On Maui, the art of perfecting banana bread should be featured on cooking shows. I can just imagine the little aunties battling it out for the ability to craft the perfectly sweet, mushy (but not too soft), breads that force you to eat, and eat, and eat until the bread is a memory and you are motoring back to that stand, or truck, for just one more fix.
This is me in Maui. And even worse, now my kids, and my husband have joined in the fun. And while we are like the Finding Nemo seagulls, barking, “Mine Mine Mine,” we still have to share.
So how do we deal? On our last trip, we bought a loaf from every single person who crossed our paths hawking their brand of deliciousness, gobbling the bread up before we came upon the next stop. Don’t even get me started on how much weight I gained researching guidebooks to Hawaii. That’s another kinda blog entirely. However, I can get started on where, and how, to find the best banana bread on Maui.
In Kahului at Maui Community College on Saturday mornings, head over to the Maui Swap Meet. Flatbed trucks are packed with more crap than you care to rummage through, but the array of banana bread–macadamia nut, mango, nutty, and coconut–will fill you up for a whole day!
On the west side, Kihei’s 808 Bistro is a local secret. Known primarily for dinners of short rib potpies, but they have started serving breakfast. And guess what’s on the menu? Banana bread French toast. It’s blow your mind delicious.
You have to work hard to get to the next spot, which some claim has the best banana bread in the world. On the white-knuckle Kahekili Highway, pass Kakakuloa Head, a volcanic rock that reaches high over the sea, and wind into Kakakuloa village. Where you’ll find the real star attraction: Julia’s green banana bread shack. This little speck on a map is legendary for Hawaiians and adventurous visitors. And she gives samples.
Real fans of fruity bread, just have to brave the Hana Highway with an empty belly. The first stop sneaks up on you and is in Ke’anae, a small rainy township on the ocean side of the highway. Head downhill to Ke’anae Landing Fruit Stand, which has a fierce collection of devotees on the banana bread circuit.
Back up on Hana Highway is the Halfway to Hana fruit stand a tempting choice for tasty banana bread that is simply ono, especially for people not wanting to veer off the main road on the way to the pristine Hana village and beyond.
However, my favorite place to score banana bread is just a few steps past Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park (which is a half-mile beyond mile marker 22). Dave’s banana bread is hawked from the rear of a flatbed truck. And mark my words, buy it all. It’s that good.
Do you have a favorite place to buy banana bread in Hawaii?
Or better yet, do you have a fantastic recipe to share?
Contest Alert: Send your banana bread recipes to me via my Facebook author page. Whoever sends the best one (judged by my family), will receive a free signed copy of my new Backroads and Byways of Hawaii book, due out in early November. Deadline for entries is November 1, 2013.