Category Archives: Food

Kahului Gets a Party

Maui Friday town parties rotate between Kihei, Makawao, Lahaina and Wailuku, with the occasional 5th Friday occurring on Lanai.  Kahalui has now, forgive the pun, joined the party as well.  A Sunday market at the Kahului Shopping Center parking lot runs from 4pm – 8pm in a cordoned off section of the shopping center parking lot along Kaahumanu and Puunene avenues. 

More than a dozen food trucks and a couple dozen vendors participate. There is also a stage for live entertainment. The market was originally designed to attract tourists disembarking from cruise ships that dock nearby as well as to help revitalize the city. The market is succeeding with an average of 1, 500 to 1,700 people attending the market each Sunday evening. Many of the attendees are locals that come to shop and often stay to socialize.  

Going where the locals go has always been a favorite trick of ours in experiencing the local atmosphere plus finding more off the beaten path sources of fun.  This market started after our last visit to the island and I’m looking forward to experiencing it in person! Been there? Let me know what you thought.

So What is a Luau Anyway?

One of the first things people often think of when planning activities in Hawaii is to attend a luau. But what is this and why is it synonymous with Hawaii? Around the world people of all cultures celebrate milestones and events with parties and food, feasting with friends and family. For Hawaiians this party is often called a luau but it’s origins date back to pre-contact with the Western World.

These outdoor celebrations were originally called ‘aha ‘aina and and the events were full of symbolism. Certain foods were deemed to have particular attributes such as strength and other foods, such as pork, bananas and certain fish, were considered delicacies and were off limits to women and to those men not of royal lineage. Indeed men and women did not eat together.

This separation of men and women during meals was ended in 1819 by King Kamehameha II and soon the name of these celebrations changed to luau, which in Hawaiian means feast,  and included these foods previously considered delicacies.  A roast pig is a featured aspect of these luaus as is taro which is a staple of the native Hawaiian diet and is a core component of the Hawaiian culture.

The luau also includes entertainment such as dancing, particularly the hula, as well as live music, and often also has demonstrations of other skills such as fire knife dancing. These types of dance are also highly symbolic and intertwined with the Hawaiian culture.





There are many luaus in Maui to choose from and we highly recommend attending one while you are in Maui.  We’ve been to several and the one I’d personally recommend is the Old Lahaina Luau as it seemed the most authentic and the food and the service was wonderful.  Dress attire is casual – clothes should be nicer than beach attire but nothing fancy is required.  A sundress or nice shorts and a blouse for women and khaki shorts and Hawaiian shirt or polo shirt for men are pretty standard.  In winter months the evenings can get chilly enough that a lightweight sweater might be in order.

Happy feasting! Bring your appetite and your camera!

Maui Friday Town Parties

Everyone loves Fridays and Maui does too. Every Friday in Maui is Aloha Friday and Maui celebrates by having a town party every Friday evening that highlights one of Maui’s historic small towns.  Come for great food, meet local artists, enjoy live music and enjoy the kid friendly activities.

The first Friday of the month is celebrated in Wailuku. The second is in Lahaina, the third in Makawao and the fourth Friday party is in Kihei.  When a fifth Friday occurs in a month, the town party happens on the neighboring island of Lanai and extra ferries from Lahaina to Lanai are put in service.

Best of all the parties are free to attend – what you spend is up to you. There’s always lots to enjoy!


fourth friday kihei party


Related image

Ready for a Great Meal on Maui? Here’s the Best Maui Restaurants!

There are wonderful places to eat on Maui, from well known, high end restaurants to small out of the way gems. Here are some of our favorites.

1) Mama’s Fish House – a perennial classic, this restaurant is a must do for seafood lovers. Situated on the water in beautiful Paia, this family owned restaurant features fish caught daily by local fishermen. The restaurant is  pricey – most entrees start around $40 and go up from there.  Reservations are recommended but can conveniently be made online at:

mama's fish house


2)  Lahaina Grill – consistently rated as the best restaurant on Maui,  the Lahaina Grill is located, appropriately enough, in Lahaina just off the main street through town, Front Street.  The menu features both “from the land” and “from the sea” and for non seafood lovers this would be a better option than Mama’s Fish House. The menu here too is pricey but the food is fantastic.  Reservations are recommended for this restaurant as well but also can be made online at:

lahaina grill


3) Fleetwoods – also in Lahaina is Fleetwoods on Front Street. This restaurant, owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame, has terrific food, wonderful service, a great rooftop view and delightful entertainment.  Dinner is served daily from 5:30 – 10:00 on both levels of the restaurant; to dine rooftop requires calling 808-669-MICK.  Reservations for the main level of the restaurant can be made online at:   The menu here too is pricey but a little less so for entrees than either Mama’s Fish House or Lahaina Grill. Be sure to check out the entertainment calendar at the same link above to make the most of your evening.  Definitely try the rooftop!



