Maui Sweet Spots



Preparing for a Maui vacation requires discipline. With the tropical sun beckoning from a sandy shore a few months in the future, visits to the gym become imperative; your beach body won’t be sculpted on its own. Maybe you actually go. Or maybe you agonize about not going. Either way, it’s hard work. Once your airplane touches down at Kahului airport, it no longer matters. You’ve put in your time. You deserve a treat.

Luckily, Maui has quite a few sweet temptations. There are sugar-covered day starters, icy afternoon pick me ups and after dinner sweet tooth satisfiers. These aren’t just your usual cupcakes and ice cream cones, either. They reflect the local population’s wide mix of ethnic backgrounds and feature the tropical fruits grown on the island. You have no excuse not to try at least one. Or two. Or all. After all, you’re on vacation.

Komoda Bakery

Family owned and operated for almost a century, locals and visitors alike flock to Komoda Bakery. Their cream puffs, with their fluffy exterior and sweet, egg custard interior, are legendary. So are their stick doughnuts. Plucking apart the five skewered donut holes fused together by a sugary glaze and eating them one by one is incredibly satisfying. Portuguese malasadas (essentially doughnuts with no hole covered in granulated sugar) come with tropical fruit fillings like guava.

Komoda’s is so popular that they often run out of their most popular offerings, sometimes even their whole daily stock. Go early or call to reserve your batch. The bakery sometimes closes for weeks at a time while the family is on vacation, so calling ahead is a good idea regardless.

3674 Baldwin Avenue, Makawao
7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., closed Sundays and Wednesdays
(808) 572-7261

Julia’s Best Banana Bread

An oasis of homemade goodies awaits travelers during their journey around the “back side” of West Maui on Kahekili Highway (Highway Route 340). It is a harrowing yet scenic drive, full hairpin turns and ocean views from the top of precipitous cliffs. About a third of the way from Kapalua to Kahului, nestled in the tiny village of Kahakuloa, Julia’s Best Banana Bread is a tasty reward to sooth your nerves. The fresh-baked banana bread with delicate hints of caramel flavor is some of the best you will ever eat. Other local goodies like coconut candy nuggets, taro chips, pineapple jelly and liliko’i (passion fruit) butter spread are also available for purchase.

7465 Kahekili Highway, Kahakuloa
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. or until sold out, every day

Homemaid Bakery

Homemaid Bakery opened in 1960 with the goal to make delicious treats created from the highest quality ingredients at the lowest possible price. Over 40 years later, the bakery is still going strong and still running under the same philosophy. While they sell bakery standards like cookies and cakes, they are particularly well known for their Japanese treats. Their bun-shaped crispy manju is like a mini pie, with sweet fillings surrounded by flaky, buttery crusts. Their mochi, a sticky dessert made from pounded rice, comes plain or filled with peanut butter, coconut or sweet azuki bean. Chi chi dango, a mochi variation made with coconut milk, is also highly recommended.

1005 Lower Main Street, Wailuku
5:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., every day
(808) 244-7015

Tasaka Guri-Guri

Guri GuriGuri-guri is part sherbet, part ice cream and all delicious. The exact recipe of the frozen dessert sold by Tasaka Guri-Guri at Maui Mall has been a closely-guarded family secret for over a century. But their product is certainly well known. Some locals stop in daily. Tourists come to try a sweet treat available nowhere else on earth. Even Bill Clinton tried a scoop when he visited the island. Available by the scoop or by the quart in pineapple or strawberry flavors, guri-guri also qualifies as a cheap eat. Two scoops cost $1.20.

70 E Kaahumanu Avenue, Kahului
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., closed Sundays
(808) 871-4513

Ono Gelato

What started out as a Paia pick-me-up is now an island sensation. At each of its three locations, Ono Gelato offers delicious gelato made on Maui with the freshest of ingredients. The owners have said that they find the local produce on Maui inspiring, and you can tell. The fruit flavors like mango, papaya and pineapple burst with flavor and are refreshing during a hot day. Traditional flavors really are traditional – the pistachios and hazelnuts are imported from Italy. The rich, creamy chocolate, coffee and peanut butter are all perfect as an after dinner treat.

1280 South Kihei Road, Kihei
10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., every day
(808) 495-0287

815 Front Street, Lahaina
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., every day
(808) 495-0203

115 Hana Highway, Paia
11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., every day
(808) 579-9201

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

In the small town of Olowalu, just a blip on Honoapi’ilani Highway about halfway between Wailuku and Lahaina, lies a restaurant with big flavors. Everything that comes out of the kitchen at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, from the salads to the sandwiches, is expertly crafted with locally-sourced ingredients. Their savory menu is phenomenal, but the sweets really take the cake. Little tins filled with key lime or chocolate cream and tart shells filled with lemon and mango burst with taste. Try to get a group together so you can sample as many varieties as possible.

820 Olowalu Village Road, Honoapi’ilani Highway, Olowalu
10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., every day
(808) 662-3600

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Ululani'sShave ice is similar to a snow cone in that it is constructed with ice and flavored syrups, but the consistency of shave ice smoother. The ice is shaved so fine that it literally melts in your mouth. All shave ice is good, and it is sold all over Maui, but the queen of the islanda, perhaps the entire state or even the world is Ululani’s. What sets them apart is their syrups. Ululani’s makes their own. Artificial flavors that taste like distilled Jolly Ranchers are replaced with syrups that actually taste like the fruits they’re named after. All their flavors in all their combinations are pure heaven, especially with ice cream on the bottom. If you go for one dessert on Maui, this is the one.

790 Front Street, Lahaina
11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., every day
(360) 606-2745

819 Front Street, Lahaina
11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., every day
(360) 606-2745

333 Dairy Road, Kahului
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., every day
(360) 606-2745

61 South Kihei Road, Kihei
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., every day
(360) 606-2745

Photo credit: all photos by author