South and Central Maui Food Report (January 2024)


Tin Roof - Always our first stop after the rental car pickup. Crispy, crunchy, umami rich mochiko chicken over perfectly cooked garlic noodles and a spicy chicken sandwich. What a treat. Picked up two spicy poke bowls on the way to the airport as well as a chocolate mochi cake (bibingka) with peanut butter and sprinkles for the flight. The spicy poke is less mayo-y than other versions I’ve had, and has a touch of ginger, just a wonderful combination of flavors.

Faithful Grinds - Got there too late after the Swap Meet and squid luau stew was sold out! Alas. They said they make it Fridays and sell the leftovers on Saturdays and I had just missed it. Next time!

Aunty Lia’s - Lilikoi bread! It’s like banana bread but better! And it’s sold here at the Saturday Swap Meet. We bought two loaves.

Maui Oma Coffee - Picked up a bag of Haleakala Sunrise (ground), which kept us fueled for the next week.

Donut Dynamite - Since the closure of the store, Madame Donut does pop ups, and this one was at Tail’s Up on a Saturday morning. Her Lilikoi Malasada remains one of my favorite things in the world. Pre-order if you’re lucky enough to be on island when she’s popping up or leave sad and empty handed! Next popup is in Wailea on Feb 10.


Yee’s Orchards - The Golden Glow mangos were just as good as I remembered. Buy in advance to leave enough time to ripen. The person I spoke to said they can’t grow and pick them fast enough, they’re so popular.

Ululani’s - Great shave ice and we aren’t inclined to really go anywhere else when Ululani’s is a short drive away. The standard order for us is a large with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom, snow cap and toasted coconut on top, with lilikoi syrup. And the cashier also remembered us from past visits!

Sugar Beach Bake Shop - So nice to see how well they are doing. Their lilikoi malasadas were good (with the slight edge to Donut Dynamite). And they also have coconut and ube flavors. Lots of folks grabbing coffee and breakfast pastries in the morning here. Go early or pre order a day ahead for your favorite treats! And don’t forget the spam musubi.

Kihei Caffe - Even though they’ve opened more locations, my husband has a soft sport for the original, which we first started visiting years ago. They take credit cards now, with a processing fee. His favorite dish is the surfer dude breakfast sandwich: eggs, bacon, avocado, with cheese on brioche. I am partial to the pork fried rice with ham, bacon, Portuguese sausage, and onions, with a mess of scrambled eggs on top. And on occasion, they have leftover cinnamon roll French toast with bacon and eggs as a special. It’s great to mix the big glob of cream cheese frosting with both maple and coconut syrup! Pro tip: portions, especially for French toast and pancakes, are big, so I advise sharing.

Da Kitchen - Now located by Longs, I am glad to see they are back and doing so well. The deep fried spam is huge and decadent, cut into four pieces for sharing. The Kalbi rib plate lunch is also enormous and good for sharing. You will probably have leftovers. Call ahead for takeout as there was a line out the door for dinner when we went. Definitely want to order their Hawaiian plate or Kalua pork next time.

Vidad’s Local Kine Grindz - Located in the food truck pod behind Azeka. I really enjoy their Hawaiian bowl which has Kalua pork, lomi salmon, and ahi poke, all in one bowl, over rice. Such nice big chunks of fresh tuna and a mess of seaweed next to a pile of tender pork. Plus, their lilikoi lemonade is great, and comes in a mason jar if you get the 32 oz.

Tamura’s - My favorite combination poke and liquor store. My tip is to order a 1/2 pound of whichever 2-3 pokes strikes your fancy. $2 for a scoop of rice on the side. Then you can make your own poke bowl when you get back to the condo. We like the ginger wasabi, spicy, Tamura’s sauce (it’s a little sweet), sunrise, ninja. Basically all the flavors? Grab some snacks or something to drink on the way out as well.

Outrigger Pizza - An unassuming mobile truck with a pizza oven. I think if they ever get rid of the lilikoi pork pizza, my husband will start a riot. A garlic aioli with kalua pork, onions, bell peppers, a mix of three cheeses, and a lilikoi drizzle.

