Maui Chef Presents 11 Island Foods for Maui Visitors to Try

Maui Chef Presents 11 Island Foods for Maui Visitors to Try

At our catered events and weddings on Maui, one of the most common questions asked by visitors is what they should eat while visiting the islands. As a professional chef, here are eleven of my favorite recommendations of what a food loving visitor should try to experience when you vacation onFresh Sushi on Maui featuring Himachi. Maui. What could be better than expanding the typical food palette by trying a few new local dishes?

If you never eat Loco Moco or Poi again, at least you’ll know what Poi tastes like and understand what loco moco is when the Hawaiian Food Truck rolls up at home. Fans of Poke will love the flavors of the fresh fish used in poke prepared in Hawaii. Read on for a few more of my favorites and then use the link afterwards to find out how to enjoy an affordable private chef dinner on Maui featuring some or all of these local dishes:

  • Maui Onion Rings with Banana Ketchup in Kaanapali at CJs Deli Diner.Maui Onion Rings with Banana Ketchup – If you like indulging in the decadent taste of fresh hot deep fried onion rings (and who doesn’t?!?), you’ll love onion rings made with sweet Maui onions. At CJ’s Deli & Diner in Kaanapali, our Onion Rings are prepared in a lite batter and served along with our house made banana ketchup for a little tropical flavor. Guests rave about our rings with banana ketchup, frequently asking for the recipe to make at home to enjoy with their own homemade sweet onion rings.
  • Poke – With fresh fish available, even the most seasoned poke lovers will find something new visiting their local poke preparer. Try the Taco Poke or ask for your favorite poke extra spicy. Take your poke to the beach or enjoy it on your vacation rental lanai with a glass of wine or your favorite beer for an affordable local style sunset beach dinner on Maui.
  • Maui Chef CJ indulging in a freshly made hot malasada at his restaurant in KaanapaliMalasadas – A doughy deep fried pastry usually dipped in a mixture of cinnamon with brown sugar and now more often than in the past with chocolate or fruit fillings. While we featured malasada made fresh daily as part of our homemade baked goods when we opened at 6 instead of 7 am, homemade malasadas are still available for catered events or as part of a dessert food station.
  • Spam Musubi – What more is to be said about this delightful little snack available in many small snack shops on Maui and even a few convenience stores? Even if you don’t care for Spam, everyone who visits Maui should try a Spam Musubi at least once. If you over indulge on one too many Mai Tai or Pina Colada, you may find that a Spam Musubi will fix everything. What is it, you ask? Well, depending on who is preparing the spam Musubi it’s a little bit of sticky rice topped with a slice of fried spam and wrapped with a small strip of Nori (seaweed). We like to eat Spam Musubi with a little terryaki or Shoyu (soy sauce) drizzled on top!
  • Nothing like fresh Mahi Mahi served with a lite lemon caper sauce and a side of pineapple salsa and steamed vegetables for an affordable dinner in Kaanapli.Mahi Mahi with Lemon Caper Sauce – Mahi Mahi is usually in abundant supply with steady reliable sources of freshly caught fish from the Hawaiian islands. If you are lucky enough to catch your own fish on a fishing charter or while out spear fishing, bring your fresh catch to CJ’s for full preparation and enjoy a gourmet dinner featuring your fish in a variety of preparation styles. Read about the details in our ‘You Catch It, We Cook It’ fresh fish gourmet dinner program. It’s very affordable and you get to eat the delicious fish you caught on a charter fishing excursion or while out spear fishing. Bring your fresh catch in for a truly memorable dinner but also one of the most affordable dinners on Maui! And if you aren’t lucky enough to catch your own fish, enjoy customer favorite menu items, Sauteed Mahi Mahi Plate served with a medley of daily steamed vegetables along with your choice of rice or potatoes (market price) or Sauteed Mahi Fish Sandwich with Mango Aioli served with Tomato and Lettuce on a French Roll.
  • The Best Loco Moco on Maui at CJs Restaurant in Kaanapali.Loco Moco – This long time island favorite is a complete hearty meal for anytime of the day or at breakfast in Kaanapali. Ours is made with a plate of rice or potatoes on the bottom stacked with a half pound Angus Gold burger topped with Maui Onion gravy and two farm fresh sunny side up eggs (or cooked to order) for only $13.95. We serve Loco Moco in Kaanapali all day every day!
  • Lilikoi Margarita or a Lilikoi Mojito – In addition to a Pina Coloda and Mai Tai or other traditional umbrella drink, try a Lilikoi Mojito or a Lilikoi Margarita. Lilikoi are Passion Fruit and often abundant on Maui. Our Passionate Mojito is often selected as a signature cocktail for weddings we cater. If you can find passion fruit, you can try this delicious Mojito variation with my Lilikoi Passion Mojito Recipe.
  • Hawaiian Style Shave Ice – Not all shave ice is created equal. To make sure you get authentic ‘Shave Ice’, you’ll need to find a place with the old style block of ice cutter featuring razor sharp cutting blade to get the ultra smooth creamy texture of classic Hawaiian Shave Ice. Don’t get fooled by the snow cone knock offs you may encounter. Instead, you need to know shave ice is different than a snow cone and needs to be shaved much finer to achieve the smooth texture everyone loves with fresh tropical fruit toppings and syrups! My favorite place to get shave ice on Maui is at one of the Ulalani Hawaiian Shave Ice shops inHawaiian Pineapple Fried Rice at CJs Maui Restaurant in Kaanapali. Lahaina or one of their other (seemingly always growing) list of locations. You simply can’t go wrong with Mango, Coconut and little Ling Hing Mui with Beans or ice cream in the bottom of a Made on Maui Shave Ice!
  • Pineapple Fried Rice – Not much needs to be said about this classic Hawaiian dish! White rice is fried with sautéed pineapple, sweet onions and a few other savory vegetables and herbs along with chopped pork or some prefer to prepare it with Spam. At CJ’s Diner in Kaanapali, we serve our Pineapple fried rice as a complete meal or as side dish in a smaller portion.
  • Poi – Poi it a local staple made from pounded or ground taro root. Most often found at Hawaiian Luau and sometimes served with traditional Hawaiian plate lunch meals (a generous portion of protein served along with a scoop of rice and mac salad) every visitor to Hawaii should try poi at least once. Even if you don’t fully enjoy the slightly salty flavor of ground poi, a little added to your white rice elevates the experience of enjoying a traditional luau dinner served with Kalua Pig and fresh island fish prepared in a coconut sauce. It is also common to find the purple version of taro used in soft buns or other baked goods.
  • Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce at CJs Diner in Kaanapali.Coconut Shrimp – Coconut Shrimp served with a sweet chili sauce is always a favorite dish to enjoy in Hawaii. Follow my easy to prepare recipe for a delicious taste of the islands you make anywhere.

