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Jan 3, 2012 09:44 PM

Shopping for good food and supplies on Maui - Advice for visiting condo cooks?

We'll be staying in a Wailea condo in March and with five good cooks along are interested in creating some memorable meals together. We're very interested in local, seasonal foods and specialities. Options near Wailea would be great, but we'll have a rental car and will be out and about exploring the island.

I'd really love some advice from experienced Maui residents or visitors about finding good groceries, fresh fish and produce and other interesting supplies.

1) What should we stock up on at the obligatory stop at Costco? Beyond the basics, are there any good local foods we could/should get there?

2) Best places to find local produce? What's most likely to be in season in late February/early March?

3) Best places to pick up baked goods? Any particular specialites we should look for?

4) Best places (and times) to get fresh fish and other seafood? What delicious (and sustainable) species to look for?

5) Any other good recommendations for farmers markets, food trucks, take-out, or other experiences that would help us enjoy local food?

Thanks everyone! I'll return the favor by sharing any finds!

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  1. On a hit-or-miss basis Costco has: Fresh pineapple (either whole or peeled and cut up); portuguese sausage made in Hawaii; Surfing Goat chevre; Anahola granola; Maui Estate grown coffee; local style potato salad (heavy on the mayo); Kauai prawns.

    Fresh fish can be tricky for visitors to buy since in Hawaii we use names for the fish that will probably be foreign to you. I've found local fresh fish like moi, mahimahi, ono, ahi, shutome, monchong, aku, nairagi, and ulua at Costco (but not all at the same time) but unless you know how these different types of fish should be cooked, you are probably better off buyihg your fish at a supermarket like Times or Safeway where you can ask the fish man for recommended ways of preparation. Poke, which is raw fish cubes with different type of flavorings purchased at a supermarket gives you a chance to sample before you buy.

    At a farmers market you can get locally grown papayas, avocados, and apple bananas and the ususal vegetables. Make sure you bring your own shopping bag.

    1 Reply
    1. re: honu2

      Thanks for the recommendations - theses sound like some great things to watch for at Costco. I like the idea of waiting to consult with the fish guy about not only what to buy but the best way to fix it.

    2. I think Costco has great fish and beef and some of the best poke around. They also have lau lau, lomiomi salmon, Kalua pig and manapua.

      Whole Foods would be my go to place for the best groceries on the island.

      Eskimo Candy has good fresh fish too.

      What baked goods do you want> Home Maid Bakery & Deli in Kahalui. They have great manju and malasadas, do a nice breakfast bento and good plate lunch too. If Kahalui is too far, Safeway and Foodland do nice baked goods.

      On the low end in South Maui look at Peggy Sue’s (Kihei), Stella Blues, Da Kitchen, Alexander’s Fish Chicken & Ribs, Mulligan's on the Blue, Eskimo Candy, Lulu's, South Shore Tiki Lounge, Joy's Place (who has a great meatless burger too), Cuatro, 808 Bistro and The Greek Bistro.

      On the high end foodie scene, DUO, Ferraro's, Spago, Joe's Grill and Nick's Fishmarket. Nick's is more about atmosphere and setting than knock your socks off food.

      7 Replies
      1. re: scottca075

        It looks like Eskimo Candy will be a convenient place to pick up fish. The fresher the better!

        As far as baked goods, it's always nice to find a local bakery to pick up doughnuts or pastries for breakfast, multigrain or other interesting bread for sandwiches or toast, or something like a baguette to go with cheese.

        Thank you for the suggestions at both the low and high end. We may do one special dinner out, but will enjoy exploring lunch and takeout options when we're not eating at "home".

        1. re: Travelwren

          Bakery items: you might want to try banana bread or Hawaiian sweet bread (available in supermarkets) in place of muffins or pastry for breakfast. Rolf's Lavosh, sometimes available at Costco but also in supermarkets, is great with soft spreadable cheese. A local favorite are taro rolls, which are soft dinner rolls colored purple and slightly sweet and not appealing if your idea of bread is crusty and substantial.

          For toast, you might want to try poha jam or lilikoi (also known as passion fruit) butter available in supermarkets. Usually there is a vendor or two at the larger farmers market selling jams and jellies using local varieties of fruit and loaves of banana bread.

          If you buy the Costco tub of Kalua pig, a good use for it is pulled pork sandwiches. Add a bottle of barbecue sauce when heating the pork to give it that "southern" touch if you like. Kalua pig can also be used as a filling for quesadillas and omelettes.

          1. re: honu2

            Thanks, hono2! Appreciate the reminder about lavosh - one of my favorite accompaniments for cheese I'll look forward to trying the local variety. I'm picturing a Surfing Goat chevre alongside some local preserves and lavosh and a bottle of wine on the lanai to celebrate our first evening on Mauii!

            Do you know if the farmers market in kihei (across from the canoe club?) is a good place to pick up local stuff? It looks like they're open most days...

          2. re: Travelwren

            I wouldn't depend on a huge selection at Eskimo Candy, just so you know what to expect. Today I think I only saw 3 types of fish in the case.

            1. re: kathryn

              I went to Eskimo Candy today based on this page and I have to say I was not impressed. The fish had a soft texture that can only based a result of older fish thawed from the freezer. While it's not a specialty store, I would just go to Foodland on the main strip in Kihei and get some there. It's the same price, you have more selections, and they offer both fresh and frozen tuna. Be forewarned, the fresh fish poke will be a few dollars a pound more but the frozen/thawed poke will be the same price as this place

              Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Cafe
              2665 Wai Wai Pl, Kihei, HI 96753

            2. re: Travelwren

              On Sundays, after Mass, parishoners from the Catholic Church in Lahaina sell the most wonderful Portugese sweet bread in front of the church. The loaves are huge and, as I recall, run about $6 each. The bread made for the most wonderful French toast and sandwiches during our Maui stay last year :=)

            3. re: scottca075

              Alexander's in Kihei appears to be closed or renovating. On a walk past it today, the building was surrounded by yellow tape.

            4. You may wish to buy some fruit from Yee's Orchard, on Kihei Rd near Nohokai Street. Open 11-5 Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday (closed Mon and Fri). I like the Golden Glow mangos. We also bought an excellent pineapple as well. It will be on your right if you're driving up from Wailea.

              4 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                This thread looks perfect for us! Any updates for a visit scheduled for mid-April and stationed on Kaanipali?

                1. re: Ms. Verde

                  I love this place, I can't eat fish for at least a month upon returning to LA, because it is a difference in kind, not degree.

                  1. re: ebethsdad

                    I have mentioned this place before The Fish Market. Definitely a winner. Great prepared foods for takeout and also fish for cooking, a real gem. The people who work there are really nice too!

                    1. re: manomin

                      I so agree...and there is a Farmers' Market down the road. You can pick up everything for dinner right there.