From pineapple turnovers to sushi you'll never forget—this stretch of Maui has more great food per mile than any other in Hawaii
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Meet the malasada
Start with a happily Hawaiian multicultural breakfast: Maui's best hot malasadas and Japan-meets-U.S. teriyaki Spam musubi at Home Maid Bakery, a half-century-old institution. Cheerful tutus (Hawaiian for "grandmas") in colorful floral aprons work the registers, and if the array of manju and mochi seems confusing, they'll happily help you figure it out. $; 1005 Lower Main St., Wailuku;homemaidbakery.com.
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Each Hawaiian island has its favorite noodle palace. Sam Sato's, in business since 1933, is Maui's. The noodle-minded can order saimin or chow fun. But it would be criminal to overlook the pineapple turnovers. $; 1750 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku; 808/244-7124.
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Best of the food trucks
Hawaii had lunch wagons long before today's Mainland food truck craze. Two of the tastiest park at this harborside spot: Geste Shrimp($$;gesteshrimp.com) cooks fresh shrimp four ways—Lemon Pepper is the star. Kalama's Local Grinds($; 808/264-4462) serves chicken katsu that locals consider the best on Maui. On Kahului Beach Rd. near Wahinepio Ave., Kahului.
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Fresh from the field
Teena and Chauncy Monden of Kula Country Farms are the fourth generation farming these Haleakala slopes. While they're renowned for strawberries (and shakes and desserts made from them), don't pass up the fresh citrus and produce grown by Kula and other area farms. The mountainside view is a bonus. $; on Kula Hwy., past milepost 13 and across from Rice Park, Kula;kulacountryfarmsmaui.com.
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Time to caffeinate
Mountain bikers and local cowboys have been clinking coffee mugs at Grandma's Coffee House for 25 years. The Franco family grows their own beans and loads them in the 100-year-old roaster you'll see. Accompany your latte with some of Grandma's stellar baked goods—the sweet, chewy pineapple-coconut bars are worth the ride all by themselves. $; 9232 Kula Hwy., Keokea;grandmascoffee.com.
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No ordinary burger
Open the car windows: Those are elk burgers you smell, cooking on a kiawe wood-smoked grill. The only elk herd in Hawaii is raised here on 18,000-acre 'Ulupalakua Ranch(on Kula Hwy., 5.2 miles past Grandma's;ulupalakuaranch.com). Chow down at the ranch store ($), then cross the road to Maui's Winery(mauiwine.com) to sample pineapple wine—or try the more traditional Riesling-ish Upcountry Gold.
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In March and April, Upcountry Maui is a feast for eyes as well as taste buds. That periwinkle haze you experience on the drive through Kula is spring's annual explosion of jacaranda blossoms. For even more floral abundance, visit the 8-acre Kula Botanical Garden, which showcases orchids, proteas (pictured), and other subtropical blooms. $10; 638 Kekaulike Ave., Kula;kulabotanicalgarden.com.
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Drink in the culture
Take a break from food for art and architecture at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center. Noted architect C.W. Dickey designed this imposing mansion, Kaluanui, in 1917 for Ethel Baldwin, wife of a wealthy sugarcane plantation manager. Now its rooms house works by contemporary Hawaiian artists. 2841 Baldwin Ave., Makawao;huinoeau.com.
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Sushi and tunes
It's hard to find. It occupies a rundown house with a funky screened-in porch. The service tends to run on island time. You won't care after you take your first bite at Wayne's Sushi Bar. Wayne's jokey menu names—Book 'Em Danno combines shrimp tempura, asparagus, and spicy aioli—grace what may be the best sushi rolls you've ever eaten. There's also karaoke... up to you. $$; 824 Kokomo Rd., Ha'iku;waynessushi.com.
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The setting is nondescript strip mall. But the interior of Colleen's at the Cannery is light-filled and surprisingly elegant. And the Maui-sourced food is informal but sophisticated: mahimahi ceviche, shrimp and garlic linguine, plus superior burgers—island beef and local ono and ahi, all garnished with local organic greens. Good selection of Hawaiian beers too. $$; Cannery Marketplace, 810 Ha'iku Rd., Ha'iku;colleensinhaiku.com.