Cheap Eats: 5 spots for Lunch for around 5 bucks in Lahaina

Amigos, Lahaina


Wharf Center, Lahaina, 808-661-0210

1 Lengua taco, and 1 tacos al pastor $6

Better not say ewwww. I eat tongue, and lots of other animal parts too. If you are going to talk sustainability, I am going to talk about how we should be utilizing all of the animal if we are going to kill it to eat it. Hot dogs don’t count.

Here’s how I first did it: I walked up to order and asked them if the lengua is good. While the server eyed me up to see if I was joking, he offered, “you can try it.” I said yes, he said something in spanish to the dude cooking, who in turn looked at me and laughed. Server hands me a small cup with the lengua, it is delicious. I order one lengua and one al pastor, because al pastor is food of the gods marinated and roasted pork, garnished with onions and cilantro. Simple and delicious. The two dudes proceed to laugh some more, talk some more in Spanish, and hand me a reciept. they can’t figure out why one white looking girl has any business eating such ethnic food. But if you want food adventure and to expand your palate, you are going to have to taste the world around you.

Lengua tastes like beef. What a surprise right, but filet, tri tip and ground beef all have a beefy taste so why not the cows tongue too? The texture is soft, and there is a lot of flavor like the meat has been sauteed with aromatics and seasoned well. It is chopped into small size pieces, so in case you were picturing a corn tortilla around a slab of cow tongue you can just quit that now. I would ask about the preparation if i spoke spanish, as it was they couldn’t stop giggling at me. Now that I always order the lengua they have stopped laughing. Next up: cabeza taco.

Amigo's on Urbanspoon


Aloha Mixed Plate

1285 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-3322 @ampmaui

Shoyu Chicken Mini Plate – $3.95

The mini plate is a very special phenomenon of the plate lunch, its half size. Also known as a hobo. If you are strapped for cash but still want plate lunch goodness this is your compromise. At Aloha Mixed Plate they actually have several mini plate options ranging from $3.95 to $5.95, like the loco moco, teri beef, breaded teri beef, mahi, and the hamburger steak. For a some beautifully seasoned proteins, a scoop of rice with a bit of cabbage this is eating like a king for a paupers price. Your main sacrifice from a regular plate is the omition of any mac salad, and one less scoop rice.

Mini plates are also excellent for portion control and keeping the calories down if you are into that kind of thing. Guilt free dining if you will. I have also found that the service is fast. My take out arrived before I could send out a text message, and I am pretty fast with a smart phone. Aloha Mixed Plate has a beautiful ocean front view and an outdoor deck dining room, so take in the beauty of the west side coastline while you dine on a dime.

Aloha Mixed Plate on Urbanspoon


Sunrise Cafe

693 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-8558

Teri Chicken Sandwich $7

The Sunrise Cafe is right on Front Street behind Lapperts. For such a little joint they sure serve big portions. The chicken sandwich is no exception. Over six inches on a big soft wheat roll. Warm chicken breast chunks smothered in a thick teriyaki sauce with lettuce and tomato. Sometimes it features thin carrot shreds, sometimes its cucumbers, or sprouts. It comes with chips or a green salad, pasta salad or fruit. The salad is fresh greens with slices of cucumber and tomato. Their dressing is delicious. Its a simple small cafe, but they are trying to keep prices real on Front Street.

Sunrise also does an eggs benedict for about $8. A terrific option for the brunch lunchers. Two poached eggs over They are a small locally owned cafe, with perfect proximity and views of Lahaina harbor.  It is very casual dining, plastic tables and chairs around the cafe. If you are taking it to go you can call ahead.

Sunrise Cafe on Urbanspoon


Lahaina Cafe

843 Wainee St., 808 667-6655

$5 lunch special, $3 breakfast

Lahaina Cafe has one of Lahaina’s most extensive menu. Serving American breakfast, Vietnamese cuisine and dim sum, through 4am is one the facts that makes them stand out among West Maui Spots. Their menu is huge, and though I have tried many things, including the dim sum which is excellent, I love their barbecue chicken. It has an excellent sweet caramelized crust, the seasoning is light and lets the fresh herbs and veggies stand up around it. I have had it with vermicelli noodles and jasmine rice either way is delightful, vietnamese dishes always feature fresh salad, vegetables and herbs, they aromatic and delicious.

Lahaina Cafe is fairly new to its spot at 843 Wainee St. next to Nagasako General Store, but the proprietor Q has been in business of feeding Lahaina folks great food for many years at Bamboo Bar and Grill. What Lahaina Cafe does for their lunch special is take three items off of their regular menu and transforms them into the specials of the day. Monday’s specials were BBQ chicken, pork chop, or chicken stir fry. Call to find out what the special is they run everyday from 10 am to 2 pm. Lahaina Cafe has a nice size dining room.

Another great deal that deserves mention is the $3 breakfast. Two eggs, two pieces of bacon and your choice of hash browns, rice or toast. Hearty, straightforward and filling.

Lahaina Cafe on Urbanspoon


Commercial Mexicana Store

840 Wainee St, Lahaina, 808-661-6193

10 am to 8 pm

Chile Relleno ala carte $5.95

Enchiladas ala carte $2.50

This little mexican store is like shopping in Mexico, lots of import goodies. But they also have a hot food section where you can get the special creations of the Jalisco style influenced Mexican cuisine they create. Jalisco is a state in Mexico, maybe more well known for its tequila production or the town of Puerto Vallarta, and Guadalajara. If you have ever travelled through Mexico, you will notice that the same cuisine items vary a bit from region to region, and each state will have their specialties.

Their Chile Rellenos have a following, if you don’t get there pre-lunch rush, you might not get them at all. The chiles are stuffed with cheese and the egg batter around them is all puffed up and plump. They are served with a red sauce poured over and it has carrots and onions and so much flavor. By themselves the rellenos are $5.95 but if you want the plate for 2 bucks more you get rice and beans. They always have enchiladas as well for $2.50 each. The hot foods line has other options that change daily, and you can make a killer combo plate if you are willing to spend more.

Commercial Mexicana Store on Urbanspoon



  • jenrusso

    Thanks Anu. I tried the Lengua here in LA to compare notes. Amigos is as good as here. I agree, more Lahaina Cafe! I also picked up a real old school cookbook that has recipes for preparing tongue and other exotic parts that we not exotic back in the day. It wasn't very long ago actually that folks slaughtered their own animals and ate all the parts.

  • jenrusso

    Thank You Ally, let me know how it goes.

  • jenrusso

    Suzy, I am working on it! Please check out the Central Maui version here:
    Next up Upcountry. Also planning a cheap eats dinner version too!

  • AnuYagi

    Lalalalove this post/Food & Drink story, Jen! And if your blog doesn't look great enough as it is, the print edition — hitting stands tomorrow — is gorgeous!

    Ha! If any part of an animal is going to TASTE like the animal, is really ought to be the tongue then, ay?

    And, oh! With all you've written about Lahaina Cafe, this Kula Kid is about ready to pack up and move out West. Offer me anything in the wee hours — let alone good dim sum — (especially when I'm usually scrounging for the last crusty manapua at the gas station) and I'm hooked. But $3 breakfast? I spent that much at McDonalds (my kitchen of late, it seems) this morning!

    Thanks again for this, Jen :)

  • Suzy

    Great! Now will someone do that for the other parts of Maui too? South? Central? North Shore? Up-country? Mahalo!

  • Ally

    Thanks! Going to try a few of these this week in lahaina!