4)  Cheeseburger in Paradise – lest you think all of my recommendations are pricey, here’s a great family restaurant at more “normal” prices.  With a waterfront location in Lahaina on Front Street and live music at night, this location is perfect for a break during shopping in Lahaina.  This is a great family restaurant with lots on the menu that would appeal to kids – our children always wanted to eat here. There is also a Cheeseburger Island Style – same chain – in Wailea in the Wailea Shops convenient to our condo. We  often walk up here in the morning for breakfast – can’t beat the breakfast special pricing for a good hearty breakfast in a cute atmosphere with super friendly staff.

cheeseburger in paradisecheeseburger island style


5) Bubba Gump Shrimp Company – another family friendly restaurant that was always a favorite both for our family and for our guests is Bubba Gumps in Lahaina.  Located oceanside on Front Street, the atmosphere is a lot of fun – based on the movie Forrest Gump, the restaurant is decorated with sayings and items from the movie. Wait staff quiz guests on the movie and there is an ingenious sign at each table to advise waiters if service is desired. If the sign is flipped to “Run Forest Run” the waiter continues on but will come to the table when it reads “Stop Forest Stop”.  There is an attached gift shop with pretty much anything a fan of the movie would want to buy.

bubba gumps

6) Kula Lodge – on the way to Haleakala, lies the Kula Lodge which at 3,200 feet of elevation provides a refreshingly cool and crisp temperature.  The Kula Lodge offers sweeping views of the entire west side of Maui, from the mountain to the ocean. If the time of year is correct, the jacaranda trees will be in bloom and their gorgeous purple flowers make the drive worthwhile in and of themselves.  The lodge serves delicious pizza from their wood-burning pizza ovens but also has a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu to accommodate both lodge guests and those just stopping by.  Reservations may be made online at:; however, we have never found reservations to be necessary. There is also an attached small market and gift store that has some lovely handmade and unique items for sale.

kula lodgekula lodge views

7) Flatbread  Company – fresh, organic, wood- fired pizza awaits you at this delicious restaurant in Paia. Spend some time shopping in this quaint town and then head to Flatbread, located in the heart of the town on Hana Highway.  Pair your pizza with a salad made from local greens and enjoy a fresh squeezed lemonade with it. Yum!  One flatbread is generally enough for two people and just like with “regular” pizzas, one can mix and match various toppings. Paia is often very crowded and parking can be a challenge. There is a free lot just before entering the town that we frequently use – only occasionally have we scored street parking. There is also a free lot up by the post office that is an ideal parking location for the next restaurant on our list as well.


8) Maka by Mana – recently opened is this wonderful vegan restaurant in Paia at 115 Baldwin Avenue.  This raw food restaurant is owned and operated by Mana Foods, a grocery store just down the street.  Enjoy fresh juices, smoothies, salads, sandwiches and wraps. There is also pie and ice cream for dessert. The best part of this restaurant is leaving, full, satisfied and feeling like you have treated your body well.



9)  Pita Paradise – this small restaurant,  located in the Wailea Gateway, is such a delightful gem. It doesn’t look like much, situated as it is in a shopping center, but the food is absolutely delicious. It features fresh fish – the catch of the day is whatever the owner/chef has caught that morning – as well as delicious mediterranean cuisine.  Personally, I find the chicken kebabs to be out of this world.  While we have eaten at the restaurant on a number of occasions, most often we take the food to go so that we can enjoy it from our condo’s ocean front lanai. Truly paradise!

pita paradise


10) Polli’s Mexican Restaurant – if your travels take you to Makawao, which is an historic fun town located in Maui’s upcountry, be sure to stop at Polli’s. This Mexican restaurant was started 30 years ago based on favorite family recipes. Popular with both tourists and locals, it’s always a good sign to see locals eating the food! Prices are very reasonable and serving sizes are large. I happen to love bean dip and, when ordered, it’s a meal for two rather than just a small dipping dish!



11) Koa’s Seaside Grill – another favorite of ours is the oceanfront restaurant in Lahaina called Koa’s Seaside Grill. We prefer to eat upstairs on the deck when shade allows. Views are beautiful and the food is very good. I find the salads here to be very large and interesting. One note is that a number of restaurants in Lahaina, including this one, stop serving between lunch and dinner which can leave one sort of stranded in the hours around 3:00.  At Koa’s, the lunch menu stops at 2:00 and the dinner menu doesn’t start until 5:00. The menus also change, and while there is a happy hour menu during the off time,  I have found my favorite items here to be featured on the lunch menu.



