Sticker shock warning! Eating half-way decently on the island of Maui is expensive indeed. If you can find a good value anywhere on the islands for anything, not just food, you’d be a lucky soul! Food products in the markets are mind-blowing, outrageously high priced. However, dining on local traditional Hawaiian food is one way to get around a little more affordably.
When my husband and I visit Hawaii we carefully watch what we spend on one of our most enjoyable travel activities: eating the local foods, whether in a restaurant or in a mini-kitchen! We spend our first morning noshing on a tropical breakfast of macadamia nut and banana pancakes with coconut syrup. Fresh guava juice and hot kona coffee top it all off! Greeting the morning by dining al fresco while overlooking the beautiful Napili Bay with Molokai and Lanai islands in the horizon is a perfect morning aloha moment!
With full tummies, we jet straight to the market to shop for groceries. Bringing along our store bonus cards helps us save at least 10%. After all, every little bit helps when eating in paradise!
To eat a bit more inexpensively, eating the native cuisine is a great option! Besides saving some dough, the food is authentic in tradition and local ingredients. Hawaiian cuisine is not only unique, it is also comfort food reflecting how the local natives create delicious foods out of inexpensive ingredients. Native Hawaiians have figured out how to defy the expense of foods marketed to tourists and the wealthy new residents. Long before food trucks became trendy on the mainland, they thrived on the islands delivering fast, cheap and filling ‘plate lunches’, shave ice, and other tropical specialities.
One super “ono” (delicious) Hawaiian food is Manapua, tender steamed breads stuffed with a Chinese BBQ or roast pork filling. Manapua can also be prepared with beef pot roast which is my husband’s preference or with vegetables for those who prefer not to eat meat. Steaming versus baking is another element that makes this dish so unusual too. The texture is perfectly soft, fluffy and tender!
To prepare bun dough
To prepare filling
To stuff and steam buns
Here is the recipe for the Char Sui Chinese BBQ Pork Filling:
For a complete step-by-step photo series on how to prepare Hawaiian Char Siu Manapua, click on this link.