Savor the Flavor: Top Must-Try Foods in Kihei, Maui
Nestled on the sun-kissed shores of South Maui, the coastal town of Kihei has become a hotspot for food enthusiasts looking to indulge in Hawaii’s melting pot of flavors. From freshly caught seafood to traditional Hawaiian dishes and international cuisine, Kihei’s food scene offers a taste of paradise for every palate. As this vibrant town continues to charm visitors with its laid-back vibe and stunning sunsets, the culinary offerings remain a central part of the Kihei experience. So, whether you’re a local in search of new flavors or a traveler eager to explore Hawaiian cuisine, join us on a gastronomic journey through the best food Kihei has to offer.
1. Pupus and Poke
No visit to Kihei is complete without experiencing the delights of the island’s finger foods, known locally as ‘pupus’. One of the town’s must-try items is poke, a delectable raw fish salad that bursts with the freshness of the ocean. Head to South Maui Fish Company for their daily specials featuring the catch of the day, or drop by Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli for an array of poke choices, ranging from classic Ahi to more innovative takes incorporating avocado and mango.
2. Shave Ice
For a sweet, refreshing treat perfect for Kihei’s tropical climate, shave ice is an absolute crowd-pleaser. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice offers an authentic experience, with an extensive list of flavors and the option to add a scoop of ice cream or a sno-cap of sweetened condensed milk. Their finely shaved ice, which melts in your mouth, combined with the use of natural flavors, ensures an unbeatable treat on a hot day.
3. Loco Moco
Another favorite that will keep you fueled for adventures ahead is the loco moco, a classic Hawaiian comfort food dish. Kihei Caffe is a beloved spot for their mouthwatering version, featuring a bed of rice topped with a homemade burger patty, a fried egg, and rich brown gravy. This hearty and fulfilling meal encapsulates the soul of local cuisine.
4. Fresh Seafood
Kihei’s proximity to the ocean means the seafood here is as fresh as it gets. For a truly unforgettable experience, visit Café O’Lei Kihei and try their famous seafood risotto or the macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi. Their commitment to quality ingredients shines through in every dish.
5. Traditional Hawaiian Plate Lunches
Experience the comfort of Hawaiian ‘ohana’ (family) with a traditional plate lunch. Da Kitchen is a favorite for its generous servings and Hawaiian staples like Kalua Pork and Chicken Katsu. Don’t miss their award-winning Fried Spam Musubi, an island specialty that’s become a cult classic for both tourists and locals alike.
6. Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Kihei’s food scene is also inclusive of vegetarians and vegans, as many restaurants provide mouth-watering plant-based alternatives. At Joy’s Place, health-conscious diners can savor organic and locally sourced wraps, sandwiches, and salads, confirming that Kihei caters to every dietary preference.
7. Maui Brewing Company
While not a food item per se, no Kihei culinary tour would be complete without a visit to Maui Brewing Company. Their innovative craft beers perfectly complement the island’s flavors, and their pub menu offers an excellent selection of bites that pair wonderfully with a cold pint.
With its wide range of dining options that capture the essence of the island’s diverse cultural influences, Kihei is undeniably a food lover’s paradise. Whether you’d like to dig your toes in the sand while savoring fresh poke or enjoy a gourmet meal while watching the sunset, this charming town has something for everyone. On your next trip to Maui, make sure to taste your way through Kihei’s food scene to fully embrace the spirit of aloha in every bite.