(UPDATED JUNE, 2019)
Noodle dishes and bowls come in all shapes and sizes. While Oahu may have some of the best ramen restaurants in the world, Maui definitely doesn’t. But ramen isn’t the only noodle dish in town. Maui does have excellent saimin, a local noodle soup, a bit like ramen, with a simple, cleaner broth. You can find saimin at most “local” food joints. Maui also has good Thai and Vietnamese food, if you know where to look. Finally, Maui features the single best dry mein noodles in the state. Some of our favorite places are off the beaten path, but if you seek them out, you’ll be rewarded.
- Star Noodle (Lahaina)
Because of its fantastic food, fair prices, west side location and national buzz, Star Noodle has quickly risen to the top of the tourist food destination list on Maui. If you dismiss it because it’s too trendy, you would be making a big mistake. Our two favorite noodle dishes are the Singapore Noodles, a spicy, curry noodle dish with lots of shrimp and chicken and the simple, yet flavorful garlic noodles. No matter what time you go, we recommend you make reservations. (Star Noodle)
- Sam Sato’s (Wailuku)
The best single noodle dish on Maui is Sam Sato’s dry mein. Though it’s served in a ramen bowl, it’s called “dry” because the saimin noodles are presented with no broth. The noodles are combined with a mixture of shoyu (soy sauce), oil, spices, char siu (pork), sprouts and green onions. No matter what time you go to Sam Sato’s, you’ll probably run into a line. They are only open from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM. (Sam Sato)
- Nutcharee’s Authentic Thai Food (Kihei)
Tucked away into a corner of Azeka Shopping Center in Kihei, for our money, Nutcharee’s is not only the best Thai food on Maui, it’s the best Thai food in all of Hawaii (Nuang Mai Thai Kitchen in Hilo is our other favorite place). The pad thai here is fantastic, as are the curries, but for a starter or small main course, we highly recommend the Fried Fish with Green Mango Salad. The fish is fried crisp and the mango salad has a hint of spice that really plays well against the sweetness of the mango. Either get there when they open at 5:00, or make a reservation because this joint fills up fast. (Nutcharee’s Authentic Thai Food)
- Thai Mee Up (Kahului)
This food truck, open for lunch M – F across from Costco, makes simple, yet delicious pad thai. Though this article is about noodles, we would be remiss not to mention the panang curry with either chicken or shrimp. It’s really good. The owner/chef Tom Sribura cooked at Mama’s Fish House for 20 years before he ventured out on his own. Thai Mee Up was featured on the hit Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”. (Thai Mee Up)
- Matsu Restaurant (Kahului)
Serving authentic Japanese food from what is, ostensibly, a double-wide trailer, Matsu may not look like much, but the food is spot on. For noodles, we absolutely love the tempura udon. The noodles are nice and thick, the broth light and flavorful and the tempura shrimp is perfectly crisp. A favorite amongst locals for over 30 years, we’re starting to see more visitors, especially from the nearby cruise ship. (Matsu Restaurant)
By the way, did you know that you can now save $10/person on our Maui Princess Dinner Cruise or a Snorkel Adventure to the island of Lanai? Well you can! Just use the promo code VIP20 after clicking on this link: Hawaii Ocean Project Adventures.