Tucked between the strip malls along Kihei’s beaches is one of the best food trucks on Maui: the South Maui Fish Company. They prepare everything from their own fisherman’s catch using classic Hawaiian preparations of poke, fish tacos, and ceviche. The funky outdoor seating area is shielded from the drab parking lot with a tall bamboo fence and island music. It’s also close enough to the beach that you can take your lunch out to the rocks and watch the waves. Additionally, daily fresh fish is sold market style right from the truck.
The poke plate smartly separates the warm rice from the chilled fish, allowing them each to maintain ideal eating temperature. The rice is generously sprinkled with furikake and drizzled with a little bit of soy glaze. Cabbage slaw on the side is enhanced by pineapple and coconut milk.
Two types of ahi poke are offered, available as half-and-half. The spicy is very gently dressed with spicy mayonnaise (grocery store poke is always swimming in the stuff); raw jalapeños give it freshness and heat. It still isn’t quite spicy enough for us. Actually, we prefer the shoyu, which does not pretend to be spicy. It is pleasantly restrained in it’s sweetness and rich with sweet Maui onions.
The daily ceviche can be even better: choice cuts of fresh mahi mahi marinated in lime and coconut, with the occasional surprise chunk of purple yam for a texture change. They warned us that the small size was a much worse value than the large. This is true, but we still found the small to be plenty of food. Hawaiian portions run large, and ceviche can get tedious and acidic after too much. Ceviche changes based on the daily fresh catch. We are excited to come back and see what’s on the menu next time.
Fish tacos show off skillful grill work — on a backyard propane grill next to the rig. Generously apportioned mahi mahi in tacos is cooked perfectly — one of the few times we’ve had it in Hawaii where it isn’t overcooked. The shells are crunchy and smoky from crisping on the grill. They would have been excellent, if not for overdressing. The wetness of the coconut milk slaw makes tacos very messy and a bit too sweet. Still, they were the best fish tacos we had on Maui, and would have been unquestionably great with just a bit more restraint.