visit. Daily tours provide opportunities to learn about how the dairy makes its award-winning goat cheese spreads and scrumptious gourmet goat cheese truffles. Kids will enjoy feeding the dairy’s cute goats here, too.
3. Enjoy Outstanding Fine Dining. Discerning foodies will be right at home on Maui. The island is filled with superb restaurants spanning a wide range of cuisines. Some favorites include the delectable dishes served at the Kapalua Resort’s Pineapple Grill, small plates at Alan Wong's Amasia at the Grand Wailea, the elegant Pacific Rim fare at Lahaina Grill, the “East-meets-West” cooking at Roy’s Kaanapali Bar & Grill, and the delicious seafood and beautiful views at Mama’s Fish House on Maui’s North Shore.
4. Smell the Coffee. Savor Maui’s fine coffee during your visit and make sure to bring a bag or two home to enjoy. You can find delicious organically grown coffee at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula. O’o Farm in Waipoli also offers its own Maui grown and roasted Aina Gourmet Coffee for sale. Those stopping by O’o Farm can take an informational tour, have a gourmet lunch, and learn more about how the farm’s coffee and other sustainable “Farm to Table” crops are grown.
5. Try Sweet Crepes & Fruit Smoothies. Located along the Road to Hana, Pa’ia is known as “The Heart of Maui’s North Shore” and is filled with cool boutiques, art galleries, and great food stores like Mana Foods. Sit outside in the courtyard at Café des Amis after shopping and enjoy a pure fruit smoothie or one of their sweet crepes. Favorites include Kula strawberries and cream, Nutella, Maui cane sugar with lime juice, and banana and chocolate. Then head down the road to renowned Ho’okipa Beach Park to watch the surfers and windsurfers do their thing. Travelers will spot plenty of roadside stands selling fresh fruit smoothies and delicious fruits on their drives around Maui. Make sure to stop and try such delights as mouthwatering pineapple, papaya, and the hot pink and green dragon fruit.
6. Taste Lavender Scones. With its lovely walking paths and vistas, Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm is a great place to relax, unwind, and breathe in the rejuvenating scent of lavender. Over 55,000 lavender plants grow here, along with protea, hydrangea and other flowers. Lavender is used to make all sorts of culinary products at this farm, including lavender lilikoi jelly, lavender herb tea, lavender flavored coffee, and even lavender scones. Make sure to sample a few during your visit.
7. Savor the BBQ. Located right at Ma’alaea Harbor, Beach Bums Bar & Grill is the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner for those returning from a whale watching or Molokini snorkeling trip. This seaside eatery should be on the “must visit” list for barbecue lovers and anyone who enjoys casual dining with a great water view. Beach Bums’ pulled pork barbecue and beef brisket is finger lickin’ good and their fish tacos are excellent as well.
8. Stop for Fresh Banana Bread. Drivers along the Road to Hana will find numerous stands selling freshly made banana bread, tropical fruits, coconut candies, Kalua Pig barbecue, gelato, and more. Pull over and have a taste – it’s all part of the experience. Check out Aunty Sandy's Keanae Landing Fruit Stand and Halfway to Hana for delicious banana breads – both are excellent.
9. Buy Baked Goods Like a Local. Those passing through the tiny upcountry cowboy town of Makawao are likely to see residents hurrying into family-owned T. Komoda Store & Bakery on Baldwin Avenue. Don’t let the building’s nondescript outer appearance fool you – this place has some of the best baked goods on the island. Join the long line of locals to purchase such delicacies as chocolate or vanilla cream puffs, guava malasadas, doughnuts on a stick, cinnamon raisin buns, long johns and butter rolls. Get there early if possible - the cream puffs go fast. Stillwell’s Bakery & Café in Wailuku is another local favorite.
10. Splurge on Mud Pie. If you’re a coffee ice cream lover, you’ve come to the right place for dessert. Maui’s decadent Mile High Mud Pie, also called Hula Pie, is a mouth-watering way to finish off a meal. At some places, a slice of this pie can easily be a feast in and of itself. The Sheraton Maui’s version of Mile High Mud Pie features Kona coffee ice cream, oreo cookie crust and chocolate ganache. Leilani's on the Beach is another great place to sample huge portions of Hula Pie. Another delicious choice is the Lahaina Grill’s Kauai Pie: oreo crusted Kona coffee ice cream pie layered with chocolate fudge, coconut flakes and macademia nuts.
11. Go Nuts for Macademia Nuts. Macademia nuts grow well in Maui’s volcanic soil. Visitors will find them plenty of them packaged and ready to take home, but make sure to try them on some of your favorite dishes while you’re in Maui. Macademia nuts are delicious on pancakes for breakfast at places like upcountry Kula Lodge (on the way to Haleakala) or at Charley's Restaurant in Pa’ia. The Pineapple Grill’s Macademia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi is exceptional as well.
12. Sip Pineapple Wine. Drive up the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala volcano to Tedeschi Vineyards – Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch. This commercial winery produces sparkling, pineapple, grape, and raspberry dessert wines for sale. Daily tours are offered and complimentary wine tasting is available for visitors ages 21 and older. An ID with proof of age is required for wine tasting. For those who would like to stay for lunch, the Ulupalakua Ranch Store’s Deli & Grill serves a variety of Maui Cattle Country beef items as well as Ulupalakua elk burgers.
For more information on planning your visit to Maui, go to The Magic Isle’s website at www.visitmaui.com.