Part two of my “Tasting Paia” series takes me to Mana Foods and their new restaurant MAKA. I mean, one cannot talk about Paia without mentioning Mana foods, right? “Mana” in Hawaiian, according to Merriam-Webster, means the power of the elemental forces of nature embodied in an object or person.
With over 400 local vendors, Mana sells natural and organic products at probably the best prices you can find on Maui. I love the granola section at Mana! I probably go once a week to stock up on my favorite Blueberry granola, which my two daughters (ages 18 months and 2.5) love just as much as I do! Plus, I carry teas in my purse like most women carry lipstick and thankfully Mana has a variety of teas to add to my purse collection.
Keeping with the same concept as Mana of supplying consumers with local, organic food (right down to the spices)- MAKA is a raw food restaurant. (However, some food is heated above 118 degrees.) Maka can be defined as the following: raw, the beginning or start of something, and Maka can also be translated as underripe in regards to fruit or veggies.
Now, I am by far a vegetarian; I love medium-rare steak and crispy bacon! However, since I do love to explore different menus, I came to Maka with an open mind- although I did think I was going to eat lots of crunchy vegetables and tofu.
I must say though, I was highly impressed by the dishes I tried. It was hard to believe that all the savory dishes I had were meatless! According to Sha’anan, “The inspiration for the menu came from coconut and using a locally abundant resource. Once I stumbled upon the ‘Coconut Kefir Yogurt’ the floodgates opened for creative ingenuity. We use the Coconut Kefir yogurt we make across our menu. It’s in our waffle bread and in our ice creams and pies and it is even served as a Tsaziki side sauce.”
While I was there I tried their: Pau Hana juice, matcha latte, Kimchee Gazpacha, House Burger, Za’atar Roll, Kiave Chili, Kefir Pie Special, Waffle N’ Ice Cream and chocolate covered kale!
I absolutely love fresh squeezed juices and at only $6.95 for a 16ounce- yes, you read that right, 16 ounces of local and organic ingredients, this is an awesome deal! The Pau Hana was refreshing and light. If you are not a ginger fan, this is not the drink for you. Although, the sweetness of this drink takes the bite away from the ginger- the taste is still there. My husband is one of those people that does not like the taste of ginger, while I on the other hand, embrace it! The Matcha Latte tastes like a savory dessert to me. If you are a Matcha lover this is the drink for you!
My favorite dishes were the Kimchee Gazpacha, the Za’atar Roll, and the Waffle N’ Ice cream dish! The gazpacha was light and tasty. I have never had a kimchee gazpacha before so I thought it would be spicy like normal kim chee, but it was actually sweet. (This is one of the best things about MAKA- dishes that you do not normally see on menus.) The Za’atar roll, in my opinion, tasted like a dry wrapped salad but when dipped in the tsaziki sauce the roll was amazing! The two complimented each other very well. Not to mention the za’atar seasoning on the roll! I think I need a bottle of the seasoning for every day use. Do you see that amazing picture of their Waffle N’ Ice Cream? It tastes as amazing as it looks! This dish is not your “typical” ice cream it is made from kefir (about 60% of the menu is kefir based) so it was light and reminded me of frozen yogurt. The waffle was the best part. This is such a healthy alternative to sugar laden desserts with ingredients I can’t pronounce. Next time my daughters want to eat ice cream I will take them to Maka!
Their house burger came with the BEST kim-chee I have ever had! Chef Sha’anan explained that it took him awhile to get the recipe down, and I am glad he did. He mentioned that Mana foods sometimes sells it, so if you are ever in Mana and see it- get it! As a huge kim chee fan, this was by far one of my most favorite. Different then most, it was on the sweeter side as opposed to spicy. The kiawe chile was a hearty and savory dish.
Chef Sha’anan is a huge fan of durian so much so that he created a special pie made of durian, strawberry, and chocolate. If you have ever had durian, you know it has a distinctive smell and an acquired taste . The durian taste in the pie was subtle, so this is good for first-timers. Made from homemade probiotic-rich coconut kefir yogurt it almost reminded me of eating a cheesecake. Albeit, a healthier version!
The chocolate covered kale was a little to bitter for my taste buds, but then again, it was dark chocolate AND kale. Kale lovers: this is the dish for you.
I must say after all that food, I did NOT feel bloated or tired. In fact, all the “fresh goodness” made me feel a little energized. MAKA definitely carries over the same core values of Mana Foods into their restaurant. These are probably the BEST prices I have seen at a restaurant with local, organic ingredients. Looking for something different? Go to Paia and try it out. Your body will thank you later.
Mahalo to Chef Sha’anan for all his beautiful food creations I was able to experience. Everything is made in-house and his own recipes. I may not be a vegetarian, but I will be stopping by every time I am in Paia! I do love my juices, so I can’t wait to try them all!
MAKA is open Tuesday- Sunday from 10am-8pm. Closed on Mondays. Breakfast is served from 10am-4pm.