Shift Local in Maui

We love to travel and we especially love to try local cuisine. When we go on trips, we seek local establishments partly because we want to help sustain that destination’s local economy. From tasting unique food and interactions with owners and employees alike, supporting local businesses creates a more personal connection to the place we’re visiting. It enhances our vacation experience because we always get to try something new.

As we said in our entry Shift Local – Travel Edition, will be blogging about our experiences and recommendations and we hope that you would comment about your experience if you have been there or if you ended up going to that specific establishment based on our recommendation. We would also love to feature our readers’ experiences and features when you shift local while traveling.

First up is Maui.

I’ve been dying to go back to Maui since my first trip out there seven years ago for my cousin’s wedding because of the beautiful beaches. Granted, my experience of exploring the world’s gorgeous beaches is fairly limited (I’ve been to Oahu, Cabo and Cancun and many California beaches), my snorkeling experience in Maui was pretty extraordinary. I was definitely excited to take Marc on my favorite snorkeling spots since it was his first trip to Hawaii.

To our disappointment, Maui was hit by a storm that lasted almost the entire time we were there. However, Marc and I are not the kind of people to let a small thing like rain bring us down. Since we did not have the opportunity to play around the beach for countless hours in a day, we took this slight drawback as an opportunity to explore various independent, locally-owned businesses in Maui.

Day 1: Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our flight left San Jose around 8am and Hawaiian Airlines is not necessarily known for its wonderful culinary selections so we were eager to eat “something yummy.” When we landed around 12:30pm (Hawaii time, so 2:30 for us Californians). We wanted to check out Da Kitchen Cafe which is highly rated and recommended by friends because of its location (super close to the airport) and for its generous portion. Unfortunately, I did not realize that they were not open on Sundays so we had to figure out somewhere else to go.

Our condo was located in S. Kihei and I remember that there was a popular brunch place there. We ended up going to Kihei Caffe. I’m sure we totally looked like tourists since we were just staring at their vast menu and was unsure of what to order for quite some time. Like always, our problem is we always want to try everything but know that we can’t really eat all the food. We asked the person helping us for recommendations and she recommended the pork fried rice because it is a local favorite. We opted to share the loco moco over the pork fried rice and I was glad we did.

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The portion was humongous and there was no way neither one of us could have finished our own order. I was definitely a fan of the pork fried rice which the hostess said was the local favorite. Marc found the loco moco “okay” because he is slightly picky about the gravy but overall, we give it:

Taste: 3 out of 4 because of the gravy

Price: since it was a really big portion, the $12 price seemed reasonable

Ambiance: I really liked the vibe that this place had, very relaxed and there was outdoor seating and we were able to people watch.

Notes: Pretty limited seating so probably not good for groups.

Address: Kihei Caffe is located on 1945 S. Kihei Road.

I remembered that Local Boy Snack Shop was literally down the street from Kihei Caffe in the middle of this market area. I am totally obsessed with Shave Ice and was looking forward to seeing Marc’s reaction once he took his first bite. His expression did not disappoint. We shared a medium size Shave Ice with coconut, melona and lilikoi syrup. We also added Macadamia Nut ice cream and lots of li hing powder. We were definitely hooked!

20120417-133947.jpgTaste: 4 out of 4

Price: reasonable for Shave Ice (we found later on that that you expect to spend $5 on this)

Ambiance: bar stools, outdoors, not the best customer service but she answered all our questions

Local Boy Snack Shop is located on 1941 S Kihei Rd Kihei, HI 96753 (808) 344-9779

For dinner, I really wanted to get poke but the place I wanted to get it from, Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli was closed on Sunday afternoon so we ended up going to Foodland, which is a chain grocery store (we eventually ended up at Eskimo on Day 3 which I will talk about in another entry).

Shift local is not about completely against going to national chains, we understand that there will be instances when you can’t (e.g. I can’t expect my locally-owned cafes to open until 1am like Starbucks does) but what we hope is for people to shift some of the money they spend from chains to locally-owned businesses.

Next week, we will post about our amazing Road to Hana drive where we definitely made the most of patronizing local businesses. Lots of food stands to pass by etc.

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