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Maui's 9 Must-Eat Sensational Dishes

Ready for a challenge? Eating in Maui's Upcountry means choosing from too many delicious options. Here's a list of nine to get you started.

  • picture macadamia-banana pancake at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula
    Photo caption
    Macadamia-banana pancake at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula.
  • picture Lilikoi yellow passion fruit cheesecake at Kula Bistro in Maui
    Photo caption
    Lilikoi cheesecake at Kula Bistro in Kula, Maui.
  • picture goat cheese balls from Surfing Goat Dairy in Kula
    Photo caption
    Goat cheese balls at Surfing Goat Dairy in Kula.
  • picture chili chicken bento box at the Pukalani Superette in Makawao
    Photo caption
    Chili chicken bento box at the Pukalani Superette in Makawao.

1. Chili chicken bento box Pukalani Superette, Makawao. Some of the best cooking in Hawaii is in its supermarkets. The take-out chicken at this beloved 60-year-old grocery 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. Tropical bliss on a plate.

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 before you go.

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.

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.

Photography by Marco Garcia

For a tour through Maui's Upcountry, read Maui's Gourmet Upcountry.

This article was first published in Spring 2016 and updated in February 2019. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.