Don’t just take our word for it, our friends over at Zagat recently ran their own take on 9 Hawaiian Dishes to Know About. Though we agree on a few of the Zagat recommendations, we think our list is more comprehensive and truly representative of current food Hawaiian Coconut Shrimp with chicken skewers and pineapple on Maui.trends in Hawaii rather than recreations of Hawaiian food being copied by numerous mainland eateries. By all means, try the Hawaiian food dishes at one of the venues mentioned in the zagat article so you’ll have a baseline to compare against. Then, when you are vacationing on Maui be sure to try an authentic version of these classic Hawaiian dishes to see what you may have missed in the mainland renditions! One of the best restaurants to sample these dishes is at CJ’s Deli Diner in the Kaanapali Fairway Shops. Take a look at our breakfast or dinner menu! Visitors with special dietary needs will enjoy the extensive options on our Vegetarian and Gluten Free menus. Use this map to our Maui restaurant for convenient walking and driving directions.

Consider indulging in a personally prepared private chef dinner on Maui to try all or some of the above dishes! Professional Maui chef Christian Jorgensen will come to your private vacation rental to prepare a gourmet dinner for your family and friends. Along the way you are welcome to discuss the ingredients and ask questions about cooking technique or get advice about preparation methods. Grown on Maui local ingredients will be used whenever practical with an emphasis on farm to table. You may be surprised to find out a private Maui chef dinner often costs less than a fine dining experience in a resort restaurant. And you’ll be enjoying the extra privacy of your own estate rental or condo. Hit the button below to request a no obligation cost estimate for a Maui private chef dinner during your vacation:{{cta(‘646cf88d-2f70-4180-8031-ffe1b29cf7a7′,’justifycenter’)}}

A tropical beach bbq is always a fun welcome party catering option for corporate parties, weddings, or family reunions. Hit the button below and we’ll help you plan an event on Maui. We include free event and wedding planning with all catered wedding receptions. Get help for your catered event on Maui now:{{cta(‘603eaab8-be76-4ba3-a24d-33e7aebb91c7′,’justifycenter’)}}

What was your favorite Hawaiian food from a Maui vacation? Have tips or ideas to help others plan their private dinner? Please leave notes in the comment area below or use the comments section to ask questions about organizing a private dinner or arranging a catered event on Maui.

