Sample Some ‘Local Kine Grinds’Maui

“So ‘ono” or “broke da mouth” is what locals say when they eat delicious, or “ONOLICIOUS,” grinds (“GOOD FOOD” in Hawai‘i’s Pidgin English). While on Maui, try some of these simple, affordable grinds, such as plate lunches and poke (said “pohkeh”) for a meal that travels well and is an authentic taste of the islands.

A quintessential part of Hawaiian cuisine, the PLATE LUNCH generally is made up of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad (affectionately referred to as “mac salad” in Hawai‘i) and a choice of meat. These large meals cover the basics and sometimes even all three daily meals. Even better, their prices rival those of any typical fast-food joint found in Hawai‘i. Just grab a plate lunch, plop down on a beach and enjoy what life has dished you up.

Pick up a plate lunch of kalua (roasted) pork and cabbage or loco moco (a hamburger patty served over rice, topped with an egg and gravy—a local favorite) from locations all over Maui, including TAKIYAMA MARKET in Wailuku (349 N. Market St.), DA KITCHEN CAFE in Kahului (425 Koloa St.).

For a plate lunch that many locals and visitors alike would say is a must-have, get a SHRIMP PLATE from GESTE SHRIMP TRUCK. Prepared with shrimp fresh from island waters, these meals come with rice, mac salad and a side of satisfaction; just remember that the truck is closed on Mondays and is cash-only. Find it every other day of the week just off the beach in KAHULUI near Maui Community College.

Outside of plate lunch, POKE is another local favorite for a quick, tasty meal. A simply prepared dish of FRESHLY CAUGHT LOCAL FISH AND SEAFOOD such as ‘ahi (tuna) or tako (octopus), poke features these catches either raw or smoked and tossed in one of a variety of sauces, from simple shoyu (soy sauce) to original flavors featuring wasabi or sesame. If you want, you can also get a side of white or brown rice to round out your meal.

You can pick up some poke at local grocery stores such as FOODLAND or STAR MARKET, or at fish markets like ESKIMO CANDY SEAFOOD MARKET AND DELI, located in Kihei at 2665 Wai Wai Place. (But keep your eyes peeled—there are great fish markets all over the island.)

And if you’re headed to Lana‘i, LANA‘I ‘OHANA POKE MARKET on Gay Street in Lana‘i City is renowned for its poke.

Go out on a limb and experiment with an amped-up version of these island standbys at STAR NOODLE (located in the Lahaina Business Park, otherwise known as Lahaina Light Industrial). Here, chef Sheldon Simeon of “TOP CHEF SEATTLE” creates unique plates like Karaage Chicken, Filipino “Bacon & Eggs,” Scallop Shots, Hapa Ramen, Lahaina Fried Soup, Look Moore Funn and more using local products and innovative techniques.

Also putting its spin on local dining is ROCK & BREWS IN PA‘IA TOWN. Designed to reflect the aloha spirit of the islands and steeped in ROCK ‘N’ ROOTS (partners include veteran rock promoter Dave Furano and KISS legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanely), this newly launched venture serves up rockin’ selections that include everything from HAND-CRAFTED BURGERS to “FRONT-ROW” PIZZAS to locally inspired dishes.