I was rushing like a maniac. I had it in my mind to eat fish and chips at Eskimo Candy in Kihei but I was tormented by having failed at earlier attempts. They aren’t open on the weekends; they don’t keep late hours. But their Seafood Market and Cafe is open Monday through Friday, 10:30am to 7pm, and today I was going to make it happen.
This make-or-break seafood feast started at the sneakiest of locations–Wai Wai Street in Kihei. If you’re coming off the Pi’ilani Highway, it’s a little hook off Lipoa; if you’re on South Kihei Road, just come down Hale Kuai Street. Once found, it’s a seafood oasis festooned like Davy Jones’ Locker. It’s a snug little climate-controlled galley of high top chairs and colorful chalkboard menus. You counter order and seat yourself. There’s also an outdoor area with more tables, but I couldn’t get enough of the sharks, pirates and deep sea decor so I ate inside.
Since it’s also a fish market, there are cases displaying cuts of fish, poke, shrimp, lobster tails and even New York cut steaks. The poke bowl here is $11.99 and is a combination of their four pokes–shoyu, wasabi, furikake and spicy tuna–with a little seaweed salad. For a few bucks more I had mine served over a magnificent mix of organic Kula field greens instead of rice.
The poke bowl was tasty but I was here for the fish and chips. Eskimo Candy is a veritable emporium of fried seafood. There are fish and coconut shrimp combos, tempura battered shrimp, oysters, calamari and scallops. If you want fish, you can have ono, mahi or opakapaka. You can also choose between frozen and freshly caught. All the fried dishes come with their succulent coleslaw and a generous pile of French fries. They range from $9.95 to $14.95 (all fresh fish options vary with market prices).
I ordered the fresh caught mahi, deep fried in their light tempura batter. My order consisted of four large chunks of mahi served over fries and the coleslaw. The plate was heaping and steaming hot. The batter was so delicious that it coats the fish in a light blanket, adding a bit of texture and making it easy to grab and dip in their house-made Tartar sauce. The fish is as tasty as it gets, fresh and flakey, and really satisfied that fried fresh craving I’d been holding onto.
The seafood extravaganza doesn’t stop there. Eskimo Candy also offers fish burgers, sautéed or broiled fish, seafood pasta with shrimp, scallops, fish, Shrimp Scampi and clams in cream sauce with garlic bread. They also offer ribs, chicken, wraps and Angus beef burgers. Their menu is large and party-friendly with fried fish baskets holding 13 pieces. Other appetizers include steamers and crab cakes. The menu hits the $7.95 to $16.95 range, with keiki items priced from $5.95 to $7.95.
Eskimo Candy Seafood Market and Cafe opened in 2003, but owner Jeff Hansen has been building his Eskimo Candy seafood wholesale business since the late 1980s after an Alaskan fishing trip. I’ve long been seeing the large mural-painted Eskimo Candy trucks on the roads, busy delivering their seafood to restaurants and resorts.
The girls at the counter told me that Mondays and Fridays are their busiest days because they’re closed on the weekends, but I also noticed a 5pm rush of people picking up fresh fish and poke for dinner, too.
2665 Wai Wai Pl., Kihei