Top 5 best Poke on Maui

Are you a poke lover? Or are you not quite sure why I am talking about poking?

Poke (poke-ay) means “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces”. It consists of small chunks of raw marinated fish, very popular here in Hawaii. It typically is served as part of a ‘poke bowl’, sticky rice on the bottom with a few different types of marinated poke and seaweed salad on top.

What kind of fish? Most often it’s made with sashimi grade ahi (tuna), however you can also find shrimp, tako (octopus) or even non-fish varieties. Without a doubt, but favorite is the ahi poke.

I have heard poke is gaining in popularity along the West Coast, maybe you can get it where you live on the Mainland. Generally you either love it or hate it – kind of like with sushi and sashimi. Yes, many restaurants serve poke, but in case you are wondering…

Where do the locals get their poke on Maui?

All the locals I have asked say: Foodland. Seriously? Yes, while all the grocery stores (including Costco) have a poke bar (it’s just that wonderful), Foodland’s poke bar is the best. With 20+ varieties to choose from, don’t be shy to ask for a sample, you can get it with rice, or ask for a few small sample size containers to try different varieties. The price averages at $12/lb. In case you’re wondering, ‘shoyu’ is a local-style soy sauce.

Eskimo Candy is another local favorite, located in Kihei’s industrial part of town (across from Napa Auto Parts and Lokelani Intermediate School). They usually have four different types of poke. A poke bowl is around $13 and is quite filling. This is a small take-out place with limited indoor and outdoor seating, so get it to go.

Tamura’s Fine Wine and Liquor. What, what? Why would you buy your poke at a liquor specialty store? Not sure, but this is a chain store from Oahu with three locations on Maui: Tamura’s on Dairy Road in Kahului, a new store in Kihei on Lipoa (close to Fabiani’s) and one in Lahaina on Kupuohi Street.

Another favorite is the ‘Like Poke?’ food truck. There is a gravel parking lot with various food trucks across from the main Costco parking lot entrance. Just in case you don’t want your $1.50 Costco hotdog. Who knew, right?

Takamiya Market in Wailuku. This is the only one I have not been to myself. Though when talking to others about poke, this always comes out during the conversation. Takamiya is a ‘very local style place’, you will not find many tourists. One of their specialties is that they make poke to order.

As always when eating raw fish, it is best to eat it right away and not to let it sit (especially in a hot car). You definitely don’t want to get sick on vacation.

Any other ideas for a “Top 5” list? Let us know in the comments!