We picked up this cookbook (always try to buy a regional cookbook when we go on vacation somewhere -- it's a great souvenir) and hope to use some of these recipes soon (like, we fell in love with poke, huli huli chicken, kalua pork, and pretty much anything containing banana or pineapple). I'll share recipes as I try them! (And I will try them, I promise.)
Hawaii Cuisine: A Sampler of Favorite Island Recipes by Chef Sam Choy
Restaurants we loved:
On Maui, we hit happy hour and had fabulous snacks and mai tais at 5 Palms in Lahaina.
And pineapple creme brulee for dessert.
We visited Sansei Sushi Bar and had fabulous sushi. The sauce from our appetizer was so good we kept the plate on the table through the rest of the meal so we could keep using that sauce with other foods.
We also made sure to hit a luau (Old Lahaina Luau -- great fun), and got to try the kalua pig (loved) and poi (not so much). And more mai tais.
We shopped a few times at The Fish Market Maui, both for ingredients for cooking in (opah, ono, shrimp, poke) and for take out for lunch (fish, shrimp and pork tacos). We love that little place.
On Kauai, we were starting to get a bit of restaurant fatigue, so we quickly found a fish market there, and ended up with some fabulous tuna steaks and more shrimp for another home-cooked meal.
We did have a great dinner at Josselins Tapas Bar in Poipu on Kauai. More great seafood -- ahi belly, butterfish, and (not seafood) a delicious little slider. Realized we were hungry for burgers!
So later that week we visited Bubba's Burgers on Kauai. And they were just what we needed.
And one of our best Maui meals happened randomly. We were having a day of driving around, finding snorkeling spots, swimming, driving some more, finding little hiking trails... and the chips and salsa/granola bars we packed wasn't really keeping us from wanting to chew our own arms off. We were STARVING. We ended up back at an overlook of Honolua Bay (a fabulous place to snorkel -- we'd been there that morning) and there was a guy selling chicken from the back of a truck. Sketchy, maybe... but we bought half of one, got one of our beach mats out of the trunk, and devoured that smoky grilled chicken as we watched snorkelers in the bay. We talked about that chicken for days.
Honolua Bay -- isn't it pretty?
So, despite all the fantastic seafood we ate throughout the trip, one of our other favorite meals was another chicken place -- Chicken in a Barrel. It caught our eye as we were driving to the north side of Kauai one day, because the name was funny. Phil hoped it alluded to the size of a serving (like a bucket at KFC, but bigger?) but we found out it referred to the 50 gallon metal drums set up next to the road that were used as smokers. We had a fantastic barbecue meal here -- chicken (our favorite), beef, pork, and ribs.
And I just need to mention shave ice. I always thought it was basically a glorified Snoopy Snow Cone Machine (yes, I had one). But it's so so so much better, though if I try to explain the difference, I can't, except to say that it has ice cream underneath. And the flavors are so much better. And when you're hiking 8 miles to see and swim under a gorgeous waterfall (but have to scramble over rocks for those 8 miles and your feet are exhausted and you didn't bring enough water and your chocolate in your trail mix has melted), all you can think about is a shave ice, and wish that someone with entrepreneurial spirit would set up a stand on the trail.
Mango was our favorite flavor, but this one was a mixture of tiger's blood (really, it's a combo of strawberry, pineapple, and something else) and passion fruit. I think there's mac nut ice cream underneath, but I can't quite remember.
The whole trip was fabulous, and despite appearances, we did more than just eat... lots of swimming, turtle stalking, hiking, and biking. All things that make you very very hungry!
Now that we're home, it's time to eat like real people again... harder to justify ice cream in the middle of the afternoon when you're not on vacation.
Have a great week!