MAUI DIRT: Plate Lunch
Probably the most common dish on Maui that is authentically Hawaiian is what they call plate lunch: a scoop of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a protein of your choice, which they say is what the workers in the sugar cane fields would eat for their lunches during Hawaii's initial cultural inundation from the east and the west. Plate lunch could be seen as a symbol of that diversity, and of Hawaii as a whole, but it has continued to be popular because it's just such good eatings. Hawaiians love plate lunch so much that a pretty cool local clothing line named themselves after the dish.
Maui's food truck game is heavy, and they've pretty much perfected the art of the plate lunch. That being said, not all plate lunch is created equal, so when our bartender one evening told us, "Drive down past the Iron Horse Saloon in Wailuku to down by the water where all the guys set up to serve lunch," we had to check it out. Her directions were spot on, and it ended up being the best meal we had on the island.
Parked alongside Hwy. 340 at the Kahului Harbor, we found three food trucks, and decided to order plates from both 808 Plates Maui and Geste Shrimp Truck. At 808 Plates, we got a wasabi glazed chicken katsu with a side of poke instead of pasta salad, and then a spicy pineapple shrimp with a side of crab-mac salad. Ugh... Writing this is making me hungry.
I'm not really into describing the mouthfeel and all that jazz, but damn, it was gooood. The crab mac almost stole the show but chomping down that spicy shrimp was just too good. I love wasabi and that katsu hit me just right; the poke was fresh and meaty. If you're on the island, please do yourself a favor and get yourself some plate lunch "down past the Iron Horse Saloon in Wailuku" (check out the links to their Yelp! pages for more specific directions).
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