Paia is a hippy-cool surf town on Maui’s North Shore and gateway to the treacherous and gorgeous Road to Hana. Despite the historic sugar-plantation village having too many schlocky t-shirt shops, it’s well worth a stop. Not just for the surf, but for Tobi’s. A surfer friend described Tobi’s as the perfect stop for refueling after a day on big waves.
Tobi’s Shave Ice is named for Hawaii’s favorite frozen treat, and it’s good stuff, served in portions the size of a snowman’s noggin with a wide range of tasty syrup options. But it’s poke that makes it worth a visit.
Tobi’s poke is good because it’s cut and sauced to order. Many roadside poke joints on Maui make their poke in big batches and scoop it out throughout the day — a batch method that can lead to over-marinated and a fishy taste. Tobi’s is outstanding because it is cut and sauced to order. It can be enjoyed as a plate over rice or just by the pound as a snack.
It is available in such unusually robust flavors as a nose pinching wasabi-shoyu and a signature “suicide” poke. We thought the latter was named so for its intense heat, but not so. It’s called suicide because the ahi is loaded with every thing they’ve got: tobiko (flying fish roe), onions, shoyu, furikake, and spicy mayo all tossed with the fish. It’s a flavor bomb, but not so overbearing that the choice cuts of tuna get muddled.
After a rich, salty poke nothing refreshes like a shave ice, which is really the genius of this surf side snack bar. We stuck with tropical flavors: the classic POG (passion, orange and guava) and the Haleakala Sunrise, which combines guava, mango, and pineapple. Both are fair renditions, improved with mochi topping buried in the middle for textural variety. Azuki beans and cream also are available for fillings.
Roadtrippers remember, this is the last stop on the Hana Highway for killer poke and the best place to eat for many a winding mile.