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Best Malasadas on Maui - HOP To It

So many malasadas, so little time
October 17, 2017

There are so many good malasadas on Maui, it's hard to narrow the list down to just five, but after weeks of agonizing research, we think we've come up with the definitive list. But first, the ground rules. We're sticking with bakeries and shops that serve malasadas "to go." So this removes sit down restaurants where you can order "fancy" malasadas for dessert (sorry Star Noodle!). The malasadas also have to come from places that are open most of the week, with regular hours (sorry Aloha Malasadas by Tanya!) OK, with these rules in place, here is our list, listed alphabetically, of the best malasadas on Maui.

Home Maid Bakery (Wailuku)
Home Maid Bakery is known for many things. But since 1960, this venerable Wailuki bakery has been cranking out piping hot, delicious malasadas to the local community. The malasadas here are not overly greasy and are even somewhat light, comparatively speaking. Plus, they're the cheapest we know of at just $.89 a piece or $9.69 a dozen. For the freshest malasadas, visit between 5:00 AM and 10:00 AM and again between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM, when they have the fryer bubbling with new malasadas. Even if you miss those windows, before noon, the malasadas are still somewhat fresh. Besides, if they're out of malasadas, they have loads of other great baked goods to nosh on. (Home Maid Bakery)

Home Maid Cafe (Kihei)
Though there's no affiliation to the Home Maid Bakery, Home Maid Kitchen also produces excellent malasadas. Baked every morning and sold in quantities of three, we recommend either calling in an order or getting there early. We've witnessed many people doing the "we're sold out" walk of shame out the door. Because, frankly, the rest of the food offered at the cafe is decidedly mediocre. If the malasadas are gone and you're hankering for something sweet, walk around the corner to Maui Pie, or drive a couple miles down the road to the previously mentioned Sugar Beach Bake Shop. Open Monday - Saturday, 6:00 AM - 3:00 PM. (Home Maid Cafe)

Simply Sweets Bakery (Wailuku)
After a bit of a hiatus, the Simply Sweets Bakery re-opened in Wailuku in 2014. Since then, they've been cranking out fresh malasadas, or as they like to call them, Mauisadas, and cream puffs to residents and vistors alike. Baked to order, with many different fillings, Simply Sweets has quietly emerged as a true contender for Best Malasada on Maui. Open Tuesday - Friday, 7:00 AM - 3:30 PM. (Simply Sweets Bakery)

Sugar Beach Bake Shop (Kihei)
Located in a sleepy part of North Kihei, nestled in between an ABC Store and its business partner, Ululani's Shave Ice, Sugar Beach Bake Shop is a wonderful little bakery that serves fresh malasadas and baked goods. Lines develop, but the wait is worth it. The malasadas are made to order and best eaten hot, from 6:00 AM - 9:00 AM. Beyond the excellent malasadas, we also recommend the spicy spam musubi and the key lime liliqoi pie. Sugar Beach Bake Shop is open daily from 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM. (Sugar Beach Bake Shop)

T. Komoda Store and Bakery (Makawao)
Serving Makawao for over 100 years(!), Komoda's makes fresh malasadas every morning they're open. At $1 a piece, they're a real bargain. If they're sold out, and they may by the time you drive up there, the donuts and other pastries are also outstanding. Open from 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM on Saturday (closed on Wednesday and Sunday,) you need to get there by 9:00 for a decent selection. They tend to sell out of their malasadas by mid-morning. (T. Komoda Store and Bakery)

You've seen our list of favorite malasada shops on Maui. Now tell us yours on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

Best Farmers Markets on Maui - HOP to it

Where to find the best farmers markets on Maui
October 16, 2017


The state of Hawai'i imports roughly 85% - 90% (by most estimates) of its food. This leaves Maui in a somewhat precarious situation. First, if for some reason we were cut off from the mainland, it wouldn't take long for there to be massive food shortages. Second, when the cost of shipping is factored in, the food here is really expensive. Well, this is where Maui's burgeoning organic, local farm industry is stepping in. Maui's fertile soils produces amazing fruits and vegetables. While most of it can be found in local grocery stores and shops, the best way to access it is by the old standby, farmers markets. Thankfully, Maui has a robust farmers market scene. Every town has their own version. No matter where you are on Maui, you aren't too far from a farmers market. Here is a list of our favorite markets.

