A Taste of Maui

Maui collects eateries the way Paia collects transients. Some of them will stick around, settle down and contribute to the community. Others hang around for a while, give readers something to write about it in Eh Brah! and then disappear as mysteriously as they arrived. But not Paia Fish Market, which has been a part of Paia’s local scenery for years. My favorite dish is the flaky mahi-mahi fish and chips, but others swear by the fish burgers, which you can get with ahi, ono or mahi-mahi. There’s usually a lunch rush, so try to grab a picnic table before 11am or after 1:30pm. 2 Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-8030.

It’s getting harder and harder to get a glimpse of old Maui. Hotels are taking over the beaches and it seems like all the mom-and-pop restaurants are being run out of town.  Even the swap meet has changed locations! But you can still get that old Maui vibe at Komoda’s, as well as the best freaking malasadas ever. They’ve also got donuts on a stick, fresh dinner rolls and dozens of other delicious confections. Fun fact: The “T” in T. Komoda stands for Takezo. As in Takezo Komoda, who established the bakery in 1916, before Hawaii was even a state. A word to the wise (and hungry): get to Komoda’s early.  If not, you’re going to miss out on lots of the yummy baked goodness. 3674 Baldwin Ave., Makawao, 572-7261.

A lot of eateries are area-specific. For example, the Haili‘imaile General Store is for Upcountry. Central gets places like Sam Sato’s and Archie’s. The Southside gets the Tiki Lounge…you get the point. Well, there’s one place you can get yummy food, islandwide and late night: Minit Stop. Once, on an after-midnight food run, I went to four different Minit Stops just to get a chicken cutlet plate, which is chicken katsu drenched in gravy over rice. Minit Stop also serves delicious spam musubi, fried chicken, hot potato wedges, shumai and manapuas. This isn’t fine dining, but if you’re looking for a cheap and quick bite before heading to the beach, Minit Stop is where it’s at. Islandwide.

True Story:  Da Kitchen has its own Facebook fan page. And when you’ve made it big on Facebook, you’ve pretty much made it big in life. Da Kitchen has fans that don’t even live on Maui, probably because of the epically huge portions. If you order the chicken katsu plate, you get essentially a whole chicken, breaded and fried. If you order the Hawaiian plate, be prepared to break your diet or share it with a friend. Since I’m a Central Maui native, I frequent the one in Kahului, where the décor is as much a treat as the food. 425 Koloa St., Kahului, 871-7782; 2439 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 875-7782; 658 Front St., Lahaina, 661-4900.

I’m not too sure what a superette is—something like the love child between a grocery store and a supermarket? But I am sure that Pukalani Superette has some of the best bento lunches that Maui has to offer. They offer all types of local favorites ranging from adobo chicken to tako poke. In between they’ve got an alphabet of mouth-watering entrees and sides such as chili chicken, macaroni potato salad and namasu. Bonus: not only can you grab ono kine grinds, you can also do your grocery shopping. 15 Makawao Ave., Makawao, 572-7616. MTW