Recently, I ordered take-out from Maui Eats in Kahului. While making the trek from the parking lot to my building, it dawned on me that the package was abnormally heavy. When I got back to my desk, I couldn’t help myself and actually weighed the container: more than two pounds.
I had never eaten at Maui Eats before. They’ve been open for about a year, but I always assumed that it was still Shirley’s or the other restaurant that was there after Shirley’s. Anyway, I was totally blown away by the Maui Eats menu. A good way to describe it is “local plate lunch with flare.”
Take the macaroni salad. We’ve all eaten mac salad thousands of times and it always looks the same, except for those times when it has peas in it. But I didn’t even recognize Maui Eats’ mac salad because it’s made with spaghetti noodles, which is totally genius.
Anther cool thing that they offer in plate lunches is “Hapa” rice–a mix of white and brown rice. It’s pretty tasty, and actually good for you instead of just filling.
I ordered the Maui Eats original Kona Katsu, consisting of two ginormous hamburger patties that are deep-fried and smothered with a bacon and shiitake mushroom brown gravy and served with rice and either mac or green salad. I opted for the green salad and was able to choose between the homemade Thousand Island or sesame hoisin dressings.
Speaking of salads, Maui Eats offers a Caesar salad that you can get with fried calamari, grilled chicken, butter-garlic-Dijon chicken, Pulehu beef or grilled mahi. I’m totally going to sample the fried calamari Caesar next.
My hubby, who taps into his Korean heritage often, faithfully ordered the boneless kalbi, which he enjoyed. I was just so excited that it’s boneless. My daughter loves kalbi and it always frustrates me when I have to use a disposable plastic knife to cut it off the bone.
Another dish that sounds really yummy is the Tahitian-style fish that you can have done with ahi, mahi or (when available) opakapaka. The fish is pan-seared with coconut milk, fresh lime juice and a splash of chili pepper water. You can also have your fish done local-style, which is pan-seared with shoyu, chili pepper water and onion. Other tempting ways to have your fish prepared is with lemon butter and capers sauce or an Asian crÃ¨me sauce and then grilled with shiitake mushrooms, zucchini and green onions in a shoyu cream and ginger sauce.
As far as plate lunches go, Maui Eats pretty much has it all–beef stew, tripe stew, roast pork, teriyaki, chicken katsu, curry, mochiko chicken, hamburger steak and chopped steak. They also serve chow fun, saimin and, yes, they have a Hawaiian plate complete with lomi salmon.
They also serve a pretty tasty breakfast. Like omelets? They serve them vegetarian, with Kalua pig and lomi salmon or with fried rice. Or how about a mac nut, chocolate chip and banana pancake?
The servings are nearly too large to eat and the prices are more than fair. If you’re looking for local food that’s different and don’t want to pay a million bucks for “Pacific rim cuisine,” try Maui Eats. You may be surprised, but you’ll definitely be full. MTW