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Azeka Ribs, Maui Chips, POG, Hula Pie, Maui Gold Pineapple


Years ago, Bill Azeka opened a small market on South Kihei Road (in Kihei, of course) at a time when the roads were just packed sand.  Over time, the roads were paved, condos were erected and Azeka’s moved into new building — eventually Bill built a whole shopping center including a new building for his namesake market.  Beginning in 1976, the one constant was ribs.  Beef ribs.  Cut across the bone and only 1/4” thick.  Marinated in a sweet teriyaki sauce.  You took them home, to your condo or to the beach and barbequed them.  Incredible.

Bill had the foresight to buy the land on the mauka (mountain) side of South Kihei Road where he developed Azeka II Shopping Center.  When he retired, Azeka’s market was closed (the building is now occupied by Ace Hardware) but they retained the attached snack bar and continue to sell those famous ribs.  Their website claims that they use the same secret sauce (from Bill’s mom) — however, in my opinion, they don’t taste the same as the original ribs.  BTW, I have recipe at home for a marinate that is very close to the original.  It is also excellent on chicken.  Let me know if you would like a copy and I’ll try to find it when I get home.


Another Maui treat is the Kitch’n Cook’d brand potato chips made by the Maui Potato Chips Factory in Kahului, Maui.  They are sliced thick, cooked in small batches and lightly salted.  I know this is not health food but we can be good when we return to the mainland.  On Maui, we can cheat just a little.

There are many imitators but the photo at right shows the packaging for the original.  In fact, some years ago, Lay’s tried to copy not only the potato chip but the packaging.  Maui Potato chips sued and won — although Lay’s seemed to take their own sweet time to change their packaging.

BTW, try the taro chips sometime.  Taro is the root vegetable used to make poi.  You may turn your nose up at the poi but the taro chips are something special.


We need a beverage to go with our Azeka’s Ribs and Kitch’n Cook’d potato chips — so I’ll suggest an island favorite, POG.  POG stands for Passion fruit, Orange, Guava.  It’s tasty and refreshing — maybe not health food but not that bad either.  

On Maui, I seek out the POG (and milk) from Haleakala Dairy, owned by Haleakala Ranch, a socially conscious, active cattle ranch on the slopes of Halealaka (House of the Sun) on Maui.  According to my research, Haleakala Dairy originated POG although it has been copied by many other vendors.


For dessert, I suggest the Hula Pie from Kimo’s in Lahaina (or any of the T S Restaurants in Hawaii).  Warning: this is definitely NOT health food.  You may need approval from your cardiologist first.

Construction: they start with a crust made from the crushed cookie part of an Oreo.  Then the pie shell is filled with macadamia nut ice cream.  It is topped with hot fudge, crushed macadamia nuts plus a dollop of whipped cream.

The slices are huge — thus this is definitely a dessert to share with your ku`u ipo (Hawaiian for “sweetheart”).


Okay, if your cardiologist frowns on the Hula Pie then consider some wonderful Maui Gold Pineapple.  Available at the Farmer’s Market and grocery stores both in Hawaii and on the mainland, it is sweeter and less acidic than regular pineapple.  Let’s hope the pineapple industry on Maui can survive in competition with the growing of luxury condos.


Farewell to Maui:

On Thursday evening I return to Phoenix, arriving Friday morning.  It has been a wonderful vacation.  And one of the best aspects is the fact that I don’t have to go back to work next week.  Cool!  

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Life is good.

Aloha,
B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com