The Food Nomad – goes Aloha in Maui
Aloha in Hawaiian means “hello”, “goodbye” or “I love you” and it was with the accompaniment of many alohas and warm smiles that we embarked on our adventure to Maui. Maui is an island of contrasting beauty – lush green jungles tumble into almost desert-like black sand beaches, bare moon-rock volcanic terrain ease into grassy pastures and sugar plantations.
The island population itself is a testament to Hawaii’s history, a potpourri of ethnicities all mixed into one – the Chinese and Portguese migrant workers who came to work on the sugar plantations, the Japanese fishermen who were drawn by the bountiful waters, the Polynesians who set up their kingdoms after expansive sea journeys, and the Caucasians who were drawn here by enterprise. Everyone was drawn to these islands by one reason or another, and it’s not hard to see why they stayed.
After an expansive journey involving 2 flight transfers (Hong Kong to Tokyo, Tokyo to Oahu, then Oahu to Maui), we finally arrived at sunny Wailea and the beautiful Fairmont Kea Lani.
Our welcome lei – candlenut for him, flowers for me.
First order of the day – eat some lunch! (Below) our first meal in Maui – fresh grilled fish wrapped in organic tortilla, crunchy onion rings and guacamole.
First dinner at Sushi Sansei, voted by Bon Appetit magazine as one of their “Favourite Asian Restaurants” and “America’s Best Sushi Bars”. Let’s just say the editors of Bon Appetit probably haven’t ventured out of the USA often. We were surprised at how many items in this restaurant were fried or smothered in overpowering sauce. This is definitely
“American” sushi, and nothing like the intricate flavours of Tokyo’s greatest restaurants.
(Below) Their award winning panko crusted ahi sashimi sushi roll with Hawaiian ahi, arugula, and spinach wrapped in a sushi roll, panko-crusted and then flash fried. This dish was good although we were not fans of the deep-frying.
A flight of sake to wash all that deep fried goodness down.
Sushi at Sansei. The quality of fish was good, and each piece was almost double those served in Tokyo.
The winner of the night – Hawaiian butterfish in a sweet miso sauce. So melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.
On the Road to Hana, and watching the surfers ride the waves near Jaws.
The paint-like bark of roadside eucalyptus trees.
Best grilled cheese I’ve had so far! Found in a roadside shack restaurant. The bread was home-made and grilled to a golden, buttery crust, and the cheese and fried egg inside were hot and gooey.
On the road to Hana, you must stop at Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream Shack, located at mile market 27.5 on Hana Highway. They sell vegan ice cream made from coconuts, and it’s the best coconut icecream I’ve had so far!
They serve the icecream in little coconut bowls and the spoon is a sliver of coconut shell. The ice cream was speckled with sweet dehydrated coconut, with a crunch similar to that of toffee. Delicious!
Relaxing at the Fairmont.
Hibiscus, the state flower of Hawaii.
Our lunch at Coconut’s Fish Cafe, a must-visit if you love freshly grilled fish.
Christmas lights at the Grand Wailea hotel.
At Monkeypod by Merriman at Wailea. The Bourgeois pizza was AMAZING – Big Island lobster, Hamakua wild mushrooms, truffle oil, parmesan, and thyme set in a white sauce.
The butterscotch cream pie at Monkeypod was out of this world! The dreamy thick cloud of cream made me weak at the knees.
After a day of biking down Haleakala volcano, we stopped at Paia Fish Market for a quick lunch.
The line at this local fish shack was massive as they are known for their fresh seafood.
On top of Haleakala volcano.
Snorkling and boozing at Molokini crater.
The famous Kalua pork, made into a burger at the local Hawaiian diner, Da Kitchen. It was 100 times better than a pulled pork burger!
That’s right – it’s Maui Good!
For detailed blogs on a few of the stand-out restaurants we’ve visited this trip to Maui, click at the below highlighted names: Mama’s Fish House, Amasia , Nick’s Fish Market