“So ono” or “broke da mouth” is what locals say when they eat delicious, or onolicious, grinds (good food, in Hawaiian Pidgin). While on Maui, try some of these simple, affordable grinds such as plate lunches and poke (said “poh-keh”) for a meal that travels well and is an authentic taste of the Islands.
The plate lunch is a quintessential part of Hawaiian cuisine. Generally, plate lunches are 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 like Kalua 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 Café in Kahului (425 Koloa St.), and The Window (790 Front Street).
For a plate lunch that many locals and visitors alike would say is amust-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 near Maui Community College just off the beach in Kahului
Outside of plate lunch, poke is another local favorite for a quick, tasty meal. The best way to eat freshly-caught, local fish and seafood such as ‘ahi (tuna) or tako (octopus), poke features these catches either raw or smoked and tossed 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 accompany it.
You can pick this dish up at local grocery stores such as Foodland or Star Market or at fish markets such as Eskimo Candy Seafood Market and Deli located in Kihei at 2665 Wai Wai Pl. (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 in Lana‘i City on Gay Street is renowned for its poke.