They say that Hawaii always gets things months or even years after everyone on the mainland has “it” already. Well, this might be the case for some things… including food trucks, which are currently multiplying around the island so quickly they are having a hard time finding places to park. Until just recently that is.
The Kahului Harbor is the original area that food trucks started to gather on Maui. Although the trucks change from time to time, the place is always the same. This is the closest oceanfront dining you will get on Maui. Most of the trucks are set up and ready by 10 am, and most are closing up by 3-ish. Some trucks sell out early and leave, and at times some will stay late.
Usually you can find a great local plate lunch, like chow fun, chicken hekka, shoyu chicken, or pork adobo. Sometimes you will find local sweet treats, like kulolo (taro) or haupia (coconut) being sold for a school fundraiser. However, the truck that is most always there and the best reason to go to this truck stop is Geste Shrimp Truck for… drool-worthy shrimp! So ono! This truck only offers shrimp plates, which is perfectly fine. They also have mac salad with crab! Spurge the $1.50 for an extra scoop. You won’t regret it. While you wait for your shrimp, stroll over to Kuau Kitchen and order some smoke meat or pork adobo fried rice; they are delish. This is the only truck at the harbor offering any sort of breakfast plates, like loco moco and Belgian waffles. Although, rumor has it the Donut Dynamite Truck might be headed over in the mornings starting soon.
Until recently Kahului Harbor was the only spot where there were a few trucks together. Food trucks started springing up everywhere on Maui in the last two to three years, and they scattered around the island, some moving locations every day or two and others renting from private businesses. Someone organized and now we have two new food truck courts. One is located in Kahului just passed the Costco gas station on the left side of the Haleakala Highway. And the other is off the Pi’ilani Highway just as you enter North Kihei. On Pi’ilani Highway at the Ohukai Road light, turn left and take the first right behind Tesoro. You will see the signs in front of you to the right.
At this food truck court in Kihei, things are just getting started; this is the newest addition. Here you will find great Costa Rican food at Pura Vida. Highly recommend are the plantanitos (plantain chips). They come with a guacamole, but ask for the Rosa sauce too. Yum! If they have the yucca chips, get these too! They have chorizo and butternut squash empanadas, and the pastry dough is so good, it’s perfectly flaky. You can wash all this down with a WoW lemonade. This is an ultimate lemonade stand! Great combinations of fresh fruits and juices with fresh lemonade that aim to quench your thirst in the heat of the afternoon. Save the planet and upgrade to the glass mason jar-sized option for $7. All refills are $4.
Bring a friend to this Kihei food truck court and go to 808Grindz and order a grilled cheese. These guys can make a real grilled cheese! It is massive. They offer a couple different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches and a few daily specials that change. All their food has been outstanding. If it is not sold out, get the artichoke, jalapeno spread, pulled pork grilled cheese. Crispy cheesy crust on the outside and lush yumminess on the inside. The hours here tend to be 10 am to 2 pm, although Pura Vida is trying to work on staying open for dinner in the near future. Being that this location is fairly new, it will probably attract a few more trucks to this area. The most recent rumor is a coffee truck is headed to this location. Yes, please!
The food truck court by Costco has some ono grinds (delicious food) too! The best local fish plates on the island are at the Like Poke? truck. Get the melt-in-your-mouth ahi katsu. Big portion, good prices. A must try! You will usually find Three’s food truck as well with a nice selection of daily specials, like a bacon-wrapped hot dog or a panko crusted ahi sushi roll (fried). Slightly Salty is another food truck with a very talented chef who makes homemade pasta, crab balls and so much other deliciousness. At this location there is a different company serving up fresh lemonades to refresh you. Same concept, but different recipes.
If you love hot dogs, you must try Sumo Dogs. Look for the small bright green doghouse. It could be at any one of the food truck courts. This dog gets around; he could be anywhere. The bread is so soft and fresh and sumo sized. The center is hollowed out and the large hot dog is stuffed inside, but not before they load the inside with one of their signature sauces – spicy onion, mango, guava or lilikoi. You’ll be amazed, you’ve never had a hot dog like a sumo dog. Get one! (Disclaimer: Friend might also be needed depending upon your appetite. It’s called sumo for a reason).
With all this being said, there are still many other food trucks stationed all around the island of Maui. If you happen to see one and are hungry, stop, stand in line and get a taste of some of the local food offerings. You will not be disappointed.