Hello Friends and Family,

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Maui Fair Food Court

One of the features of every County and State Fair is the culinary delights known as "fair food". It should come as no surprise that fair food on Maui is a bit different than that on the mainland.

The Hawai`ian Plate is probably kalua pork (in the style of pig roasted in an imu, an underground oven), lomi lomi salmon (raw or smoked salmon, Maui onions and diced tomatoes), chicken long rice (chicken chunks, cellophane noodles, green onions and ginger) plus two scoops of white rice. Ono (good tasting)!

Here's one of my favorites — Chow Fun — noodles, some shreds of pork, a few bits of vegetables. Everyone on Maui loves the County Fair Chow Fun. In fact, if you want to meet your friends at the fair, you generally set a time to meet at the Chow Fun booth. Don't be late.

So much available at this booth. Poke is marinated raw `ahi (yellowfin tuna) with a small amount of soy sauce and sesame oil, perhaps some limu (seaweed) and chopped chili pepper.

Boiled peanuts tend to be popular in the Southern U.S. where peanuts are grown. A bit surprising to find them here.

Kalbi ribs are the Hawai`ian take on Korean ribs — beef ribs are cut across the bone with the meat still attached, each slab about a 1/2 inch thick. They are marinated in a sweet soy and ginger sauce then barbecued. They are absolutely delicious. I have a recipe for the marinate if anyone wants to give it a try.


Pronto Pups are decidedly mainland but not so Chicken Hekka. The latter is a kind of stir-fry using sugar, soy sauce and mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) as the sauce. Add some veggies and you have a complete plate.

Adobo is the Philippines' national dish — and is typically a stew with pork and chicken in a sauce of white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and peppercorns.

Lumpia is a filling (in this case banana) placed in a thin wrapper and deep fat fried. It is another Filipino dish. The type I have tried was more like a Chinese egg roll — but I'll bet the banana lumpia is superb.

I confess to never trying Dinardaraan — but a Google search tells me it is "a Filipino savory stew of blood and meat simmered in a rich, spicy gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar". I am usually willing to try any food one time — I guess I'll have to try it the next time I visit the Maui Fair.

Pinakbet is also unfamiliar to me and Google found this — "This is an acquired taste type of dish. If you like fish sauce or bagoong (fermented shrimp paste), ginger, garlic, chopped pork loin, bittermelon, Japanese eggplant, Thai eggplant, long beans, pumpkin, and tomatoes all simmered together in a deep frying pan, then this dish is for you. It's very healthy and satisfying for veggie lovers like myself." Another one for the bucket list.


Nachos? I never think of Maui (or Hawai`i, for that matter) having much of a population of Mexican ancestry. But here are the nachos for those who find the other ethnic foods too exotic.

And Italians? I don't recall too many of these folks either. Well, at least mainland tourists will be able to find some foods with which they are familiar.

Unfortunately, I am a stranger to Puerto Rican food. A Google search tells me that it is "somewhat similar to both Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisine, [and] is a unique tasty blend of Spanish, African, TaĆ­no, and American influences, using such indigenous seasonings and ingredients as coriander, papaya, cacao, nispero, apio, plantains, and yampee".

Time for dessert — malasadas! They are similar to donut holes, deep-fat fried then coated with fine granulated sugar. The ones from this booth are fresh and hot and oh so delicious. I can taste them now.

In the middle of the Food Court is a large tent filled with picnic tables. When a family comes to the Fair, they tend to split up to visit each individual's favorite food booths then meet back at the tent — to "talk story" and share food.

Every time I visit the Fair, I look for and usually find my old friend Papo. His wife works in the trailer office for one of the churches that has several booths selling soda. Papo hangs around providing a bit of security for the ladies as they count the money — thus he is generally easy to find. We became friends when I lived on Maui back in the mid-1980s and this is our time to catch up on what's been happening since the last visit. So if you visit the Fair in the future, look for him and tell him I said "Aloha".

To be continued…

Life is good.

B. David

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