By , June 19, 2010 3:04 am
A plate lunch from the Ward Farmer's Market: a...
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Sample Some Local Flavors

Island food The variety of restaurants on Maui will satisfy even the most discriminating palate. Food from all over the world including: Greek, German, African, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Mexican, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, French, Pacific Rim, Hawaiian, local, seafood, steak, ribs and American. The chefs are some of the finest in the world. Most of the produce, herbs and fruit are grown locally, so the ingredients are as fresh and tasty as it gets on Maui. Some island favorites include: Pacific Rim cuisine. A blend of Asian, seafood, European and spices such as ginger with unbelievably artistic food presentations. Thai food is a combination of French and Chinese, using coconut milk and peanuts, as a base for the exquisite sauces. Japanese resta urants serve food in divided dishes, like a sampling meal, a fun experience as are their sushi bars. Chinese is hot or mild and one of the best buys for family dining, to share a variety of tasty dishes. Local restaurants serve foods such as saimin, a noo dle soup with egg, onion and char siu meat on top and pork chops w/gravy, macaroni salad and cole slaw. Some of the more popular local restaurants favored by those in the know, include: Sam Sato’s in the Wailuku Mill yard, Saigon Cafe on Main Street and R ays Deli in Wailuku. The Maui Beach and Maui Palms in Kahului and Hamilton’s in Kihei. See Recommended Advertisers on Ad Index page 70.

Savor Hawaiian Food
Maui is certainly the melting pot of the Pacific, literally and figuratively. The local population has blended well over the years and so Hawaiian cuisine reflects the influence of many cultures. The original Polynesian settlers grew taro, coconuts and ba nanas, raised chickens, pigs and fish. The missionaries and sailors of the 19th century brought puddings, pies, dumplings, gravies and roasts. The Chinese and Japanese emigrants started to raise rice as a substitute for bread and it became a staple of the islands. The Chinese added their exotic spices. The Japanese contributed soy sauce, sashimi, and bentos (boxed lunches). The Portuguese brought luscious dishes of plump sausages, tomatoes and peppers, bean soups and sweet breads. Koreans added Kim Chee a nd fired up their barbecues. The Filipinos offered their fish, meat or chicken stews in rich sauces. Most recently new residents come from Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and France. All have had a synergistic effect on basic Hawaiian food. Hawaiian cuisine con sists of wholesome, well-prepared delicious foods such as poi, pork, sweet potato, coconut pudding, lau lau leaf, coconut milk with fresh fish and seafood and fresh fruits. There are only a few restaurants that serve real ‘Hawaiian food’, one is Chums in Wailuku and the Luau shows.

Enjoy Hawaiian Music & Entertainment
A popular song goes, “If you like a ukulele lady, ukulele lady likeie you…” Like many imports to the islands, the ukulele, which was bought to Hawaii by the Portuguese, went native. When the missionaries arrived, the Polynesians did not have music as we know it today. Their ‘music’ was the chants that orally recorded their history through the generations. They used drums made out of hollowed logs and gourds to beat time to the chants. The missionaries taught the Hawaiians Christian hymns, and a new art form was created. From the ancient chants to today’s contemporary Hawaiian music, entertainers such as kumu hula Kealii Reichel are creating a new awareness and appreciation of Hawaii’s culture. Old-fashioned or new age, there’s lots of Hawaiian music aro und for you to enjoy. Put on some “aloha attire,” tuck a hibiscus behind your ear, and go! If you want to be serenaded by a Hawaiian trio on the beach at sunset, you can find them in many Kihei, Kaanapali and Wailea resorts and restaurants. The Oasis pool side bar at the Maui Coast Hotel has a torch lit setting that features a free Hula show on Thursday evenings. Bring a camera as you may be asked to dance. They also feature free live Hawaiian/Contemporary entertainment nightly. If you want a full product ion, the luau shows are great. The first-ever full stage production of ancient chants of the fire goddess Pele was held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center last year.

