Shopping While in Kihei and Beyond
We did very little actually ‘shopping’ while on this vacation. Shopping in Kihei for us consisted of meals and food shopping to prepare back at Kamaole Sands. That said, here are a few items worth sharing for folks planning on visiting Kihei.
First, food (actually, pretty much everything) is more expensive in Hawaii. We did our food shopping in one of two places during our stay. Foodland, located on South Kihei wasn’t walking distance, but it was an easy drive from our condo. If you shop at Foodland be sure to ‘register’ for discounts. Like Safeway and many other grocers Foodland has a members program that provides discounts off the posted price. Registration is easy as you just give them a phone number which becomes your account ID. On subsequent visits just give them that number and you’ll be provided with the discount. It’ll save you a bunch over the course of a week or two. If you prefer Safeway, its found just a few blocks from Foodland and we found the prices to be a bit better, but not enough to say that one should be chosen over another.
We cooked most of our meals in the condo, which was much easier than restaurants with the little guy. That said, we did visit a number of spots during our stay. Some of them I’ll outline here.
Star Noodle, Lahaina. I can safely say that Star Noodle was the best restaurant we visited while in Maui. I expect the menu changes frequently, but we found the following items particularly tasty. Star Noodle’s take on Pork Buns (almost like a pork wrap with the pork being single large pieces of what I believe was pork belly). Brussels sprouts (halved brussels sprouts seared in what we guessed was bacon fat -yum- and tossed with smokey bacon pieces). Ahi Tuna special (market price) that was easily large enough to feed two people. There were numerous tables with children while we were there, but we went solo that evening so I can’t really comment in detail on how child-friendly the location and service would be. Much of the food would be challenging for a young child.
Paia Fish Market, Paia We stumbled across this place while walking through tiny Paia and enjoyed some excellent fish tacos, quesadilla and salads all at (for Maui) a pretty reasonable price. They had a couple high chairs, but I don’t think there were more than 2 so get there at a low time if you want to ensure appropriate seating. The spot’s noisy and located on a street corner with its large doors open which turned out to be a blessing for us as our little guy will happily watch traffic while we talk.
Sansei Sushi, Kihei Sansei came recommended by some friends and was well-reviewed on Yelp. I would recommend it as an option for dinner as the sushi is pretty good, though no where near the best I’ve had. I’m a sushi purist, so when I see things like panko-breaded ahi tuna rolls I tend to take issue. Note that this was ordered and the first couple pieces were good, but I can’t imagine eating a full roll, same with the broiled scallop nigiri that was recommended by the server. Don’t order this unless you like broiled processed cheese more than you like scallop.
Their sunemono was different from what I’m used to as it didn’t include rice noodles, but had an ample portion of sliced cucumber. Different from the norm, but a pleasant change. I chose octopus, which was fresh, but small-portioned. The unagi roll was delicious and Sansei’s agedashi tofu was nicely prepared with a very light, crispy batter.
Maui Tacos, Kihei
You’ll soon notice that Maui Tacos is EVERYWHERE including walking distance from Kamaole Sands. We tried them on a couple of occasions when we just wanted something quick and easily portable to the beach for example. The food was fine, but nothing to strongly recommend. On one occasion the fish tacos we ordered were way too salty. Would I recommend it? No. Would I warn against it? No. Maui Tacos is convenient and available where and when you need it.
Fred’s Mexican Cafe, Kihei
Casual ‘Mexican’ fare from this restaurant, which is an easy walk from Kamaole Sands. Show up in your bathing suit, eat and cross the street back to the beach. The portions are absolutely enormous, making this an easy way to fill up through the day. Drinks too are sizeable and well-priced and the servers are friendly and fun. Again, not haute cuisine by any stretch, but worth a visit for the large portions and fun atmosphere. There’s also a bar area upstairs that I think serves as a rallying point on the weekends.
Three’s Bar and Grill, Kihei
We stumbled on this place on our own. Three’s Bar is just off South Kihei Road and we weren’t sure what to expect. When we arrived half of the inside space was occupied by a children’s birthday party which had me skeptical at best. Fortunately there was a clear distinction between the different eating areas and we were able to enjoy our lunch with little disruption. The food was excellent and I’d recommend this spot for lunch to anyone visiting the area. The garlic fries in particular are worth a try
Mother’s Day Buffet, Sheraton, Ka’anapali
Holy crap was this ever a waste of money. Ka’anapali itself is worth a visit and will take about 45-50 minutes driving from Kihei. The area is where you’ll find the higher-end, name brand hotels (Westin, Sheraton, Four Seasons etc) vs. the condo resorts and independents that comprise Kihei, along with the shopping one comes to expect with these brands and price points. For Mother’s day we made the drive and had reservations at the Sheraton. Now, I don’t expect much from these kinds of buffets, but this one was very disappointing. The price for 3 adults came to roughly $55 per head for a brunch that was notable for nothing in particular. Avoid, your money is better spent elsewhere (unless of course money isn’t a consideration for you and you’re already near, or staying at the Sheraton in which case the only concern will be quality).