Across from Costco, in an unassuming lot, a rainbow of food trucks have cropped up over the past few years whose offerings are as diverse as their paint schemes. Along the back of the lot, beautiful graffiti decorates the shipping containers. Ample parking leads to a rectangle of trucks that surround a communal dining area with green picnic tables, shaded by a tent and strung with lights. The laid-back ambiance of the place, with its potted plants and cute trucks, camouflages the parking lot vibe. With fare that ranges from Hawaiian to Thai to Greek, there’s a little something for everyone at Plate Lunch Marketplace–even a pop-up swimsuit shop, Brown Eyed Bella–and there are plans for possible expansion that would include coffee and burgers.
“The goal of the Plate Lunch Marketplace is to create a community based gathering place where local entrepreneurs can have an opportunity to grow their businesses without large overhead costs,” said Cory Kaplan, who owns and operates the lot alongside his brothers Gregg and Robbie. “The basic idea is to offer an ono mix of the best food and products served up with plenty of aloha. Our future plans include made on Maui pop-up shops and creating a functional space for hosting regular fundraising events to support local Maui charities.”
The marketplace is open daily 10am-4pm, closed Sundays, and it’s always a good idea to check individual truck’s schedules or call if your heart is set on a specific truck.
KALEI’S LUNCH BOX
Kalei’s big yellow truck is hard to miss. Branded as “The Big Kahuna of Island Grinds,” this truck’s menu offers the archetypal modern local food of Hawaii, with options from hamburger steak to chow fun and shrimp katsu. In addition to their local-style plate lunches, they also have a few sandwiches and burgers. The friendly staff offer good portions for a pretty decent value, with the cheapest plate coming in at $11. 808-633-6345
The Like Poke truck offers classics like ahi katsu and fried poke, and a whole menu of raw poke with familiar flavors like shoyu ginger and some hard-to-find options like the gluten-free Hawaiian, which uses liquid aminos rather than shoyu. Like Poke also offers options for brown rice, seaweed salad and yummy furikake fries. Their fresh lemonade is a standout, with unique flavors like watermelon mint and pineapple li-hing. 808-757-8402
With the motto “Satisfy your ’ono, nourish your na‘au,” Mo ‘Ono weighs in as the healthiest fare on offer at Plate Lunch Marketplace. The acai bowls can be a meal in itself, or can also be an after-lunch dessert on one of those hungry days. What’s more, the bowls–which might be the best deal on island–come with fresh toppings of strawberries, pineapple, bananas, coconut and granola, with options to add ingredients that range from poi to lilikoi butter. Mo ’Ono posts their weekly schedule on Facebook. 808-633-0470
THAI MEE UP
This beautifully-designed truck has a multi-hued polished wood exterior and a menu full of traditional Thai favorites: pad thai, fried rice and curry, with veggie options available on most dishes. They also offer specials like sauteed salmon on the day I visited. Flavorful and fresh, the truck was even featured by Guy Fieri on the Food Network. 808-214-3369
HAWAIIAN SHRIMP TRUCK
This truck offers tasty shrimp with local and traditional flavors. From shrimp scampi to stuffed shrimp, the portions are plentiful and the shrimp are big, and each plate comes with rice and mac salad. The menu offers some fun commentary: The Waikapu Shrimp has a buttermilk sauce, which the menu says “broke da mouth,” and the Firecracker Spicy Shrimp comes with a fair warning that with this one you might “catch cracks.” 808-359-1052
TACOS MAUI 8 WONDER
No array of food offerings would be complete without tacos, and Maui 8 Wonder provides. Advertising three tacos for just $5, with an array of options like salmon, chicken, BBQ pork, vegan and carne asada. Street-style tacos are served in soft shells, with generous portions. They also offer burritos and fajitas. 808-365-9878
DINO’S GOURMET ON-THE-GO
Dino’s one-man-show rounds out the selections with some Greek twists on offerings like an ahi sandwich, spaghetti and a French-style loco moco. Dino, who also runs the new Greek Oven in Haiku, offers up unique, plentiful fare like a bleu cheese burger and hand-cut garlic fries alongside friendly conversation. 516-428-1320
Photos: Sean M. Hower