Maui Swap Meet (Wailuku)
Saturday, 7:00 AM - 1:00 PM
University of Hawaii Maui

Since 1981, the Maui Swap Meet has been the biggest and most celebrated farmers market on the island. With over 200 vendors selling fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, baked goods and just about every knickknack you can imagine, if you visit just one farmers market on Maui, this is the one. There are also plenty of food trucks and vendors serving hot food, too, if you don't want to wait to get home to cook up the fresh veggies you just purchased. There's a nominal $.50 fee to enter. Children under 12 are free. [Maui Swap Meet]

Upcountry Farmers Market (Kula)
Saturday, 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Kula Malu Shopping Center

The most refined farmers market on Maui, here you'll find the freshest vegetables you're likely to come across. With all of the farming upcountry, it's no surprise that the market is laden with vegetables, fruits, flowers and craftier items like honey, kombucha, pickles and food vendors selling raw and vegan items. [Upcountry Farmers Market]

Napili Farmers Market (Napili)
Wednesday and Saturday, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
4900 Honoapiilani Highway

Usually sporting 15 - 20 vendors, you can find a little bit of everything, but the focus is on locally grown, non-GMO produce and locally made products. Among the more interesting vendors you may see are Lahaina Organics, who make reef safe sunscreens and freshly made kimchi by Napili Flo Farm. [Napili Farmers Market]

Kumu Farms Market (Waikapu)
Monday - Saturday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Maui Tropical Plantation

A true farmers market, everything sold at this stand was grown on the Kumu Farms. The fully organic, non-GMO farm, sits on 60 acres of fertile land in the shadow of the West Maui Mountains. Depending on the season, you're likely to find everything from parsley and mint to macadamia nuts and pineapples to avocados and apple bananas. There are 35 different crops in all. If you're hunting for bargains, on Saturdays many of the prices are reduced. [Kumu Farms Market]

Hana Fresh Farm Stand (Hana)
Daily, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Hana Highway between mile markers 34 and 35

Everything sold from this stand is from the Hana Fresh Farm. Hana Fresh is a key component to the Hana Health initiative, a health and wellness center in Hana dedicated to helping the local community, in particular native Hawai'ians who may not otherwise be offered healthcare due to financial, cultural and/or geographical reasons. The farm is seven acres and organically grows over 100 different crops. Proceeds from the sales go towards supporting Hana Health programs and services. [Hana Fresh Farm Stand]

Do you have a favorite farmers market on Maui? Tell us on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

Safe Snorkeling in Maui

Whether you are snorkeling just off the shore of one of the Maui white sand beaches or on one of our snorkel boat tours, we wanted to pass on some ike (knowledge) when it comes to snorkeling safety!
October 14, 2017


Known for the warm, clear waters and colorful marine life, it would be a shame if you missed the unique opportunity of snorkeling in Maui. Enjoyable for all ages, snorkeling offers the chance to glimpse at a whole other world built just under the water’s surface! Whether you are snorkeling just off the shore of one of Maui’s white sand beaches or on one of our snorkel boat tours, we wanted to pass on some ‘ike (knowledge) when it comes to snorkeling safety!

1. Buddy System
It should come as no surprise that when it comes to any outdoor activity, the buddy system is key. Two pairs of eyes are truly better than one and it is definitely helpful to have more than one person check the surroundings (tip #2).

2. Keep an Eye on Your Surroundings
The ocean can be, at times, unpredictable which is why it is important to be aware of what is around you. With that in mind, while snorkeling it is best to avoid alcohol to keep your senses sharp! If you are swimming close to the beach, keep in mind that you should only be snorkeling in clear water. It not only offers the best underwater sights, but it allows you to keep a watchful eye on what is around you! Weather and surf conditions can affect your overall experience snorkeling, especially if you are trying it for the first time, so it is imperative to avoid large surf and high wind when looking for a spot to snorkel.

