Manju and Malasadas
On a drab industrial street in Wailuku, Maui’s workaday central town, the Home Maid Bakery presents delectable little filled pastries known as manju. Originally a Japanese confection, the manju found on Maui are a cross between a pie and a cookie, with a buttery crust outside and a range of flavors within. Favorite varieties include sugary flaky coconut or lima bean, which is packed with a sweet creamy bean paste that bears no resemblance to the pale green legumes kids push around on their plates. If you’d rather start with a more familiar taste, try the dark chocolate or peanut butter.
Another delectable island confection is the malasada — a puff of fried dough dusted with sugar. Home Maid Bakery is once again a good source for the Portuguese-style doughnuts, particularly if you want them hot from the fryer; the bakery fries them fresh daily between 5:30 and 10:00 a.m. and again between 4 to 10 p.m.
Tucked away in the Maui Mall near Kahului Airport, the tiny Tasaka Guri Guri Shop serves just one thing: a sherbet-like frozen goodie known as guri guri. Choices are simple: strawberry, pineapple, or (the most popular) a mix of both. It’s strictly a to-go operation; perch on a bench outside while you lap up your frosty snack.
Coconut Ice Cream
If you’re driving the serpentine road to Hana, you’re bound to get hungry, but the snack stops on the island’s remote east end are few and far between. For excellent non-dairy ice cream (made from fresh coconut milk) pull over at Mile Marker 27 1/2 on the Hana Highway when you see Coconut Glen’s colorful sign. Flavors at this funky stand range from basic vanilla to chili-infused chocolate to tropical lilikoi (passion fruit). Ask for a taste before you choose; the tasting “spoons” are pieces of coconut shell.
Goat Cheese Truffles
Maui’s Surfing Goat Dairy produces cheese with milk from its resident herd; you can stop by the Upcountry farm for a tour and a tasting. Surprisingly, this creamy goat cheese is also an essential ingredient in its handmade chocolate truffles, giving a slight tang to the sweet chocolate. Try the Kona coffee, toasted coconut, tropical flavors such as lime or lilikoi or go straight for the dark chocolate.
Photos courtesy of Carolyn B. Heller