Geste Shrimp Truck is regarded as Maui’s best food truck. We would argue that it’s more than that. It’s Maui’s best plate lunch of any sort. Its genius rests on its simplicity: plump butterflied shrimp sautéed in flavorful sauces served with rice and crabby mac salad.
The truck is itself a destination, isolated on a roadside near the Kahului harbor. It offers no seating except for some bamboo mats to picnic on. The views of the harbor and highway are some of the least inspiring in Maui, but eating on the grass under a tree is fairly serene anyway. Besides, you can easily take this styrofoam-wrapped feast to any number of beautiful beaches just a short drive away.
Our favorite variation on the shrimp is the house specialty, Hawaiian scampi. This is a garlicky preparation, but not overpoweringly so. Most of what you taste is fresh, tender shrimp. The dozen of them that come in the plate lunch might not sound like a gut-busting portion, but these are large shrimp, easily U-20 or bigger, so you’re talking more than half a pound. The spicy pineapple version wasn’t a lesser twist, only a more flavorful one, with a sweet and hot sauce and pineapple tidbits. The delicious sauce is nice with the rice, but it masks the shrimp’s purity.
One common complaint about these juicy, saucy wonders is that they are messy to eat, and we did witness some people ruining their shirts. Our solution: just eat them shell-on. It won’t hurt you. If you can’t stand the thought, then just surrender to a messy meal, and scrub up afterwards.
Perfectly cooked shrimp and rice don’t need much help, but Geste also happens to serve some of the best mac salad on Maui. It’s a gently dressed scoop with almost equal parts krazy krab to pasta. The imitation crab is better thought of as what it is, a shredded fish cake, then as anything having to do with shellfish. This krab adds as much in fishy flavor as it does in binding power, giving the salad a casserole stiffness. A half-pound of shrimp, two scoops of rice and one dense ball of mac later, and we’re full till past sunset.
If you don’t want to carry this kind of weight into the surf, the shrimp may be ordered as a pupu (just shrimp over cabbage). The pupu version is the recommended way to share a delicious snack during a big day of road eats, but we’d still encourage you to try a scoop of the superb crab mac salad on the side. It’s worth the bloat.