Cooking with Alison

Best Cheap Eats in Maui, Hawaii

In Reviews on May 22, 2016 at am

John and I spent Christmas, 2015 in Maui, Hawaii. Given the island’s high prices, the Christmas high season, and our low Canadian dollar, we were very budget conscious and had to choose our meals carefully. Since food is very expensive in Maui, renting a place that has a kitchenette is key to saving money on food. I’ve compiled some food lists to help you plan your trip to Maui. Below is a list of the best cheap eats that we found on the island. See here for the list of our favourite eats in Maui. Mahalo!

Best Food Deals in Maui, Hawaii

The following are the best food deals that we enjoyed in Maui, Hawaii. They are not listed in any particular order, except that I saved the cheapest recommendations for the end (last three).

  1. Food Trucks
    • Food trucks are always a great option for quick and affordable meals. Just know that the food trucks in Maui are still more expensive than food trucks elsewhere, so don’t be surprised if you don’t save as much money as you thought you would.
    • On a side note, we were disappointed that Jaws Fish Tacos was closed when we went by. Had heard that they are delicious and well-priced.
  2. Monkeypod
    • Monkeypod restaurant has half price happy hour (see menu here)!
    • The drinks are great and the strawberry cream pie is a must try! I don’t normally like cream pies, but I liked this one. The crust was very thin and the kula strawberries and sauce were incredible. IMG_4273
    • We also had the wood-roasted chicken wings. They were burnt, overcooked, and the flavours were missing acidity. But I love wings and at 50% off, it was still a good deal. 😉IMG_4272
  3. Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
    • Sansei Japanese restaurant also has a half price happy hour! Considering the large selection of cooked and raw foods, including non-Japanese menu items (e.g. steak, pork chop, pasta, etc.), it’s quite the deal. Portion sizes were great, too.
    • Just be sure to line up outside the front door at least 45 minutes before happy hour starts to ensure that you get a table.
    • The food was decent; nothing outstanding. Here are some photos of what we tried.

      Mango and crab hand roll. I was surprised by how much real crab meat there was in this hand roll. I didn’t like the Thai-style dipping sauce, but I would order this again.


      Can’t remember what this was called, but it was one of my favourite dishes from Sansei.

      IMG_4260 IMG_4262


      Deep fried ice cream dessert. A great interpretation of deep fried ice cream.

  4. Coconut Fish Cafe
    • I consider their fish tacos a good deal, because 1. they are fully loaded with toppings, 2. they are very popular, and 3. they are quite good.IMG_5213
    • I also liked the other dishes that we tried there, including the coconut shrimp, chowder, and poke.IMG_5210 IMG_5238 IMG_5237
  5. Aloha Mixed Plate
    • I included Aloha Mixed Plate to this list, because we found the prices more reasonable than other places. The portion sizes were decent, too. We loved the laulau and macaroni salad.IMG_5118
    • Just a heads up that most places in Maui served rice at room temperature. This surprised and disappointed me, because I personally prefer piping hot rice.
    • Although the dishes are very flavourful, the beef ribs were too sweet for our taste and the fish was overcooked. IMG_5115
    • On a side note, if you’re looking for local food, we weren’t able to make it to Local Food Lahaina, but had heard good things about their food and prices.
  6. Spam Musubi
    • If you don’t mind eating spam, you will find very affordable (around $2 each) spam musubi’s in a lot of grocery stores. They are often served warm and look like giant spam sushi with a grilled block of spam laid on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with a strip of nori dried seaweed.IMG_4220
  7. Foodland Grocery Store
    • Anyone can sign up for a membership and get better deals on most of their groceries.
    • Besides groceries, you can also purchase well-priced, pre-made poke, salads, and cooked food. I regret not trying the poke while I was there, because it looked good and I found out later that it’s actually well rated!
    • On the second night in Hawaii, John and I purchased a bucket of fried chicken from Foodland that worked out to about $1 a piece. The batter stayed crunchy for days (upon reheating in the oven) and lasted us many meals, but the chicken was dry and overcooked to begin with. Still worth it for the savings!
    • We also purchased Maui Cattle Company steaks from Foodland (as well as other grocery stores). We grilled them on a BBQ instead of paying top dollar for them in the restaurants.
  8. Costco
    • Note: If you don’t have a membership, ask a friend that does to purchase Costco gift cards for you. You don’t need a membership to use the gift cards! If the gift card doesn’t cover your entire purchase, you can pay the balance with cash. 
    • In case you haven’t noticed, I am in love with Costco. Maui Costco was no exception. We purchased all sorts of groceries and souvenirs from Costco at the best prices on the island.
    • We went to Costco three times during our one week trip. We purchased poke, Maui Gold pineapples, Maui Ocean’s vodka, Mauna Loa macadamia nuts, fresh salad greens, Hawaiian coffee beans, etc.IMG_4218
  1. i’m going have to revisit this when I go to hawaii

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