Maui is home to people from numerous nationalities. Because of this, many of the local restaurants feature dishes from their home countries. On our visit to Maui, Tom and I steered away from the typical touristy restaurant scene to try some of the local’s favorite eateries. Here are some of the places we recommend for unique foods in Maui:
- Ilocandia Filipino Store
Located in tourist centric Lahaina, this Filipino market is nestled in a strip mall a few blocks from the ocean. The small store sells Filipino specialty produce, spices, and packaged items. However, the draw for Tom and me is the prepared food counter. Although the market is open from 7AM-7PM, we recommend arriving early for the best food selection. Tom and I stopped at this store around 9AM, to pick up food for a beachside breakfast and were shocked by the line. We count this as a good sign for delicious food to come! We selected some incredibly crispy and succulent lechon, rich sisig, and white rice for our hearty breakfast. Tom and I drove to a local deserted beach and enjoyed our morning feast. Delicious food and stunning view for a fraction of the cost of breakfast from a normal tourist haunt? Absolutely!
- Nagasako Okazu-Ya Deli
Situated across the street from Ilocandia Filipino Store in Lahaina, Nagasako Okazu-Ya Deli is an old school to-go kitchen. From the parking lot, Tom and I noticed this place has a steady stream of locals, so we knew we had to check it out. We entered the store in the middle of the morning and it was filled with locals of all ages ordering up generous plates for breakfast. We learn that the majority of the business caters to the lunch crowd, but the morning risers also keep this store hopping. The store offers traditional Hawaiian lunch plates, some Japanese inspired dishes, as well as the usual breakfast choices. Tom and I decided to go for the loco-moco, a hamburger patty smothered in gravy and topped with a fried egg. It was served with white rice and a side of macaroni salad. Once again, we took our meal to a beach and enjoyed our morning meal underneath the shade of a palm tree. This affordable meal was tasty and allowed us to have another breakfast in paradise.
When Tom and I visited Ilocandia Filipino Store, we noticed a large local crowd congregating at this take-out restaurant. Our curiosity was piqued, so we returned a few days later for lunch. The menu is extensive and the prices are reasonable. In addition to the usual Hawaiian plates, No. 1 Chinese BBQ also offers a good selection of Chinese food (naturally)! American fare, such as burgers and fries, can also be ordered. We looked around and noticed that most everyone ordered a plate, so we decided to do the same. On this occasion, we ordered steak served with the typical sides of white rice and macaroni salad. We loaded up on some spicy condiments and joined the crowd of locals sitting at outdoor tables. The meal we chose was so-so, but the price was right. It’s a great way to fill up before you head out on your next adventure. However, we recommend sticking with one of the traditional Hawaiian plates as that seems to be the popular choice at this restaurant.
Although this isn’t technically a local’s spot, we decided to include this as the dishes are delicious and the price is right. Tin Roof is one of Chef Sheldon Simeon’s eateries. Located in Kahului near the airport and Costco, the small storefront is open only for lunch, Monday-Saturday. Locals frequent this place in addition to tourists who venture away from the island’s attractions. The line can be quite long and there are only about 8 counter spaces to dine inside. However, everything is packaged to go, which is perfect for a picnic lunch. I ordered the Mochiko Chicken as it appears to be one of the more popular choices and Tom chose the pork belly. We got a prime corner seat at the counter and enjoyed our lunch. My chicken bowl was filling and delicious. Tom, however, felt the pork belly could have been more fatty. Perhaps it was prepared for the tourists in mind? The portions are generous and neither of us could finish our bowls. All in all, Tin Roof was one of the best places we dined at on Maui for both the taste and value.
The next time you find yourself in Maui, venture off the beaten path. Discover some of the eateries that locals frequent. Your taste buds and your wallet will surely be pleased.
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