Go To A Luau
Luaus are held on the beaches at hotels and other locations for special occasions. The food is not always what you may expect as luaus have gone healthy too. Menus often include many lower fat alternatives to the Hawaiian’s traditional star entree, Kalua pig. The luaus held commercially for visitors to enjoy have a variety of foods available. There may be grilled mahimahi, barbecued teriyaki beef or chicken, an assortment of salads and fruits and of course, tropical fruit punches with and without alcohol. You can sit on mats on the ground at low fern or flower decorated tables or be seated comfortably at a conventional height. You can opt to go to a visitor luau and be greeted with leis as you arrive or buy tickets for a local club’s fund-raiser. When the music heats up and the entertainers start playing Tahitian drums though, watch out. You may have to get up and learn to do an ami-ami real fast! If when you think “luau” you think “poi”, you couldn’t be more wrong. Poi has become one of the most expensiv e and hard to get Hawaiian foods that only tiny dabs of it are served at luaus now, if at all. Poi is made of taro, a crop that grows in wet fields similar to rice paddies. The farmers have been hard hit by a snail, the apple snail, which was introduced a s a possible commercial venture for farmers. The snails multiply like crazy, but there is no market for them and its not economical to harvest them. Unfortunately, the snails favorite food is taro. They destroy the plants stem structure and ruin the crops . Less crops means less poi, so relax, you won’t have to sample Hawaii’s paste-like starch unless you really want to. There is even a breakfast luau where you can be entertained with Hawaiian music and hula dancers, and receive the latest up-to-date infor mation on the best tours and activities to book. See Recommended Advertisers on Ad Index page 70.

Go On A Dinner Cruise
“Where are we going for dinner tonight, dear?” Can’t decide what to do and where to go this evening? How about dinner where you can have an unobstructed ocean view featuring a colorful sunset, drinks, delicious food, entertainment and romance too? A dinne r cruise is all the above at prices that will accommodate almost every budget. On board a high tech ship, so smooth you’ll forget you’re on the ocean, passengers are served elegant Pacific Rim cuisine on white clothed tables. It’s like having dinner on bo ard a luxury liner only more intimate. If sailing is more your style, you can imagine you’re sailing around the world to follow sunsets as you enjoy a cocktail and a buffet dinner of island favorites on one of the many fine sailing ships on Maui. The boat names spell romance. The hardest decision you may have to make on your entire vacation is deciding which one to go on. Some of the larger boats also have dancing and create an instant party atmosphere! If you prefer to have lighter evening meals or on a very slim budget, consider a sunset cocktail cruise serving light pupus and drinks. Same sunset, same ocean, same kind of fun! See Recommended Advertisers on Ad Index page 70.

Dine In A Theme Restaurant
Maui has restaurants offering unique themes and great museum quality collections. Of course, Lahaina’s Front Street is where you will find the most unusual experiences. Starting with the Hard Rock Cafe that is filled with Rock n Roll memorabilia and sound s you can hear as you get near. The T-shirts are collected by travelers from all over the world. Planet Hollywood is like a hip museum that showcases famous stars. You’ll see the palm prints of the stars who have visited. Costumes from famous movies are in display cases. Movies play continuously and the food even has movie themes. The decor is outrageous such as the Sharks head coming out of the wall in the ladies room and zebra carpet. One of the movie star owners may even appear or serve you. The Shar kstooth Brewery at Kaahumanu Center show cases their gigantic stainless steel beer vats in a glass enclosed room behind the bar. This place is so large it even has a canoe hanging from the ceiling. You can order their sampler and try the 5 varieties of b eer they serve out of mini mugs. This is the first Brewery restaurant on Maui. The Greek Bistro in Kihei at Kai Nani center is small and intimate with columns, stone floors and open air tropical setting designed by John the Greek for a touch of Greece on Maui. Radio Cairo is an African restaurant, at the Rainbow Mall in Kihei a new and exciting Maui dining experience. For Hawaiian decor the Humuhumu Restaurant at the Grand Wailea has to be the best as it is its own island in the middle of its own lagoon. Built on the water, a pole house village design with little rooms jutting in different direction for privacy and thatched roof. You will see the fish swimming around the restaurant, the spear fisherman with his spear raised will raise your appreciation of Hawaiiana to a new level. Check out the Humuhumu fish, yes, there really is such a fish, in the aquarium as you enter the restaurant.

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