One of the best things to do in Maui is to leave the comfort of the resorts
Are you visiting Maui? Are you staying at a resort? While the resorts have all the creature comforts of shops and restaurants within walking distance, as someone who has been able to visit this beautiful island a few times, I urge you to go off the beaten path, go for a hike in the mountains, watch the surfers in Paia, go to the swap meet, and support local businesses.
My husband and I are here celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. This is the first trip we’ve taken without the kids and making time to do all the things we have wanted to do: paddleboarding, snorkeling, hiking a moderately difficult terrain, go on a brewery tour, do all the fun things that are more difficult when shepherding young children.
'Ula ’Ula means red and that fits this permanently parked red food truck with the best pork tacos I have ever tasted. We saw signs for the Ula’ula cafe on our way to the Waihee Ridge Trail. We saw that they offered breakfast and lunch. We would have stopped on the way for breakfast, but we already had a late start and didn’t make it to the trail until after 10:30am. We had to satisfy our breakfast cravings with a spam musubi from a nearby gas station. Still pretty darn yummy.
After a tiring hike on the slippery trail of the beautiful Waihee Ridge Trail, we were ready for lunch. We remembered the cafe on the side of the road and stopped for some yummy food. We were not disappointed. The red food truck offered quite the menu and we had a hard time deciding the best food to try. We wanted to try it all!
Not realizing that an order of pork tacos was actually three tacos and not one, my husband asked for two orders plus we got the grilled cajun fresh fish meal to split. We were pleasantly surprised by the large order of tacos. They hit the spot after two hours of hiking. The pork tacos were accompanied by sour cream and salsa. It didn’t look like it was a regular menu item, so it was our good fortune to come on a day that they had it on the menu. One of the locals came by while we were there and said, “I heard you had pork tacos today!” He was not disappointed and walked away happily with his order of tacos.
The fish of the day was grilled cajun Mahi with papaya salsa. I am not usually a fan of papaya, but this was delicious. We ate every bite. The fish sat atop a bed of white rice and was accompanied by a salad made with local farm greens, tomato, swiss chard, kale, carrot, cabbage, balsamic vinaigrette, and feta cheese with balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side. The fish was so fresh and delicious. We enjoyed our meal at one of the picnic tables set out for customers.
My husband also ordered a fresh fruit smoothie. If we ever make it back to Waihee, we are going to try the macadamia nut smoothie.
Before we left, I ordered their acaí bowl. It was topped with bananas, papaya, crushed macadamia nut, and granola. Seriously delicious. If it weren’t for the flags and the big sign on the side of the road on the way to Waihee Ridge Trail, we would have missed it and we would have missed out on some delicious local cuisine.
We weren’t the only hikers who stopped. It’s a great location for tired hikers who are ravenous after their long, steep trek on the Waihee Ridge Trail. 'Ula ’Ula Cafe is a must stop for anyone in the Waihee region. Look for the red food truck at 1765 Kahekili Hwy Wailuku, HI 96793. You will not be disappointed! They are open 9am to 3pm Monday through Saturday. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite place to eat in Maui? Let me know in the comments!