y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Maui Series: Island Foods

Maui Series: Island Foods

Today is the 1-month anniversary for Tiffin unBoxed. So in order to round out the month, here is the last in my Maui Series and it is, of course, about the food. As much as I adore Hawaii, it hasn't been the most exciting food destination for me. In any case, I tend to focus on some of the food items unique to the islands, and in doing so, found some exciting options.
Papaya with lilikoi (passion fruit) in center
The Hawaiian papaya is native to the American tropics. When they are ripe they feel like a ripe avocado and are orange to pink in flesh. There was a little craft market in Kihei from where we bought fruits and fresh coconut water. This papaya was served with the seeds removed and a scoop of fresh lilikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit) in the center. Papaya is often served in tropical countries with a squeeze of lime, which enhances its tropical flavor. This tart lilikoi provided the same flavor enhancer, but tasted and looked better.

fresh, organic jackfruit at the Maui Swap Meet Farmer's Market
On Saturday I drove to the weekly Maui Swap Meet, hosted at the Maui Community College. Within the market one can find all kinds of local fruits and vegetables such as this rarely seen jackfruit. They also had Cuban bananas (they are red!), coconut, rambutan, green mangos, bitter melon, Hawaiian avocados, several varietes of eggplants and plenty of other produce and fresh plants.

poke at Lulu's
During the trip, my former college roommate and I had a reunion after more than a decade. We went to a popular restaurant in Kihei called LuLu's. It has a full bar, game room and ocean view with open air seating. She chose this great Hawaiian specialty dish called Ahi Poke. It is cubed raw Ahi fish marinated in soy sauce, onions and other seasonings. It was served atop a bed of wasabi edameme spread with wonton crisps.

Mahi Plate at Paia Fish Market
In our group, the consensus on best meal was this grilled, blackened Mahi served with cole slaw and potato salad or rice. It was juicy, flavorful and flaky. The dark sauce towards the front of the plate is the sweet and vinegary bottled Tiger Sauce, which goes well with seafood. The Paia Fish Market always has a line and limited, communal bench seating. We came and enjoyed this meal more than once during the trip.

roadside rotisserie chicken
While driving home from the swap meet, I was looking for lunch to pick up and take back to the condo. On Kihei Road I found this roadside stall cooking rotiserrie chicken over coals. This chicken made a great lunch along with corn and rice. Of course they had Sriracha hot sauce on the side.

sushi counter at Star Market
Los Angeles is a big sushi town. It's available almost anywhere and is incredibly popular. The Star supermarket in Maui not only had multiple varieties of fresh poke, but had very interesting and colorful packaged sushi along with coordinating side dishes and beverages.

jellies and jams
Many stores in town had these wonderful assortments of jams and jellies, including lilikoi butter, guava butter, Kula strawberry jam, mango chutney, papaya jelly, pineapple jelly, pineapple-coconut jam. We also found coconut syrup for pancakes. Many stores also sell Hawaiin finishing salts, honey and an irresistable coconut candy made with fresh coconuts cooked in sugar cane and water

banana cream pie at Stillwell's Bakery
Banana cream pie is my favorite pie, when made well. Anyone who loves banana and/or pie should high tail it to Kahului and visit Stillwell's Bakery. They are famous for their cream horns and of course, this unforgettable pie. It is served chilled and made of the most delicous cream, layer of custard, slightly tart and sweet Hawaiian bananas and a crispy, buttery crust. It was one of the few things I ate in the car right after buying it (normally my need for tidiness prevents me from doing that).

shaved ice with lychee and guava flavors
Another classic local treat is the ubiquitous Hawaiian shaved ice, which is so refreshing in the island heat and humidity. For mine I chose lychee and guava flavors. These ices are served with tropical fruit syrups. For me it was a bit too sweet. My taste buds have been spoiled by the L.A. Chinese shaved ices served with sweetened, condensed milk and fresh fruits! Nevertheless, it's worth a try at least once.

What's worth more than 1 try is what the rest of this write-up will be devoted to - Ono Gelato. My sweet tooth is not too strong, except for ice cream and gelato. And this unique gelato is made fresh daily from drug-free cow milk, organic fresh fruits and they also use bio-degradable packaging and utensils.

Ono Gelato's sorbettos - dairy free
This photo shows a sampling of Ono Gelato's dairy free sorbettos - dark chocolate, guava, pineapple and Seamist, which is a magical concoction of organic tea, lime, lemongrass and mint. Have you ever seen gelato with fresh lillies, herbs and orchids on top? Lovely.

Ono Gelato's milk-based gelatos
I'm a dairy afficionado. Although I loved the sorbettos, the gelatos really drew me in. Although each one outdid the other, there are a couple of exceptional flavors I gleefully settled on.

Ono Gelato's very popular Lilikoi Quark gelato
Lilikoi Quark - made with Surfing Goat Dairy's award winning goat cheese and passion fruit. For those that love tart and slightly sweet fruit flavors with a rich creaminess, this is IT. It tasted like passion fruit with sour cream with a hint of cheesecake, all rolled into one. Intense flavor. Just look at it!

Ono Gelato's Sandy Beach gelato
Sandy Beach - made from peanut butter, coconut candy (the best) and sea salt. With gelato I am a sucker for textures as well as sweet and salty. This flavor balanced the tart Lilikoi Quark very well. Creamy, sweet, salty, crunchy, peanuty. A winner for sure.

Ono Gelato's packaged gelatos
The S.P.A.M. gelato idea is genius. I believe it stood for strawberry, papaya, apple banana and mango. Another fruity delight.

And with that, we are done with the Maui series, inspired by a great vacation 2 months ago. Aloha and Mahalo!

5 Responses to “Maui Series: Island Foods”:

  1. Anonymous says:

    I want a scoop of seamist!

  2. Wow, those S.P.A.M. tubs of gelato really threw me for a second. I mean, I love me some SPAM, but even I drew the line at ice cream. :) That Sandy Beach gelato definitely was my style and putting together papaya and passion fruit is genius.

  3. Yes, I'd like scoops of both of those! Abby, the SPAM actually stands for: strawberry, papaya, apple banana and mango. It's not the meat SPAM. Just a play on words.

  4. Food GPS says:

    Congratulations on your one month anniversary. Glad to hear S.P.A.M. is just an acronym, well, at least when it comes to ice cream.

  5. Unknown says:

    Thanks Food GPS - this month of blogging has been very fun! I think Ono Gelato could even make Spam work, but I'm not a big fan of sweet with meat.

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