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Best Plate Lunches on Maui - HOP to it

Great plate lunch spots are easy to find on Maui
September 14, 2017


Generally speaking, a plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, mac (macaroni) salad and an entree. Historians believe plate lunches started when pineapple and sugar cane plantation workers would bring bento boxes, made up of rice and a main course, to work for lunch. Later, food trucks would come around to the fields serving up similar lunches on plates, thus crowning the name "plate lunch." Today, plate lunches can be found all over Hawai'i, in grocery stores, drive-ins, restaurants and food trucks. Here are our five favorite plate lunch places on Maui.

  1. Aloha Mixed Plate (Lahaina)
    Located on the water, across from the Lahaina Cannery Mall, Aloha Mixed Plate offers stunning views and killer plate lunches. A little on the pricey side for plate lunches, most plates come in around $12, the quality of the food makes the cost worth it. Our favorite order is the Beachside Mixed Plate, which includes shoyu (soy sauce) chicken, grilled kalbi ribs and teriyaki beef. Aloha Mixed Plate is equally popular amongst locals and visitors, and is sure to appease even the heartiest of appetites. (Aloha Mixed Plate)

  2. Da Kitchen (Kahului and Kihei)
    Being about five minutes from the airport, Da Kitchen is often the first or last place visitors will eat when arriving or departing Maui. Da Kitchen is known for its massive portions of tasty local food. They serve some of the best kalua pork on Maui. If you're really hungry and want to fill up, or if you want leftovers for a long flight, go with the Hawaiian Plate, which includes pork lau lau, kalua pork, chicken long rice and lomi salmon. Besides the sit-down Kahului location, there's a smaller, take-out spot in Kihei. (Da Kitchen)

  3. Piko Cafe (Kihei)
    Tucked away in a quiet corner of a strip mall, with its light wood tables and clean atmosphere, Piko Cafe kind of resembles an Apple Store. The food they serve is cheap and fast. Oh, it's also really good. We recommend the chicken katsu, which is wonderfully crisp and served with a house-made katsu sauce. While it's not a plate lunch, the three pancake breakfast for $4.99 is one of the best breakfast deals on Maui. Piko Cafe is relatively new, having opened in January, 2017, but it's already becoming a fixture for both locals and visitors.(Piko Cafe)

  4. Nobu's Lunch Wagon (Lahaina)
    This little pink truck serves up big plate lunches. With a different special every day, prepare to be filled up for under $10. Well known by Maui foodies, trying to find Nobu's can be difficult. But, if you search for Napa Auto Parts Lahaina, you will find Nobu's Lunch Wagon in their parking lot. It's generally open from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM or until they run out of food. On Tuesdays, the chicken katsu special is great. We recommend the curry sauce, but if you don't like curry, they have other sauces available. (Nobu's Lunch Wagon)

  5. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue (all over)
    Since opening its first drive-in in 1976, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue now has close to 200 locations in the United States, Guam and Japan. Since that first day, L&L has been a purveyor of the plate lunch. With a deep menu, L&L upholds the plate lunch tradition of large portions, served fast and cheap. We recommend the garlic shrimp and/or the garlic chicken. They aren't fancy, but they hit the spot. If you order this, remember a breath mint because you'll be tasting the garlic the rest of the day. (L&L Hawaiian Barbecue)

Do you have a favorite plate lunch spot? Tell us where you like to go by hitting us up on Twitter: @HIOceanProject and Instagram: @hawaiioceanproject.

Blogs for September 2017

10 Fun Facts About Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

Posted on September 30, 2017


10 Fun Facts About Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

The scientific name for the green sea turtle is Chelonia mydas, but the Hawaiian name is simply: "Honu." For many snorkelers, these fascinating marine reptiles become the highlight of a good outing. Despite their status as an endangered species, there are… Continue Reading

Best Vegetarian Food Cafes on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 29, 2017

From the cheapest dives to five-star restaurants, most places on Maui have a nice selection of vegetarian dishes. In fact, over the years, we've found Maui to be one of the more vegetarian-friendly islands in Hawaii. To be sure, we can eat unhealthy here on Maui (hello loco… Continue Reading

Five Turtles You Could See on Maui

Posted on September 28, 2017

Turtles are the rare creature you can see both underwater and on shore. While you're more likely to spot turtles, on Maui at least, in the water, if you know where to look, you can see the largest of them, green sea turtles, resting on the beach. Hawai'i… Continue Reading

Best Breakfast on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 26, 2017


They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is that why people are willing to stand in line for hours to have it? It's a phenomenon we truly don't don't understand. But if you like to stand in line for breakfast, we have some… Continue Reading

Best Fish and Chips on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 25, 2017

Maui has many excellent fish and chips spots. This is a statement of fact. Whether at high-end restaurants or small shacks, you're bound to find fresh fish, fried perfectly. When putting this list together, we came to the realization that Kihei may be one of the best towns… Continue Reading

