My family and I found yourself dining in at Poi By The Pound restaurant the other day. It had been almost a year since we last ate there, having eaten at this restaurant for the first time the night of my father’s funeral services. It turns out we were back there again because we had scattered my dad’s ashes a day before and my cousin who was visiting for that event was craving some ‘ono (means delicious in Hawaiian) grinds. I’ve eaten a few select things from Poi By The Pound before, but there was little on the menu I have tried, so I was eager to taste some of their popular menu items. Most of the reviews on Yelp and Google were very positive so I decided I would order a few things I saw mentioned in those reviews and test them out for myself.
Poi By The Pound is just 5 short minutes away from the Kahului Airport so it’s perfect for stopping off when you land on Maui or on while on your way to your next destination. They are open 7 days a week and they take walk-ins which is great. If you have a party of 6 or more, I definitely suggest calling ahead to make a reservation. Whether it is dine-in, take-out or catering, they have a variety of selections for you to choose from so that’s a great option for that party you’re planning or to grab a speedy bite to eat.
Poi By The Pound started as a small little restaurant in the industrial area of Kahului and now reside in the old Denny’s Restaurant location. I haven’t eaten or dined in at their Kahului Industrial location, but I think the old Denny’s location is perfect for them. During our two visits (last year and the other day), the restaurant was packed, so you know it’s a local favorite here on Maui. Through their love of Hawaiian food, Poi By The Pound is now a popular eatery here on the island.
So, I know you’re waiting to find out about the dishes we tried out, right? Let’s dive into those, shall we?
I wanted to start off with the Deep Fried Lau Lau. Yes, I said deep fried. I didn’t see this on the menu, but since reading the reviews on Yelp, I knew about it. I was so interested in trying it out so I had to order it (even if I didn’t eat it all).
The deep friend lau lau is basically a lau lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves and lightly flavored with Hawaiian salt. It is slowly steamed to absolute perfection) that is breaded/battered with panko breadcrumbs and deep fried. Considering it was deep fried, it was not as heavy as you would have thought it would be. Honestly, lau lau is really heavy on its own and I felt that the breading didn’t make it too overwhelming. If you like lau lau, you definitely have to check it out and see for yourself.
A definite favorite for any local here is a Hawaii staple known as the Loco Moco. Poi By The Pound’s Loco Moco includes three homemade patties grilled with onions and served with rice and macaroni salad (you can choose green salad if you prefer that instead). The patties are topped with 2 eggs cooked in the style of your choosing (we always get over easy – because a runny egg mixed with all of it, is well… the best) and a generous pour of brown gravy. If you’ve never had a Loco Moco before, you must try it, it’s definitely a go-to here. The patties were filled with flavor, the gravy was great and the egg, well – as soon as you brook the yolk, it spread all over the dish which is what we liked. Served hot and delicious.
A mix on the Loco Moco is their Chicken Katsu Moco. I LOVE a great Chicken Katsu Cutlet Moco (one of my favorite food choices anywhere) and I was so excited to try this one from Poi By The Pound. I requested Pork Gravy instead of their standard brown gravy and of course got my eggs over-easy. The chicken was cooked well and I loved the flavor of everything. Of course, since I don’t eat rice anymore, I opted for green salad as my side. I definitely was happy with this meal, even if I didn’t eat all of it. Did I mention their portion sizes were huge? The Chicken Katsu Cutlet Moco is not on the menu, so be sure to ask for it personally if you want to give it a try.
I did mention that Poi By The Pound is known as the “Authentic Hawaiian Food Restaurant” and while some may think the other foods I mentioned were “authentic”, they are really just local favorites that you can get here in Hawaii. So, I just had to share the beautiful display of Hawaiian food you can get with the Hawaiian Plate combo. My gosh, it includes so much food, you will surely be full before you leave. And, if you have never tried any Hawaiian food before, this would be a great way to check it out. Included in this combo is: Kalua pork, pork lau lau, chicken long rice (which is like a soup with chicken and rice noodles), lomi salmon (which is salmon, tomatoes and onion mixed together. Lomi in Hawaiian basically means to massage. Therefore, it is the salmon and other ingredients massaged together so the flavors mesh), poi, rice and mac salad. On the bottom, you see a green baby food like consistency which is the squid luau. That is one of my favorite dishes here. It’s basically squid and taro leaf simmered in coconut milk and brown sugar.
The Poke Bowl is a popular choice here in Hawaii and many locals will grab it and go. Poi By The Pound has their own version of a Poke Bowl which includes your choice of shoyu or spicy poke (or combination of both) and served over steaming white rice with a sprinkle of furikake (seaweed and sesame seasoning). Fresh ahi poke is definitely something that you must try and this one was delish.
You didn’t think we left out dessert, did you? Well, considering the portion sizes you get from this eatery, you could easily skip dessert and be extremely full. But we packed up our leftovers and ordered some popular yummies. The boys shared the Mud Pie (it was so big all three of them ate it together). The mud pie consists of a Kona Mud pie ice cream bedded on an oreo cookie crust and topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and caramel drizzle. It was so good that the boys said they were gonna order it the next time we came to eat here.
I went with the Taro Sundae. Come on, taro, poi, and coconut in one dish… anyone that knows me knows that I would jump to that opportunity in a heartbeat. The Taro Sundae originally comes with haupia (coconut) ice cream, taro chunks, poi, drizzled with chocolate, caramel syrup and topped with whipped cream and almonds. I opted to be a purist and go the haupia ice cream with taro chunks and poi only (which is what is pictured above).
I seriously fell in love with this dish after the first bite. This dessert seriously satisfied exactly what I would expect from a Taro Sundae and I definitely suggest checking it out… seriously!
The cost of the plates and desserts at Poi By The Pound are reasonably priced and you surely get your monies worth in every possible way. You will not leave this restaurant hungry, that’s for sure. Our server was a delight and very sweet and the last time we dined here (last year) we experienced the same kind and sweet service from that server as well. Food comes to the table hot and you will definitely enjoy a great meal here. If you are looking to satisfy your hunger with some local grinds or want a Hawaiian food mix, I definitely suggest checking them out. You’ll enjoy their food and be sure to share because you’ll have enough to share with a friend.
Poi By The Pound is located at:
430 Kele Street, Kahului, HI. 96732