Where to Eat Now on Maui

I ate my way through 72 restaurants, shacks, food trucks and hidden kitchens to create this guide on Where to Eat on Maui Right Now, which ran in the Dallas Morning News last Sunday.  It’s the peak of Maui’s tourist season — here’s all you need to know to eat well on the island, whether you want to spend $10 or $100. Here’s an excerpt:

You know the Maui food scene is shifting when community tables, immersion circulators and a Manhattan-style noodle shop are nudging Spam and macadamia-nut-crusted everything to the back burner.

And why not? Maui lays claim to some of the country’s best produce, fish and meats. You might think I’d be jaded after scouring the island for the best places to eat on Maui right now. Far from it. I love that chefs are now buying and using local ingredients (they didn’t always), and that even grocery stores sell excellent poke, that immensely popular side dish of raw fish tumbled in flavorful marinades.

A billion calories and 72 highly recommended restaurants, bakeries, food trucks and taco joints later, here’s that list.

Aloha Mixed Plate  There’s nothing fancy about Aloha Mixed Plate, with its plastic tables, beach umbrellas and patio decor, but that’s part of its appeal. Of course, it could also be the beachside location in the former whaling town of Lahaina, or a menu that tops out at $10. Almost everyone orders the plate lunch, a combo of teriyaki beef and chicken sided by oversized scoops of mayo-heavy macaroni salad and white rice, but even the chef agrees the better choice is the fried rice with slowly roasted pork Portuguese sausage and salty bacon, all topped with a couple of fried eggs. He’s right.

1285 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-3322. alohamixedplate.com

Honu Seafood and Pizza  Chef Mark Ellman, who founded a string of restaurants that once included the Maui Taco chain (read the rest of the story here).