12) Gannon’s – is a beautiful restaurant in Wailea with an outstanding menu. Voted one of the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America, the food here is very good.  The restaurant is located on the Wailea Gold and Emerald Golf Course and features beautiful sweeping views of the ocean.  The restaurant features breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner menus.  Dinner entrees are around $30 – $40 but I prefer the lunch menus, both for the selections and the lower prices.  The fish tacos here converted my husband to being a fish taco afficiando.  We have never needed reservations at lunch, and only had to wait once when a wedding was taking place on the grounds. Reservations at dinner are recommended and can be made online at:


13) Tommy Bahama – located in the Wailea Shops, the Tommy Bahama restaurant is a must stop for our family. My husband and I always stop here when we return to Maui – it’s part of our ritual of returning “home”.  The food is very good, the wait staff is attentive, and the location for us is ideal – minutes from our condo. Sitting outside on the lanai is  relaxing and music is often featured in the evenings. Happy hour here is quite popular and is a great way to enjoy the restaurant and bar’s offerings at very reasonable prices. While the view here can’t compete with other restaurants, this restaurant is well worth your time and money.  We have never needed lunch reservations but have made them for dinner and been glad we have done so. Reservations may be made online at:

tommy bahama


14)  We’ve discovered another restaurant to add to this list. Coconut’s Fish Cafe located in Kihei at 1279 South Kihei Road has been rated Maui’s best fish tacos and my husband agrees. I’m partial to their chicken tacos. Their food is fantastic and the servers are friendly. It’s often busy and the location is a strip mall so the ambiance isn’t top notch but it’s definitely worth stopping by.


coconut's fish cafe



I hope these suggested restaurants bring you some delightful eating. Be sure to let me know if you enjoyed them or if you have suggestions of your own. I’d love to hear from you!



You’re in Paradise – Eat Local!

While Maui sports many wonderful restaurants, and we’ll discuss our favorites in an upcoming article, a great way to save money and enjoy the bounty of Maui is to take advantage of the many local farmers markets. Shopping in Safeway may be convenient, but those mangoes you are anticipating may well have come from Guam. Why not get farm fresh ones? It’s also a great way to support local farmers and encourage more farm production on Maui.


On the hillsides of Haleakala, also called upcountry, are several great farmers markets.  One is known simply as the Upcountry Farmers Market and is located at the Kulamalu Town Center on Highway 37 near Long’s Drugs. This market is open Saturdays from 7:00am – 11:00pm and has local organic produce, fresh caught fish, tropical flowers, locally grown coffee as well as prepared foods that make a tasty lunch or dinner.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm,  the Makawao Marketplace farmer’s market offers local produce, local crafts, fresh and dried flowers, as well as lunch snacks. This market is located at 3654 Baldwin Avenue in Makawao.

Kula Country Farms is located on Kula Highway just past mile marker 13. Their farm stand is open from Tuesday – Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm and on the weekends from 10:00am – 4:00pm and has fresh local fruit, vegetables and flowers. In season this farm also has u-pick strawberries.


Central Maui

Kumu Farms, also known as Maui Tropical Plantation, is located at 1670 Honoapiilani Highway in Wailuku, and is open Tuesday – Saturday  from 10:00am – 4:00pm.  Local fruits and vegetables are available for purchase and the farm will ship organic papayas anywhere in the U.S.

On Saturdays at the University of Hawaii in Kahalui, the Maui Swap Meet is held and has loads of fun items including local produce.  The swap meet operates from 7:00am – 1:00pm and is a great opportunity to try local foods and shop local crafts.

Also in Kahalui, at the local mall called Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, a farmer’s market runs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00am – 4:00pm.  The mall is located at 275 West Ka’ahumanu Avenue; combine your produce shopping with buying souvenirs!


West Maui

Honokawai’s Farmer’s Market, also known as Farmers Market Maui, is located at 3636 Lower Honoapiilani Road in Lahaina.  This market runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:00am – 11:00am.  Chances are very high that a visit to Lahaina is on your to do list; incorporate this highly rated farmers market into your schedule.


East Maui

If your travels take you to Hana, stop in at  Ono Organic Farms which is along the road to Hana. This organic family-owned farm also sells its produce seven days a week at the roadside market in Hana next to the gas station. The market is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Also located in Hana is the Hana Fresh Farm which grows over 100 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs. The farm is located immediately behind the Health Center. Unfortunately the farm stand is currently closed due to construction of their new wastewater treatment plant.  We’ll post re-opening information when construction is complete.


South Maui

The bustling town of Kihei boasts three good farmers markets.  The first is the Farmer’s Market of Maui, Kihei which is located at 61 South Kihei Road. This market operates Monday – Thursday from 8:00am – 4:00pm and on Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm.

On Saturdays from 8:00am – noon a farmer’s market may be found in the parking lot of the Long’s Drugs at 1215 South Kihei Road.

The busiest farmer’s market in Kihei seems to be the Lipoa Street Farmer’s Market which is open every Saturday from 8:00 to noon at 95 Lipoa Street.  All three markets offer a good selection of fresh, local fruit, veggies and flowers.


North Maui

Make a visit to the quaint town of Paia and be sure to check out the La’a Kea Community Farm which is open Monday – Saturday from 8:30am – 5:30pm.  The address is 639 Baldwin Avenue, Paia.  I find this farm to be especially worthwhile because it aids youth and adults with special needs and incorporates them into it’s farming community.


As you can see, there are many options to buy local farm fresh produce on Maui. One can support local communities, eat healthy and enjoy interacting with locals all while enjoying the laid back aloha feeling that is Maui.  Happy eating!