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Local Experts: Maui, Kyle Ellison

By Local Expert Kyle Ellison

Top 5 Food Trucks on Maui

The last two years have a seen a welcome explosion in the number of food trucks on Maui. Seemingly everywhere, from beach park entrances outside of Makena to the industrial streets of Lahaina, talented chefs are upping the ante on the fare you can expect from a truck. That’s right—chefs. With rents in Maui creeping every skyward, professionally trained chefs have literally taken their recipes out on the road, and gourmet plates featuring fresh local produce no longer require a restaurant. Since Maui food trucks have embraced social media, the menus—and location—can often change daily, and the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts will have all the up-to-date news. Usually, however, a cluster of food trucks can be found by the airport at the “Kahului Food Truck Oasis,” and while the windy dirt lot just a stone’s throw from Costco offers little in the way of ambience, the freshness, flavor, and roadside convenience have crafted the unlikeliest of gourmand outposts. For a quick bite of island flavors, the following trucks are some of the best places for a deliciously casual meal.    

Shark Pit

Named after the popular Lahaina surf spot, “The Pit” creates a land-based feeding frenzy every day around lunchtime. Fish and shrimp tacos are drizzled in aioli and just the right touch of sriracha, and burgers feature local, grass-fed beef on a homemade taro brioche. The fresh fish daily is dangerously good. 

Maui Fresh Streatery

It isn’t open often, but when it is, no other food truck can compare. Chef Kyle Kawakami weaves fresh local ingredients into a truly global menu—one that is constantly reinventing itself to feature flavors from all corers of the world. If available, order up some Indian spiced seared ahi or trio of Cuban pork sandwiches, and don’t be fooled by the industrial location—the food is as fine as it comes. Open Monday and Wednesday, 11am-1pm, and Friday evening late nights. 

Like Poke?

This colorful truck in the Kahului oasis specializes in Hawaii’s favorite fish dish, and features local twists such as ahi katsu and everyone’s favorite, fried poke. All fish is locally caught and is purchased directly from fishermen—so if the owner can’t get the fish that day, better luck tomorrow! 

Slightly Salty

The name itself is somewhat of a misnomer, as “delicious,” “surprising,” and “borderline ridiculous” would be a better fit for the name. The crab cake sandwiches are unlike any on Maui, and the pork belly sandwich and plate of shrimp pasta have fostered a loyal following. Located in the Kahului food truck oasis—be sure to arrive real hungry. 

Three’s Food Truck

In partnership with the popular South Kihei restaurant, this truck features genre-bending culinary concoctions that are worthy of a fine dining kitchen. Spring for the kalua pork quesadillas with pineapple chutney, Thai sweet chili, and a hint of cilantro aioli—ono to da max! Located in the Kahului food truck oasis and select spots on weekends.  

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