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CJ’s Kaanapali Diner Review

My daughter and I visited Maui a couple of weeks ago and came to your restaurant 3 times. I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to meet our gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free requirements. We loved being able to eat out safely and wish we had a CJ’s at home! I just wrote you a stellar review on Trip Advisor. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Kelley MacCabe
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Review

Wonderful for a Sunday Brunch since you can order breakfast until 11:00am! Had a ‘custom’ 3 ingredient omelette (I chose mushrooms, feta and spinach) with nicely crunchy on the outside and soft inside home potatoes, yummy. Hubby had the pancakes with fresh fruit! These are light fluffy slightly sweet batter pancakes, not those heavy bland ones (OK I admit it, I had to have a few bites of his breakfast…) Service was fast and friendly :0). The menu is EXTENSIVE, we live here and love it!

Kathy, Lahaina, Maui
CJ’s Deli and Diner Maui Restaurant Review

Fact: CJ’s Maui onion soup will melt your face off it’s so good. Best I’ve ever had. It gets 20 stars.
Alas, it’s not on the menu every day… But when my fiancee and I went this past summer and were lucky to meet Chef CJ in person and mentioned that we had been thinking about the onion soup since the last time we visited two years earlier, he was kind enough to put it on the next day’s menu. We went back the following day and ordered it, and it was amazing, just as we had remembered. Another fact: the onion soup at CJ’s is better than the onion soup at Mama’s Fish House (and at like 1/4th of the price). Really. It’s that good. Part of me wants to reverse engineer CJ’s onion soup recipe, quit my job, and make millions selling onion soup to the mainland masses! (or: CJ, wanna make a deal?)
I think that the loco moco gravy is made from the same goodness. So that’s great too. The potato salad is tasty as well.
The to-go lunch plate is respectable.

Jonny S, San Diego, CA
Maui Chef CJ Prepares Mushroom Soup for Kaanapali Restaurant Guest

On a previous visit to Maui, I had the most delicious mushroom soup at CJ’s Deli and Diner in Kaanapali. When I arrived in Maui this week, I emailed the restaurant and asked what day they might have the soup. The owner and chef, Christian Jorgensen (CJ), promptly replied even though he was on vacation in Vegas. He gave me a number to call to check on the soup of the day. Then when he returned to Maui on Friday, he emailed me to let me know he would have the soup for me on Saturday. When I got there, he was so friendly and the soup was even more scrumptious than I had remembered. I really appreciated how valued he made me feel as a customer.

Linda D.
CJs Maui Restaurant Customer

Good Morning, My wife and I spent last week in Maui. Your early bird special was the best. After we found you, we ate breakfast there every morning. You had two regular coffees that we just loved.

James T Wilson Jr
Maui Restaurant Customer

The best burger I ever had! Great Service! Fantastic Food!! Simply Awesome.

Pat Janostin, Champlin MN
Kaanapali Restaurant Customer Comment

Thanks for all the Good Food. Best we have ad since we hit the island 5 days ago!

Jeff and Myra V., Ontario, Ohio

CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comments on CJ’s Private Luau in her Blog

Aloha, Just wanted to let you know that this post was up last Friday and it will be included (linked) with all of our Hawaii properties. Thank you both for excellent service. You made our trip to Maui very memorable! Feel free to comment on the post. It’s always good to have additional information and your input.

Nancy Solomon, Travel Writer
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

Aloha, We were in to see you many times during our stay last month in Ka’anapali, couple of things for you:
Need to order some more of your CJ’s roasted Kona Coffee. I see it’s not yet on your website, only the Maui Coffee Co. stuff. We ran out last weekend and are having withdrawls, please help!! Need 2 bags urgently!!
Secondly, your claim about having the best corned beef hash on the island. I think you’ve understated this because it’s the best I’ve had any where in the world! And that covers a lot of ground as I’ve been to every continent multiple times. Just the best anywhere, period!! Don’t suppose you would have that for delivery to Indiana would you? Maybe by the pound(s)?
Great people and even better food, Mahalo CJ’s. Seriously though, please let me know about that coffee. How do we get some ordered and shipped to Indiana?

Bill Clark, Valparaiso, In.
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

​CJ’s Deli & Diner Rocks! Been here several times while visiting Maui – each time we tried different meals and each time we LOVED the food, service and atmosphere. Only suggestion would be to provide regular dinner napkins along with this paper type – because we’re messy!

Aloha and Mahalo from Detroit