South Maui Fish Co - Fresh fish is the name of the game and I’m so glad they were able to reopen. Most here were getting fish tacos from this truck stationed in a courtyard. But it’s a mistake to skip out on the poke. They have two kinds, regular and spicy. The fish is exceedingly fresh. And the pineapple coconut slaw is delightful. I’ll probably try the fish tacos next time, and get some poke by the pound, to go.

Howit Eh - Part of the food truck pod on the northern side of South Maui Gardens. Canadian/Hawaiian/ish. Their fish tacos were OK, not amazing. Panko encrusted pieces of fried fish were on the small side and covered under too much slaw. Kind of bland without any hot sauce or salsa. Tortillas were not crispy, barely charred. Enjoyed the pineapple lemonade. (I had wanted to try the sushi truck but they were not open for lunch on a weekday for some reason). Would skip in the future.

Maui Pie - Their lilikoi cream pie doesn’t really have much of a lilikoi flavor. Would skip next time, sadly. Very few places do a pure lilikoi cream pie without mixing in key lime.

Maui Grill Truck - This food truck is behind a 76 in a smallish pod adjacent to the Kihei Food Oasis pod. I ordered the coconut shrimp plate lunch which was 5 large plump shrimp served with garlic butter rice, purple potato Mac salad, and mixed greens. Just as good as I remembered it being. Someone else walked by and asked where I got my food, lol!

Kitoko - Gorgeous slices of local venison in their take on a “loco moco” served with a crispy fried egg and a plank of charred furikake rice. Chunks of perfectly cooked mahi mahi with steamed broccolini and multi color carrots in my bento. Finished it all off with lilikoi meringue pie. I’m so glad they found a permanent home at the Kihei Food Oasis at the South Maui Gardens!


Lineage - If you like bold flavors, creative cooking, and craft cocktails, do not miss out on Lineage. Start with the ahi poke bites on crispy nori chips, each with a little piece of thinly sliced fried spam, dabbed with a rich wasabi aioli. Order the short rib to share. Mix the warm bone marrow into your garlic rice as recommended by our server. Take a piece of perfectly cooked short rib and gently dip it into the chili peppah water. Eat with a mouthful of marrow-soaked garlic fried rice. Try some of the piquant pickled scallions or earthy roasted turnips that come with the dish. Let the flavor party commence! Sip your Mai’a Tai (high quality rum with a tiny bit of banana liqueur?!). Save room for dessert, like for the chocolate mac nut moon pie, which takes the appearance of a mid Autumn festival Chinese moon cake, but comes hot out of the oven and tastes more like a tiny, flaky pie. Hard to explain but very tasty. Go to bed very happy. There’s no view and you’re not by the water but, hey, parking at the Shops is still free for the moment.

Ka’ana Kitchen - Started with two Lilikoi daiquiris which were delicious but strong. Portions are generous here so we shared the ahi tataki and the ribeye. The combo of luscious ahi with lilikoi gelee and fresh tomato and burrata - everything melded so well together. And that black lava salt! I’m in heaven. The ribeye — cooked medium rare — was very very good but a lot at about 12 oz, and we also encountered some gristly bites, unfortunately. Our server was very… how do you say, curt. Not a person of many words, if that’s the kind of thing you expect. We didn’t really mind. Except they seem to be giving each server here far too many tables to manage, which is frustrating. It got better after the sunset rush had passed.

Monkeypod Kitchen - The question is not if you want a Monkeypod Mai Tai but rather, how many you’ll end up drinking during your meal. This cocktails just shouts “you’re in Maui” to me (though I know they have branches on other isles). We weren’t terribly hungry so we shared the jalapeno, pineapple, and kalua pork pizza and one order of poke tacos. Very satisfying, and we seem to have settled on some favorite items, that we return to again. And again.

See you next time, Maui!



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this is great, thanks

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Impressive list and eating!

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Welcome to FTC!!!

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Thank you for this! We are frequent visitors to Maui and soon to be owners of a condo in Kihei, so always looking for new places to try.