Whether you’re a longtime fan or a complete poke novice, if you’re visiting Hawaii, you’ve got to try some poke (POH-kay). This Hawaiian dish features fresh, usually raw, diced fish mixed with other ingredients. There are many different flavor combinations, so try a few and discover your favorite. Here are the best places to get poke in West Maui — Kaanapali and Lahaina.
But wait, there’s more. We’re here to help demystify some of the unusual words you might see on menus like furikake, laulau and lilikoi — and explain which meat is being served and why. And possibly most importantly of all, provide the fun facts on the origins of local dishes.
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Featured Photo: HuiHui Restaurant
Few chefs in Maui have been fishing, diving and making poke for as long as Chef Tom Murumoto. Formerly a pro surfer, Murumoto loves the ocean and is intimately familiar with ocean in Maui as well as the fish. Look for his poke on the lunch menu, where he makes it with Hawaiian ‘inamona (roasted candlenut seasoning), ogo (seaweed), scallions, onions, ginger, sesame oil and Nioi (Hawaiian chili pepper). Open daily 7am to 9pm. huihuirestaurant.com
Japengo’s been winning all the awards: 2019 ‘Aipono Best New Restaurant, 2020 ‘Aipono Gold Best Pacific Rim, 2020 ‘Aipono Silver Best Sushi. The views are stunning, the dining room is beautiful, the service is great, and as we already noted, the food is award-winning. If you’re in Lahaina, be sure to drop by. Start with the Japengo poke, of course. Open daily 5am to 9pm. hyatt.com/japengo
This spot on Maui’s west side is serving “Hawaiian-inspired Filipino Asian cuisine.” The quality is high and the price is just right. Locally sourced ingredients, seriously yummy food — we recommend the ahi poke plate. Open daily 8:30am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm. joeyskitchenhimaui.com
Leilani’s on the Beach
This popular, award-winning restaurant sources its produce from over 40 family-owned Maui farms and receives fresh locally-sourced fish every day. One of the best places to take in a Maui sunset, the menu has something for everyone, but we recommend the poke bowl to help you soak up the decadent mai tais. Open daily 11am to 10pm. leilanis.com
The fresh ahi poke tacos in crispy wonton shells are worth coming here on their own. Monkeypod also has a hefty selection of beers on tap, delicious locally sourced small plates, and hand tossed kiawe wood fired pizzas. The daily happy hour (3:30pm to 5pm) is one of the best on the island and the sunsets aren’t half bad either. Open daily 11am to 10pm with happy hour from 3:30pm to 5pm. monkeypodkitchen.com
It’s no surprise that this award-winning restaurant is one of Maui’s favorite food spots, thanks to their fresh noodles, sake cocktails and Asian-inspired dishes. Their “Ahi Avo“ poke bowl features raw ahi tuna with avocado and lemon pressed olive oil — it’s a must-have, as well as several other items on the menu!. Open every day 10:30am to 9pm. Reservations required. starnoodle.com
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