Living in central Maui, sometimes I feel a little left out of the food scene that’s a little more apparent in the Wailea and Kaanapali areas. However, there are a few notable chefs that have opened new establishments right here in the Kahului-Wailuku area, and I’ve been getting my fix of chef-driven, locally sourced “grinds” without having to fill up my gas tank!
One of Maui’s favorite chefs, Sheldon Simeon, stepped away from the higher-end dining scene to open Tin Roof Maui, a no-frills, counter-service dining spot in Kahului serving quality local-style food, featuring fresh, local ingredients. Our picks: the mochiko chicken, which is served along fresh veggies and rice, and the “dime bag,” a baggie of furikake and other seasonings to take your order to the next level.
Of course, the food truck scene is bigger and better than ever—I’m willing to bet that you could spend a week on Maui and subsist solely on food-truck fare! One of my new favorites is Thai Mee Up, a (you guessed it) new Thai-style food truck that’s parked next to Costco in Kahului. Chef Tom Sribura is a former Mama’s Fish House sous chef, so you know he’s got some skills. The menu features delicious, simple, authentic Thai dishes, and the chef is always happy to make accommodations for spice level, vegetarian, or even vegan requests! We love the veggie pad thai and the fried pork ribs.
Definitely adding a lot to the fine-dining scene in Central Maui is the Mill House, located at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu. Chef Jeff Scheer and his team do an amazing job of creating a constantly-changing, seasonal menu that features some of the most creative food on Maui. They also host a weekly Chef’s Table event, where you can join the chefs in an open-air kitchen as a seven-course meal is prepared right in front of you and your fellow guests. Our favorites from this stylish spot have included their caraway gnocchi, the “White Warrior” cocktail, and their “Milk & Honey” dessert.
If you’re staying in Central Maui, visiting on a cruise ship, or if you’re back in Kahului after an AM Hana Sky-Trek, check out some of the best newer spots in town! Whether you’re looking to chow down on traditional, “local” food, International fare, or even sit down to an elegant fine-dining experience, Central Maui is starting to get into the game in a serious way.