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Food + Drink

Maui in Five Meals According to Hawaiian Star Chef Sheldon Simeon

What does the perfect day of eating on Maui look like? Jetsetter editor Lindsey Olander sat down with local star chef Sheldon Simeon to find out.

Senior Editor, Jetsetter | @lindseytravels |

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You could say Hilo-born, Maui-based chef Sheldon Simeon knows a thing or two about Hawaiian cuisine. His soulful, local cooking rocketed him into culinary stardom—he’s now a two-time Top Chef finalist and host of Eater’s Cooking in America series—but he ardently sticks to his roots (and his home island), finding creative ways to dish up his Hawaiian cooking heritage at family-run restaurant Tin Roof with another, Lineage, on the way.

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We caught up with Simeon during the first-annual Fire It Up! event at the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort and asked him the burning question—what are his favorite restaurants on Maui? His answers stay (unsurprisingly) hyper local. Below, his ideal day of eating on the island.

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Breakfast: Slappy Cakes

“My wife and I and our four kids love to go to Slappy Cakes, in Lahaina. You get to make your own pancakes—it’s pretty hilarious. They give the kids squeeze bottles and you get to draw faces and designs right at the table, which is fun, but the food is really good, too. They serve this braised pork belly with eggs and candied bacon…wow. The restaurant is fairly new but worked its way into our community very nicely.”

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Lunch: Thai Mee Up

“For lunch, I choose the Thai Mee Up food truck in Kahului, close to the airport. It’s the perfect place to go for a plate or bowl of good, down-home grub. My favorite is their Thai-style shrimp, which comes twice-fried with lots of lemongrass and ginger. It packs in a lot of good flavors. They also always have fresh fish available. [The crew is] doing a good job over there—they’re young and rocking the homestyle thing.”

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Snacks: Tamura’s Fine Wine and Liquors

“If you’re still hungry and looking for something quick and easy, stop by Tamura’s Fine Spirits and Wine and poke shop. They have locations everywhere, including Lahaina and Kihei. You can get your beer and pupus at the same time.”

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Drinks: L’AVA’s Sportsbar & Karaoke

L’AVA’s, a dive bar in Wailuku, serves the coldest beers in town. The menu is super casual—just beer and shots—but the food is amazing. The owner/chef Quinton Yoza worked in Japan for a long time, so he makes things like fried kamas, local-style pizzas, and sashimi and sushi. Everyone usually orders up an appetizer for the table and picks at it. Super fun.”

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Dinner: Ka’ana Kitchen at Andaz Maui at Wailea

“Not that everyone else [on Maui] isn’t keeping it local, but I love how Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz uses ingredients with a local mindset when it comes to putting flavors on a plate. The team there is really inspired by the island’s surroundings, and source almost everything from local farmers and fishermen. Each dish tells a story of Hawaiian flavors and cooking traditions. I don’t know if it’s still on the menu, but they used to have this abalone risotto that was beyond delicious.”

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