It is also essential to avoid ocean currents, but should you get caught in one do not panic! Swimming against it will most likely just tire you out (tip #3) and the best way to get out of it is to swim perpendicular to the current.

3. Avoid Exhaustion
Whether you are an experienced swimmer or a beginning snorkeler, swimming is an activity that can easily tire you out. Sticking relatively close to the shore or boat is the best way to ensure that you only have a short swim back to rest. If you are out in the ocean blue, it might be worthwhile to have a flotation device with you as well as communicating with your snorkel buddy! The coral reefs are fragile microenvironments that are best admired from afar along with other marine animals and organisms. So should you find yourself getting tired on your offshore excursion, head back to where you can stand on the sand and not on the convenient rocky reef.

Hawaii Ocean Project takes safety seriously and while all of these tips are generally common sense, there is worth in repeating before you head out. So rub on some reef-healthy sunscreen, throw on your fins, and get ready to go on a Maui adventure

Classic Hawaiian Cookbooks - HOP to it

Five classic Hawaiian cuisine chefs, five classic cookbooks
October 12, 2017


Sam Choy, Beverly Gannon, Peter Merriman, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, five of the original 12 members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, all have signature cookbooks. Like their restaurants, the books still hold up today. For many people, it isn't a trip to Hawai'i without visiting one of their dining locations. What follows is a quick synopsis of their most popular cookbooks. If you want to take a piece of Hawaii home with you, you might as take the piece that lives inside your belly! All of these books are available from Amazon, with the exception of the Merriman book, for which you'll need to swing by one of his restaurants or order directly from his website. The cookbooks below are listed chronologically. Bon appetit!

"With Sam Choy: Cooking from the Heart" - Sam Choy, Evelyn Cook (1995)
"With Sam Choy: Cooking from the Heart" tells the story of Sam Choy, one of the main faces and personalities behind the Hawai'ian food revolution of the early '90s, through his recipes and words. Often called the "Godfather of Poke," his engaging, out-sized personality shows through in the food descriptions and when he's "talking story" throughout the book. In fact, there are personal stories for nearly every one of the 130 recipes. Whether the story is about the inspiration behind the recipe or why he would present the dish in a certain fashion, it's these little anecdotes that make reading the book a real pleasure.

Chef Choy has one Big Island restaurant: Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

"Roy's Feasts from Hawaii" - Roy Yamaguchi and John Harrison (1995)
With over 150 recipes, Roy Yamaguchi steps out from the kitchen and shares the secrets behind his award-winning dishes. It's a beautiful book containing lots of pictures and wonderful recipes. Along the way, he slowly tells the story of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine through each recipe. At first glance, the recipes can seem overwhelming due to the sheer number ingredients, but a deeper read shows that most home cooks, regardless of their skill level in the kitchen, can follow along with a majority of the recipes.

Chef Yamaguchi's restaurants in Hawai'i:
Maui: Roy's Ka'anapali
Big Island: Roy's Waikola
Oahu: Roy's Hawaii Kai, Roy's Ko Olina, Roy's Turtle Bay, Roy's Waikiki

"New Wave Luau" - Alan Wong and John Harrison (1999)
Probably the most adventurous of the five chefs whose books we're looking at for this article, Wong masterfully blends classic recipes with a playful whimsy to create foods that will bring smiles and winks from your dinner guests. The kalbi short rib tacos with papaya-red onion salsa is nothing short of breathtaking and actually quite easy to make. The book is filled with wonderful recipe intros and lots of pictures. The recipes themselves are well-written and easy to follow.

Chef Wong's restaurants: Alan Wong's Honolulu; Alan Wong's Shanghai

"Hali'imaile General Store Cookbook" - Beverly Gannon and Bonnie Friedman (2000)
After a nice intro about her family, the restaurant's neighborhood and the restaurant itself, chef/restauranteur Beverly Gannon breaks the cookbook into seasons, starting with spring and ending, naturally, in winter. Along the way, the recipes are well laid out, easy to follow and there are plenty of photos. Hali'imaile General Store is one of the most popular and well-reviewed restaurants on Maui. If you loved eating here, you'll be thrilled to recreate the signature dishes (minus, sadly, the crab dip) at home.

