Maui's 9 Must-Eat Sensational Dishes

Eating in Maui's Upcountry means choosing from many delicious options. Here's a list to get started.

A server sets a table inside Mama's Fish House in Paia, Hawaii
Mama's Fish House in Paia.
Tony Novak-Clifford

1. Chili chicken bento box, Pukalani Superette, Makawao

Some of the best cooking in Hawaii is in its supermarkets. The take-out chicken at the beloved 60-year-old Pukalani Superette is sweet and spicy and smells so good you'll end up devouring it before you leave the parking lot.

2. Sauteed ehu, Mama's Fish House, Paia

The fish—including the firm, sweet ehu—is caught and cooked within 24 hours at Mama's Fish House. Tropical bliss on a plate.

macadamia-banana pancake at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula, image

Macadamia-banana pancake at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula.

Courtesy Marco Garcia

3. Macadamia-banana pancake, Grandma's Coffee House, Kula

One of Grandma's specialties here—a hangout since 1918—is a fluffy, buttery plate-size flap-jack that comes blanketed in chopped macadamia nuts and sliced bananas.

4. Ping pong balls, Surfing Goat Dairy, Kula

These bouncy orbs of semi-aged goat cheese are like the offspring of fresh mozzarella and a tart feta.

5. Lilikoi cheesecake, Kula Bistro, Kula

Smooth, egg-shaped yellow passion fruit can be eaten or used in fabulous desserts such as this delicate creamy concoction. Desserts change daily, so call Kula Bistro before you go.

Lilikoi cheesecake at Kula Bistro in Kula, Maui, image

Lilikoi cheesecake at Kula Bistro in Kula, Maui.

Marco Garcia

6. Stick doughnut, T. Komoda Store & Bakery, Makawao

The legendary food destination has stayed in business for a century partly on the strength of this delight: five golden doughballs impaled on a wooden skewer for tidy eating, then deep fried and thickly glazed, a perfect treat. (808) 572-7261

7. Sashimi napoleon, Hali‛imaile General Store, Hali‛imaile

Smoked salmon, creamy ahi tartare, and plump strips of ahi sashimi are layered between crispy wonton skins and served with a wasabi vinaigrette.

8. Surinam cherries, Upcountry Farmers Market, Pukalani

Thin-skinned, super sweet, and bursting with juice, these petite, tomato-red summer fruits are an instantly acquired taste.

9. Loco moco, Pukalani Clubhouse, Pukalani

Perfect Hawaiian comfort food: a hamburger patty smothered in rich gravy and topped with fried eggs, served over sticky rice. Worth every calorie.


This article was first published in Spring 2016 and last updated in February 2019.