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Star Noodle
Opened in 2010 by Big Island native and Top Chef alum Sheldon Simeon, this noodle shop zips up and down the East Asian coastline for inspiration. The Hot n Sour – chewy egg noodles swimming in a tangy chili-lime dashi – is infused with campfire flavours, thanks to the smoked prosciutto, while chef Simeon's Garlic Noodles, a tangle of thin noodles spiked with both fresh and crispy-fried garlic, really flip when you order 'em the way the staff likes 'em: with bacon and sliced alii oyster mushrooms from the Big Island.

MonkeyPod's Poketrio MonkeyPod's Poketrio (Photo by Angela Terry)

MonkeyPod Kitchen
It's no surprise that you'll find saimin, Hawaii's unofficial national dish, on the menu at Peter Merriman's vibrant eatery. One of the founding chefs of Hawaii's regional cuisine, Merriman twists this traditional mashup of plantation-era ethnic cuisines – Chinese wheat noodles, Japanese broth, Portuguese linguiça sausage, plus nods to Korea and the Philippines – by tossing in green beans, broccoli, mint and Thai-inspired crunchy peanuts. The classic Spam cubes bow out in favour of slow-cooked Hawaiian kalua pork, contributing a nice thread of saltiness to the complex miso-chicken-dashi-pork broth.

Sam Sato's, Inc.
At this family-run diner, opened in 1933, Wailuku families congregate around Formica tables to chow down on cheap bowls of Sam's legendary dry noodles. The deceptively simple fry-up – topped with green onions, bean sprouts and Chinese barbecue pork – put the nearby Iwamoto noodle factory on the map. (MonkeyPod also namechecks Iwamoto on its menu.) The fresh saimin noodles come with a side of hot mustard and a small bowl of broth, perfect for dunking. But trust your waitress; the best flavour comes from eating them dry. Use the broth to wash it all down at the end.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar
Count on a lineup at chef DK Kodama's best-of-the-island sushi joint. While the throngs queue up for local catch like opakapaka and butterfish, noodles aren't relegated to second fiddle. Sansei's shichimi-crusted filet of beef with udon is one of the best noodle dishes around. Tender sliced steak tossed with spinach, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and Japanese wheat-flour noodles gets a French-Italian twist from a garlic demi-glace sauce and a topping of grated Romano cheese.

Da Kitchen's Kalua pork bowlDa Kitchen's Kalua pork bowl

Da Kitchen Café
Noodles aren't solely an Asian phenomenon. Christopher Columbus made sure of that 500 years ago. Creamy macaroni salad, an American-via-Italy classic, is a staple of Hawaii's bento-inspired plate lunch. Chilled-out Da Kitchen Café serves up classic luau food without the tiki torches. Order a plate lunch of kalua pork, and tuck into the comforting mix – no mere side dish – of elbow macaroni, shredded carrots and Da Kitchen's secret weapon: soft cubes of melty potato. If you're heading to the airport (two minutes away), order additional macaroni salads to go and bid Maui a final aloha.



Getting There

Air Canada offers nonstop service from Calgary and Vancouver to Maui.

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