Over the course of four trips to Hawaii, we’ve grown to understand how to eat while on Maui in a way that is affordable and right for our needs but still gives us a flavorful taste of the island. After the first trip, when we stayed in a hotel, we’ve moved to the condo route because condos have kitchens. We eat breakfast and one other meal in the condo – lunch or dinner – and one meal out – usually. Some days, all three meals are had in the condo.
If you’ve read anything about Hawaii, you know eating here is expensive. It makes sense, importing foodstuffs drives up prices. It is an island, after all. Maui is working on becoming more self-sustainable in terms of growing food, but that is fodder for another post. Let’s just say they have come a long way, even in ten years. This, of course, is our opinion.
But, our way starts with a grocery store stop soon after arrival. Since it took us about 16 hours to arrive when you calculate time changes, early airport arrivals, and layovers going to the grocery store this time waited until the morning of our first full day. We ate dinner at a restaurant 450 feet from the condo on the first night and had snacks left from our trip here.
Grocery stores are very similar to those you’ll find on the mainland. There is a small one a mile from our condo that is a tiny bit more expensive but convenient. The store we’ve used most this trip is a large Safeway, and that can be a 10-15 minute drive depending on traffic. For some reason, I had no sticker shock this time around. Maybe that is because groceries back home in Wisconsin have become expensive. I bought chicken, sandwich steaks, Italian sausage, eggs, bacon (only a dollar more per pound than at home), and lunch stuff including cheese, salami, crackers, apples, oranges, mango, onion, peppers, and potatoes… …you get the idea. Food. Breakfast staples included bagels, English muffins, peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese, and two boxes of the sugary cereal our son likes to eat. With this combination of eating out and cooking, we find it both affordable and restful.
Our meals out have been delicious. We ate at a Triple D recommended restaurant tonight called Down the Hatch in Lahaina. It was delicious. I had Lava Shrimp Tacos, as did our son’s girlfriend. He had chicken and waffles and my husband had fish and chips for the second time in as many days. It was outdoor dining so no worries about COVID. We didn’t even have to show our vaccination cards. We did, however, wear masks until we got to our table. The wait staff was masked.
Last night we ate at MonkeyPod Kitchen in Kaanapali at Whaler’s Village. There I had the quintessential Maui dish – the fresh fish taco. The fish of the day was Mahi-mahi. Yum. The fish was blackened and so delicious with mango salsa.
The day before yesterday, we went to the summit of Haleakala Volcano but on the way there we stopped at the Kula Lodge for lunch. Our last time here we stopped here as well. But, it was Christmas Day 2015, and all the shops and restaurants were closed. We ate snack bars in the parking lot of the Kula Lodge Gift Shop. This time we were able to eat in the coolest setting – the outdoor seating at the Lodge. I had Goat Cheese Quiche, aptly called the Kula Lodge Quiche, which also included caramelized onions and tasty cherry tomatoes. My husband had a fish sandwich. My son had a burger with jam on it – a specialty at the lodge. And, his girlfriend had fish and chips which was HUGE!
Eating on vacation can be a challenge, especially if you want to eat responsibly and not spend your entire budget on food out. Using a kitchen in a condo or villa to cook a meal or two each day can be great cost-saving.