As with any time spent with Andy and Sugi, food was a focal point. Maui proved to be a good place for eating. Here is the first of at least two parts highlighting some of the eats. I’ll say that this first batch of food wasn’t as good as what I’ll cover in some upcoming posts.
Da Kitchen Express
Located in Kihei, in south Maui, Da Kitchen Express is an outpost of a larger Hawaiian food restaurant in Kahului. The menu is pretty much all rice plates, typical lunch food on the islands.
I enjoyed a kalua pork sandwich. Kalua is a term that means to cook in an underground oven called an “imu”. These days, it is usually just a slow cooked pork shoulder. Pretty tender but needed some seasoning.
There was also some beef teriyaki eaten by another member of our party. The pieces were a little tough but exceedingly tasty.
Best of all, macadamia nut cream pie for dessert. This was made elsewhere and brought in, I’m sure. Nonetheless, it turned out better than any of my attempts at it… yet!
Located in the former ranching town of Makawao, which dates from the 1800s, Komoda Store and Bakery has been around for several generations.
The inside is a bit disorganized, looking like you are on both the wrong and right sides of the counter all at once.
Komoda is known for their cream puffs, delicate but fist-sized pastries that sell out early. The filling is a standard pastry cream.
The bakery is also known for their malasadas, a Portuguese pastry that is basically a donut hole. Komoda makes malasadas with a guava filling. Truth be told, I am not a huge donut fan and haven’t figured out what is so special about malasadas. I like saying the name, though.
Another fun item they sell is donuts on a stick. They are cooked on the stick, not put on afterwards.
Sugi takes a picture as Andy poses with the stick of donuts. He then notices Kenny looking on an lures him into a PG13-rated photo.
I didn’t go to McDonald’s while in Hawai’i but Andy W did. He likes eating trying the local specialties that McDonald’s features in many places. Here in Hawai’i it is the Island Breakfast, which features scrambled egg, rice, grilled SPAM, and grilled Portuguese sausage. My verdict: no more special than any other McDonald’s breakfast… which is to say, not very.
Just outside the Kahului airport sits a Krispy Kreme. Yes, I know that Hawai’i is one of the 50 United States but it seems a cultural intrusion to have Krispy Kreme there. Curious, though, I wanted to see if there was anything local on the menu. There was.
The only local offering was the pineapple fritter. Frankly, it was hard to tell it apart from a regular apple fritter. After eating about a half, I tossed the rest in the trash and kit the road.
Stay tuned for the next part.
I was waiting to see Spam when I saw the title.
Can’t wait for the rest. I would like some donuts with guava filling right about now
Krispy Creme….McDonald’s…….hopefully, looking forward to more sushi and sashimi in Part II! 😛
What would be the local cuisine of Hawaii?
Sounds like standard fare. Looks good but not so sure I would buy. I will hold off for the second round.
ooh, malasadas are so good! i think they’re a little different from just regular doughnuts, although i can’t really explain why. interestingly, they’re one of the many marks of the portuguese influence in the islands. as for cream puffs, i forgot to mention that liliha bakery on oahu is pretty famous for them! they do regular cream filling as well as a cocoa filling topped with a little bit of chantilly frosting (which seems to be mainly a hawaii thing? i’ve never encountered it elsewhere)… delicious. i have a good recipe for kalua pork in a slow cooker… it beats digging up a pit for a whole pig (which is a LOT of work, i’ve done it that way too)! spam and portuguese sausage are staples… but you really should get them elsewhere besides mcdonalds hahaha.
You broke one of the only restaurant rules I have – never eat at any establishment that has the word Express in the name… I have never liked Krispy Kreme either. Leaves a smutty film in the mouth. ick. I’m relieved to know the food got better – but it looks like the company made it all worthwhile!
Love food adventures……
Actually, I like Spam.
@kunhuo42 – I found my slow cooker! When you get a chance, please post a recipe for that kalua pork. (I hope it’s relatively simple).
I had a lot of Spam when I was a kid. A couple of months ago, there was something called “Western Fried Rice” on the menu. Puzzled, J’s brother in law and I decided to try it. It was Spam fried rice. It was actually quite tasty. I have yet to try that macadamia nut cream pie. The picture of Andy and Kenny is priceless. Andy certainly has this mischievous look.
look at those pastries!! yum.
@ElusiveWords – it’s very simple! start with a cut of pork shoulder or pork but (you need some fat in there or the meat won’t become tender and shred nicely). salt the pork with hawaiian salt (alternatively, kosher salt). line the slow cooker with foil (makes clean-up easier!), and then line with banana leaves if available (if not, i found a trick to get a similar flavor — see * below). add about a quarter to a half cup of water (original recipe said to add it outside the foil, but i found that it works better if you put it inside the foil). put the pork in the pot, and pour some liquid smoke over the pork. top with banana leaves (or see *). cook on low heat for at least 8-10 hours, up to 16 hours, until the pork falls apart easily. discard the banana leaves/peels. shred all the pork (i like to remove the fat at this point), adding back in some of the liquid until the pork is moist but not swimming in liquid. you can eat the pork as is, or turn it into another hawaiian-style favorite: kalua pork and cabbage. cut up a head of cabbage into strips (i usually go for pieces no larger than 2″ x 0.5″ just to make it easier to eat). stir-fry the cabbage in a little bit of oil (i like to use the fat that comes out of the kalua pork so that it imparts a rich smokey flavor to the cabbage). once the cabbage is mostly cooked, add in the pork and cook until the pork is re-heated, adding back more of the liquid from the kalua pork until the meat is again moist. serve over rice.*if you lack banana leaves, gather a few banana peels. lay the peels in a single layer on top of the pork so that they cover it pretty well, then place a piece of foil loosely over the banana peels.
@kunhuo42 – oh cool – thanks Aaron!
Do the local residents really like Spam or something? That seems like an odd specialty meat (compared to BACON!)
The Krispy Kreme donuts have had their fame in the sun me thinks! Enough of it they say!
@murisopsis – interesting rule.@ElusiveWords – me love spam!!! Sugi’s mom uses the oven but slow cooker for sure would work too. I think it’s relatively simple… Pork butt til it falls off the bone then season + liquid smoke.
It all looks delicious!
@beowulf222 – Spam. Just kidding. No, actually I’m not. But in additon to processed pork product, there is an interesting mixture of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino foods plus some good old American food like potato salad.@ZSA_MD – They have jumped the shark, yes.@paperblanks – They really do like Spam. Spam masubi. Spam in any form it can possibly be in. Mostly because during WWII, residents were not allowed to fish in the waters around Hawaii for security reasons. Spam was one of the few meat sources, originally shipped in for the soldiers. It has become a staple ever since.@kunhuo42 – Thank you, chef. Cabbage and kalua pork is fantastic.@ElusiveWords – If we got you, Andy, and Kenny together, we’d have a new sitcom.@kunhuo42 – I’ll hold out hope for a malasada that moves me (in a positive way)…@UncCharlie – Yeah, it makes dining all the more interesting.@murisopsis – Yeah, the greasy film in the mouth must come from the lard they use when cooking the donuts? Very unusual and not the least bit pleasant.