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Mar 8, 2011 03:17 AM

Maui - Kaanapali or Lahaina - poke and oysters and other raw things?

Hello! I will be on Maui - at the Hyatt in Kaanapali, specifically - for three and a half days next week, and I am very, very excited to eat some raw seafood. I live in the desert, so it will be a real treat for me. I've seen a lot of reviews on here of great-sounding restaurants, but I'm looking more for some small local places where I can sit all afternoon eating poke or oysters or something else raw and tasty. I had read a review of Lahaina Store Grill, which sounded perfect, only to discover that it is permanently closed. Augh. I would really appreciate any recommendations you may have, fellow Chowhounds!

As an unrelated sidenote - I keep hearing about the eating of Spam in Hawaii. Is there some Spam dish I should be on the lookout for? I admit to being skeptical, but I like to try whatever the locals dig when I travel, so I'm looking forward to expanding my horizons.

Thank you very much!

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  1. Spam musubi.
    Basically a slice of Spam sandwiched between rice and a nori sheet.
    You'll find it at convenience stores and maybe fast food places.

    McDonalds you can get Spam, eggs and rice for breakfast.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monku

      Just in case the OP doesn't know...

      Nori is a type of very tender seaweed which is formed into very thin flat sheets and dried. It doesn't taste particularly fishy or ocean-like -- rather it is quite savory and a bit salty.

        1. re: monku

          Thanks! I like nori a lot, and sushi in general (although I usually stick to nigiri rather than maki), so this will probably be perfect for me. Fear of spam, your days are numbered!

    2. I've always considered poke the poor mans sashimi(made from scraps of fish not suitable for sushi or sashimi). Your going to find it at supermarket deli counters more than at restaurants. Maybe fast food kind of places will have it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: monku

        Thanks, that's good information. Here on the mainland the assumption of everyone I know has ben that it's a Hawaiian specialty. Shows what we know, I guess. Heh. Maybe I'll try it once for curiosity's sake, but I'll look for other things instead. Do you have any recommendations for things I should try instead, or places I should go? I eat a fair amount of sushi here and have found the jewels in my city, but am not sure where to start out there. I'm really just interested in having a leisurely high-quality raw seafood meal or three. I have come across a number of great sounding restaurants, but they're all sort of general fancy restaurant places - a few fish dishes on the menu, one lamb, one chicken, etc. I'd rather go to a small place that specializes in fresh fish and doesn't bother with the other stuff, if possible.

        1. re: monku

          That has not been my experience, and I have purchased grocery store sushi. It has always been made with 1/2 cubes of excellent fish or huge segments of crab. Try Foodland, they also have very good musubi. I know that sounds weird - I was resistant when I first hear it, but Foodland has wonderful poke. The spicy tuna with avocado is so good! Also I love the tuna poke at Isana in Kihei but that may be farther than you want to go.

          Isana Restaurant
          515 S Kihei Rd Ste C3, Kihei, HI 96753

          1. re: Kater

            I agree Foodland is great for Poke, check it out there's one in Kahului near the airport.
            I can buy ahi poke for $7-$8/pound, I can't buy ahi for making sashimi for $8/pound.

            If you go to the Foodland in Kahului check out Tasaka Guri-Guri at the Maui Mall around the corner. Legendary 40+ years for their sherbert. Two flavors only-strawberry & pineapple.
            Other day I was reminiscing in Las Vegas with friends from Maui about Guri-Guri and my friend said the owner is his brother-in-law.

        2. The ultimate delicacy would be scoring some "opihi".
          It's a limpet in the snail family. Tastes kind of like abalone. They're usually no bigger than the size of a half dollar.
          They're attached to rocks in shallow rough surf, people have lost their lives fishing for them.
          You won't find them in a restaurant or grocery stores.

          It's like buying drugs... You have to know someone that has a "friend".
          Probably cost $100 for a two pound bag.

          1 Reply
          1. re: monku

            Oh lord. I will be asking around. Must try. Thank you very much for the info, here and in your other comments.

          2. My thoughts are with you all out there in HI. Be safe, and please know that the rest of the country is sending all of their hopes for safety to you.

            1. Go to Sansei Sushi and try the Ahi Carpaccio, Seared ahi salad and any number of fantastic sushi and rolls they have created.