Chef Gannon's Maui restaurants: Gannon's (Wailea); Hali'imaile General Store (Makawao)

"Merriman's Hawai'i" - Peter Merriman and Melanie P. Merriman (2015)
Starting with an intro by renowned chef Peter Bayless, "Merriman's Hawai'i" covers 75 recipes over 262 pages. There are gorgeous pictures for every recipe. Even better, reading this book is like taking a culinary tour of the Big Island. As you're reading, you'll meet local artisans who supply the "farm" portion of his farm-to-table culinary ethic. Maybe because it's the most recently published, this book is the sharpest looking and most interesting read of the five cookbooks in this article.

Chef Merriman's restaurants:
Maui: Merrimans (Kapalua), Hula Grill (Ka'anapali), Monkeypod (Wailea), Monkeypod (Ka'anapali opening Fall, 2017)
Big Island: Merriman's (Waimea)
Kauai: Merriman's (Poipu), Gourmet Pizza and Burgers by Merriman (Poipu)
Oahu: Moku Kitchen (Honolulu), Monkeypod (Ko Olina)

Do you have a favorite Hawai'ian food-based cookbook? Tell us on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

Best Food Trucks on Maui - HOP to it

Where to find the best food trucks on Maui
October 11, 2017


Food trucks keep sprouting up on Maui and we couldn't be happier. The quality of food at the trucks listed below rival anything you'll eat at high end restaurants. While you'll find classic Hawai'ian dishes like poke, you can also find ethnic foods that are generally underserved here, like gyros and authentic Mexican food. This list could easily run 20 deep, so expect to see another list in the near future.

  1. Maui Fresh Streatery (check the Facebook page)
    The menu changes every two weeks at Maui Fresh Streatery, but we've never been disappointed, so we can give this truck a hearty recommendation even if we can't recommend any single dish. Serving only fresh, Maui-sourced food, this truck embraces a farm-to-table ethic. (Maui Fresh Streatery)

  2. Thai Mee Up (Kahului)
    Open for lunch M - F and dinner on Wednesday's until 8:00, Thai Mee Up is located in the food truck round-up across from Costco. They feature some amazing curries, we especially love the panang curry, and great pad thai. It can sometimes take 15 - 20 minutes to get your food (they will warn you,) so we always use that time to cross the street and get gas at Costco. Thai Mee Up was featured on the hit Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives". (Thai Mee Up)

  3. Like Poke? (Kahului)
    Like Poke? uses only fresh caught fish, meaning if the fishermen come up dry, no poke for you! While that can be frustrating, we give mad props to this truck for sticking to their ideals. The other maddening thing about Like Poke? They're only open until they run out of food. Usually, that's pretty early. Generally open from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, we recommend getting there by 11:00. OK, so what should you order? For starters, try the poke. It's some of the best on the island. Then, venture out and try something like the ahi katsu (if it's available on the day you visit) and the fried poke. (Like Poke?)

  4. Ono Tacos (Lahaina)
    This tiny trailer dishes up some big Mexican flavors. Well known for their tacos, Ono Tacos also serves tortas, burritos, quesadillas and even hot dogs. There's a self-serve condiment area with everything you could want to put on a taco, plus a few different salsas. Call us old fashioned, but we always order a plate of tacos carnitas (steak) with rice and beans. The steak is grilled to perfection. Nope, nothing fancy there, but it hits the spot. (Ono Tacos)

  5. Mediterranean Grill (Haiku)
    Serving Lebanese-style Mediterranean food, the Mediterranean Grill food truck absolutely kills it with its lamb gyro. Easily the best gyro we've eaten on Maui, the lamb is always perfectly grilled and the yogurt sauce has just enough bite to taste it, but it doesn't overwhelm the dish. Located in a food truck round-up in Haiku, if you're upcountry, we recommend you swing by. (Mediterranean Grill)

