ʻOhana Island Grindz
3647 Baldwin Ave, Makawao
ʻOhana Island Grindz is a cozy and reasonably priced locally owned and operated eatery in downtown Makawao. They have a charming sit-down dining room, but you can order takeout as well. This eatery has breakfast through 11 a.m. where you can get eggs, meats and rice, loco moco, breakfast panini, saimin, acai, and yogurt and granola, but they keep their fluffy Belgian waffles with lots of different toppings on the menu all day long. For lunch time they have sandwiches, burgers, plate lunches, paninis and salads. The brisket plate lunch was ono, a really tender beef brisket with barbecue sauce to dip it in, served with green salad and rice if you like. Fridays and Saturdays they do dinner service and bust out the Hawaiian style menu with poi, kalua pig, lomi salmon, and lau lau. Ohana Island Grindz is also an ice cream shop where you can get scoops, sundaes, splits, and floats.
Tiki Tiki Thai
395 Dairy Rd., Kahului
Tiki Thai is my go-to place for pho; they make a really great bone brothy soup with vegetables that I cannot get enough of. I know what you’re thinking—pho is a Vietnamese soup, not Thai. I can’t explain it, they just hook it up. We often order their crispy spring roll, which is a fried rice noodle wrap, basically a scrumptious gluten-free egg roll, and their chicken satay because the peanut sauce is to die for. Their Thai menu is quite extensive and original, and there are always new things to try. I recently went for their tapioca dessert that was studded with corn. It was fantastic. Along with their seven different styles of curry, and just as many entrees and noodle dishes, they have several duck preparations, plus barbecued ribs, barbecued chicken, and steak. The Thai ice teas and coffees are exquisite, but if you’re in the mood for beer or wine they have that too.
V’s Sugar Splash
Sunday Market Kahului
65 W. Kaʻahumanu Ave., Kahului, Mauisundaymarket.com
Sunday market in Kahului Shopping Center is a great place to take in live entertainment, do some shopping, and sample food trucks and stands. It all goes down in the parking lot between Burger King and Ichiban Restaurant on Sundays. I like the eclectic variety of offerings from Hawaiian plates to Mexican food to desserts. V’s Sugar Splash is where you go to get shave ice, dippin dots, slushies, and dragon’s breath. The night I was there, dragon’s breath was all the rage with the kids, so I had to try it, too. It’s a bowl of sweet corn cereal balls, drenched in liquid nitrogen. When you eat it, smoke comes out of your nose and mouth. Liquid nitrogen has the potential to give you frostbite if you aren’t careful…so be careful! Every bite comes with a fun “dragon’s breath” effect that will impress all the 10-year-olds around you, if they’re not already diving into their own bowl.