Thai food trucks
Some of the best food in Maui comes from the Thai food trucks that are sprinkled all over the island. Most are run by different people, but every one we have tried is spectacular. Which is to say: When you see a Thai food truck in Maui, pull over. Then order the pad Thai and spring rolls—you won’t be sorry. Most Thai food trucks are parked on or very near the coast, and if you have time to sample a few over the course of a trip, selecting the best is one of the most delicious road trip games you could ever imagine.
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
820 Olowalu Village Rd., Lahaina
One of our first stops after landing on Maui is always Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop on the west coast. Everything is fresh and expertly prepared, and there’s a range of lunch options, whether healthy (mixed hydroponic greens with local herbs and tomatoes) or marginally gluttonous (a silky, rich coconut cream pie). The height of lunch hour can get crushingly busy, so come on the later or earlier side to avoid crowds. If you do have to wait in line (which sometimes stretches out the door), we promise that it’ll be well worth it.
3617 Baldwin Ave., Paia
Now three locations strong, this Paia stronghold is the place to go on the island when you not only want a really good latte, but you want it to be matcha. The menu of teas and coffees is massive—if not overwhelming—but it's all good, as are the pastries. (Get the coffee cake.) As one would expect, there's also an ample smoothie and juice offering.
49 Baldwin Ave., Paia
In search of organic almond milk or gluten-free pasta? This health-centric grocery store—open since the '80s—offers an extensive array of pantry items that you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere on the island, plus really beautiful produce that's been sourced from more than 400 local purveyors. What's more? They use compostable and biodegradable packaging at all their counters, including the deli and butcher shop.
Upcountry Farmers Market
55 Kiopaa St., Pukalani
This farmers market (which has been a community staple for more than 40 years) has a lot of prepared food options, which is a great reason to check it out even if you're not staying somewhere that allows for home cooking—it seems counterintuitive, but the Indian food at the Star Anise stall is bar-none. In addition to the standard locally grown fruits and veggies, you'll find Hawaii-specific items like coconuts, macadmia nuts, coffee, and lilikoi butter, a curd-like spread made from passionfruit that tastes great on pretty much anything.
2665 Wai Wai Place, Kihei
With a few locations, on multiple islands, Eskimo Candy is one of the best places in town for off-the-docks fish. They're famous for a hearty seafood chowder, but all the seafood on their menu is great, from battered fish- and shrimp-and-chips to fresh grilled shrimp tacos with coleslaw. The kitschy décor, like the pirate mannequin coming out of the bar tables or the shark swimming out of the counter, just add to the appeal.
345 Keawe St., Lahaina
Ok, so Foodland is really just a plain old regular grocery store, but locals told us that this is actually where you can get the best poke on the island—we recommend picking up an order of the fresh ahi for a quick pit-stop on your way to the beach. Bonus: There are locations all over the island, and many of them have space devoted to Beard Papas, which specializes in made-to-order cream puffs.
Maui Brewing Co. Brewpub
4405 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina
Indulging in a cold one after hitting the waves is a pretty significant part of Hawaii’s surf culture. Maui Brewing Co.’s pub offshoot has a dozen or so locally brewed varieties on draft (some from its own brewery in Kihei, where you can also get your hands on Maui Cookie Lady cookies) supplemented by international brews, and a gastropub-style menu of shareable dishes like flatbreads, salads, sliders, and truffle oil-spiked "adult" mac and cheese. Keep in mind that you’re going for the booze, not the ambiance, which here skews a little sports-bar with multiple flat screens and lots of noise.
Maui Coffee Roasters
444 Hana Hwy., Kahului
While the strip mall storefront doesn’t look like much, this local favorite is in the business of serving the best of Hawaii’s locally grown coffee. Unlike the rest of the U.S., Hawaii is uniquely hospitable to coffee farming, with each island producing countless delicious varieties. The café, in addition to brewing the perfect lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos, has a small but mighty menu of breakfast and lunch basics with a local twist (ask for a toasted bagel slathered in guava butter). We like stopping by on our way to the airport to pick up fresh-roasted souvenirs for friends back home.