Common Sea Urchins of Hawaii Reefs and Tide Pools

Posted on September 23, 2017

Common Sea Urchins of Hawaii Reefs and Tide Pools

If you love exploring tide pools and coral reefs to discover the many fascinating inhabitants, Maui is a great place to be. Whether you join us aboard a Molokini Snorkel Boat Tour, or you opt to stick to Maui's coastlines,… Continue Reading

Fish Guide for Snorkeling Maui

Posted on September 21, 2017


 

Achilles Tang
These black fish have a distinctive orange patch near the tail and some seriously beautiful orange, white, and blue stripes that look like they were painted on. Growing to 10 inches long, the Achilles Tang can be found in… Continue Reading

Fun Beach Movies

Posted on September 20, 2017


Let's be clear, this is not a Best Beach Movies list. Nope. Not even close. This list is all about fun. None of these movies will make you use your brain, but when you sit down to watch them, you'll probably keep a stupid grin plastered on… Continue Reading

Best Casual Restaurants with Outdoor Seating on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 18, 2017

Casual outdoor dining and Maui go hand-in-hand. Even the nicest places on Maui seem "casual" compared to mainland dining. We can't remember the last time we saw someone wearing a tie at dinner. But for our purposes, we split "fine dining" from "casual" using the old standby... with… Continue Reading

Best Fine Dining Restaurants with Outdoor Seating on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 18, 2017

This might be the hardest list we've written due to the overwhelming number of fine dining restaurants with outdoor dining on Maui. Almost every restaurant on Maui has outdoor seating! For a romantic evening, there are few things better than dinner under the stars. n the meantime, here's… Continue Reading

10 Fun Facts About Octopuses

Posted on September 16, 2017

10 Fun Facts About Octopuses

The waters off Hawaii's coastlines are full of fascinating marine animals, but few have as many surprising qualities as the octopus. As researchers continue to discover incredible things about the capabilities of these remarkable invertebrates, they continue to grow in popularity. You'll need sharp… Continue Reading

Best Plate Lunches on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 14, 2017


Generally speaking, a plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, mac (macaroni) salad and an entree. Historians believe plate lunches started when pineapple and sugar cane plantation workers would bring bento boxes, made up of rice and a main course, to work for lunch. Later, food… Continue Reading

Best Gluten-Free Casual Dining on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 13, 2017


Being gluten-free on Maui does not need to be a burden. Over the last five years, we've seen an influx of gluten-free options entering our restaurants. While the fine dining options are plentiful, there are also many casual restaurants and markets that cater to gluten-free diets. And… Continue Reading

Best Gluten-Free Sit-Down Restaurants on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 13, 2017


A member of our family was diagnosed with gluten issues about seven years ago. Since then, she's been on a gluten-free diet. At the time of the diagnosis, finding a great gluten-free meal on Maui was tough. Nowadays, finding a restaurant without gluten-free options is a rarity.… Continue Reading

A Brief History of Poke in Hawaii

Posted on September 11, 2017


Poke (pronounced poh-kay, rhymes with okay) literally means "to cut crosswise into pieces." It's a simple dish, made of chopped seafood, generally tuna, marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, and mixed with onion. But, you'll find many variations of this when you visit poke shops, and… Continue Reading

Best Poke in Grocery Stores and Shops on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 11, 2017


Poke, on Maui, is like coffee, in Seattle, or pizza, in Manhattan... it can be found everywhere. From that dingy looking gas station to the highest end restaurants, you don't have to look far to find it. But, where should you go for the best poke, on… Continue Reading

Best Horseback Riding Tours on Maui

Posted on September 09, 2017


Best Horseback Riding Tours on Maui

Riding can be a lot of fun for the whole family, if you're adventurous and looking for unique perspectives on Maui sightseeing. Most sightseeing is done via car, or helicopter, or boat (in our case). Each option has its own enticing qualities.… Continue Reading

Maui Hiking Guide

Posted on September 07, 2017


Maui, the Valley Isle, is blessed with many great hiking opportunities. Whether you've never hiked in your life, you're hiking with small children, or you're a seasoned hiker, Maui has you covered. Going from easiest to hardest, here is a list of hikes that we recommend to… Continue Reading

Best Coffee Ice Cream on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 06, 2017


Hawaii is the only state in the country that commercially grows coffee. As a result, we have actual, locally sourced coffee around these parts. Most of the coffee goes for drinking, but it sure makes for some good ice creams and gelatos. Here are our favorites...

Lappert's (Wailea… Continue Reading

Best Pizza on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on September 05, 2017


To be honest, there aren't a lot of great pizza places on Maui. But the places on this list are truly top-notch. Unique to Maui pizzas are the local ingredients and toppings you can generally only find here. Step outside of your normal pizza zone and try… Continue Reading

Six Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles Released into Maui Waters

Posted on September 02, 2017

Six Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles Released into Maui Waters

The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (honu) is one of the most the most beloved native species that you can find here on Maui. They show up in a seemingly endless array of artwork, jewelry, gifts, film, photographs, and the list… Continue Reading

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