***This is part 3 my trip report detailing a recent trip to Maui, Hawaii. You can catch up on all the other installments in the links below***
1. Alaska Airlines First Class San Jose to Maui
2. Montage Kapalua Bay
3. Eating Maui – Road to Hana, Hawaiian BBQ, and Shave Ice _________________________________________
We arrived in Maui with an ambitious to-do list, but were barely able to put a dent in it. The problem? Our stay at the Montage was so relaxing that we literally spent a couple days just lounging by the pool. That’s something that we NEVER do, and was probably a testament to just how amazing the hotel was.
However, we did get out a few times to explore the surrounding areas, mainly in search for food. The food options in Kapalua are somewhat limited, especially if you don’t want to eat at the hotel. And even though we had a full kitchen at our disposal, we didn’t feel like cooking, but did stop by the neighboring supermarkets to pick up tuna poke and other snacks.
Our eating adventures started immediately after landing, and 5 minutes after picking up our car, we found ourselves at Da Kitchen which is located in a shopping center near the airport. As soon as I saw deep fried spam musubi on the menu, I had to order it.
We also ordered the Hawaiian plate to share, which had all the porky deliciousness that you’d expect, along with huge scoops of rice and mac salad.
But most of our eating was in Lahaina, which is about 15 minutes south of Kapalua. In fact, our favorite meal of the entire trip was at Star Noodle. This is a really popular spot, and I’d highly recommend making reservations in advance.
The best way to describe the food here is Asian Fusion, and they have a wide array of dishes from countries all around Asia. This place is fantastic – the service was friendly and attentive, and the food came out so incredibly fast that even this speedy eater could barely keep up.
We started off with the Ahi Avo which was tuna poke with avocado.
Next up, Filipino “bacon and eggs” which was a mixture of crispy pork belly with poached eggs.
Then kimchee wings.
And the Hapa ramen to finish up, which they very nicely split into 2 bowls for us at no additional charge.
All the desserts at Star Noodle are meant to be shared with a group, and simply looked too big for just the 2 of us. So we wandered over to Laihana’s downtown area for some cool and refreshing shave ice at Ululani’s. The shaved ice I’m used to back home is more akin to what you’d get at a swim meet, but this is completely different. The ice is shaved so finely that it has the same texture as ice cream. And each one takes 2-3 minutes to make, as holes as poked throughout to ensure that the syrup gets everywhere.
The next morning we hiked the Kapalua Coastal Trail, which is a very easy 1.5 mile walk along the coast that starts at Kapalua Beach right next to the Montage, and ends at the Ritz-Carlton.
The scenery along the hike is breathtaking, and there were a couple beaches along the way to stop at. Depending on your pace, this can easily be a half-day activity.
And as first-timers to Maui, one thing we couldn’t miss was the Road to Hana. Given that we were staying in Kapalua, this would literally be a road trip around the entire island and in total, with several pit stops, it ended up being a 10-hour adventure. So make sure that are prepared both physically and mentally, as the drive can be extremely slow and windy, with most roads only wide enough for 1.5 cars.
There is just so much to see along the Road to Hana that you have to be somewhat selective with your stops – our first one was at Wai’anapanapa State Park to check out the black sand beaches. We even went for a swim and the water here was surprisingly warm.
After more driving and a couple other stops, we pulled over for lunch around 11:30AM at Bruddah Huts food truck. Lucky for us, the timing was perfect as there was nobody there at the time, but by 11:45AM there were at least 20+ hungry folks waiting in line.
We ordered the grilled mahi mahi which was slathered in a delicious buttery sauce.
But the pork ribs were the highlight, which were fall-off-the-bone tender and coated in a sweet glaze.
After our huge BBQ feast, we sucked in our stomachs and headed over to Hamoa Beach for a post-lunch nap.
The sand was a unique tri-color mixture of white, yellow, and black sands.
And our last stop for the day, Haleakala State Park where we chickened out of the longer 4-mile hike, and only visited the Seven Scared Pools. There were a couple spots to jump from the rocks and my wife wasted no time in trying them out.
And toward the back of the pools there was a huge waterfall which was fun to swim through.
After taking a dip, we toweled off and just sat for a while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Our drive back from the Road to Hana took about 2-3 hours, and on the way we stopped by Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Lahaina for dinner.
We ordered our dinner entrees at the counter, along with a banana cream pie for dessert. As you can probably guess, in the 10 minutes that we waited for our food to come out, the pie had already been eaten.
I ordered the roast pork hoagie.
And my wife got the chicken and waffles.
After our Road to Hana adventure, we didn’t feel like driving out too far from the hotel, and visited the nearby Kaanapali Beach which was just a 10 minute drive from Kapalua. It was fun to walk around the shopping center and the beach was extremely windy and wavy which made it perfect for boogie boarding.
Finally, with some time to kill prior to our flight, we made a quick stop at Iao Valley State Park.
And of course we couldn’t leave without one more stop for shave ice at an Ululani’s near the airport.