Do you have a favorite food truck on Maui? Tell us on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

Blogs for October 2017

Best Malasadas on Maui - HOP To It

Posted on October 17, 2017

There are so many good malasadas on Maui, it's hard to narrow the list down to just five, but after weeks of agonizing research, we think we've come up with the definitive list. But first, the ground rules. We're sticking with bakeries and shops that serve malasadas "to… Continue Reading

Best Farmers Markets on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 16, 2017


The state of Hawai'i imports roughly 85% - 90% (by most estimates) of its food. This leaves Maui in a somewhat precarious situation. First, if for some reason we were cut off from the mainland, it wouldn't take long for there to be massive food shortages. Second,… Continue Reading

Safe Snorkeling in Maui

Posted on October 14, 2017


Known for the warm, clear waters and colorful marine life, it would be a shame if you missed the unique opportunity of snorkeling in Maui. Enjoyable for all ages, snorkeling offers the chance to glimpse at a whole other world built just under the water’s surface! Whether… Continue Reading

Classic Hawaiian Cookbooks - HOP to it

Posted on October 12, 2017


Sam Choy, Beverly Gannon, Peter Merriman, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, five of the original 12 members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, all have signature cookbooks. Like their restaurants, the books still hold up today. For many people, it isn't a trip to Hawai'i without visiting… Continue Reading

Best Food Trucks on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 11, 2017


Food trucks keep sprouting up on Maui and we couldn't be happier. The quality of food at the trucks listed below rival anything you'll eat at high end restaurants. While you'll find classic Hawai'ian dishes like poke, you can also find ethnic foods that are generally underserved… Continue Reading

Fun Facts About the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa

Posted on October 08, 2017

We are sure that you have heard of Hawaii’s state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, and have been challenged to sound out this seemingly complicated set of letters. Lucky for you, we won’t make you do that and will often refer to this fish as “humuhumu” like the locals do.… Continue Reading

The Harmful Effects of Sunscreen on our Oceans

Posted on October 07, 2017


Sunscreens have been making headlines lately due to their contribution to coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Coral bleaching is the phenomenon whereby coral loses its color and rejects symbiotic organisms, essentially killing the coral. While rising sea temperatures are the main culprit behind coral bleaching, researchers believe… Continue Reading

Best Asian Noodle Joints on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 06, 2017

Noodle dishes and bowls come in all shapes and sizes. While Oahu may have some of the best ramen restaurants in the world, Maui definitely doesn't. But ramen isn't the only noodle dish in town. Maui does have excellent saimin, a local noodle soup, a bit like ramen,… Continue Reading

Best Tide Pools on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 05, 2017


Maui is blessed with miles and miles of sandy beaches. Not all beaches, though, have tide pools. In fact, most don't have them. But when you come across a great tide pool, you can use it as an ecological teaching moment for children or just enjoy the… Continue Reading

Best Golf Courses on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 04, 2017

Maui is home to many fine golf courses, far more than the five listed here. With the exception of one, all of the courses here are public. The one club that is private offers one-day guest memberships for visitors. From courses that double as PGA stops to municipal courses with… Continue Reading

Best Tropical Gardens on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 03, 2017


While it seems odd to spend money to see plants and flowers on Maui when they are so prevalent for free, sometimes it's helpful to see all the different types of flora in one location. For you Instagrammers, tropical gardens present excellent flower photo and selfie opportunities.… Continue Reading

Best Coffee Shop on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 02, 2017


A good coffee shop is somewhere you want to nest, a place where you can do anything from check your email to chat with friends. For this list, we aren't talking about the best coffee. Instead, we are talking about are the best places to enjoy coffee.… Continue Reading

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Our Latest Blogs

Best Malasadas on Maui - HOP To It
  (Posted: October 17, 2017)

Best Farmers Markets on Maui - HOP to it
  (Posted: October 16, 2017)

Safe Snorkeling in Maui
  (Posted: October 14, 2017)

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