This is the future of Maui,” says Amado Peralta, co-owner of Rosa’s Tacos, as he spoons a healthy portion of beef onto a soft shell. It’s hard to argue. Tiny roadside stands like the one he and Rosa Garcia opened two months ago just off Main Street in Wailuku have a lot of advantages over their larger counterparts: they’re small, they’re great for folks on the go and, most importantly, with their thin overhead they can offer enticingly low prices.
A chicken, beef or carnitas taco, which comes piled with lettuce, tomato, hot or mild salsa and the perfect amount of cilantro (something more than a few Mexican joints get wrong), can be had for $3.50. One is a light meal; two will slake even a powerful hunger.
The meat is tender and well flavored, and the ingredients all taste fresh. Peralta also loads me up with two tamales—moist, flaky masa (corn dough) filled with seasoned meat and wrapped in a corn husk.
You may know Peralta and Garcia as the proprietors of Rosa’s Cantina on N. Market, which is closing down. Or—to put a more positive spin on it—has morphed into a much more diminutive version of itself.
If the future is indeed places like Rosa’s Tacos, I’m there. MTW
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