Often times the most exciting part of travel is discovering the best in local flavours. Our Black Foodie Partnerships lead, Addis, recently took in the sights and tastes of the beautiful island of Maui. Lucky for us she’s given us an inside look into a culinary treasure that rests on the grounds of an old sugar plantation. Read an excerpt below:
For a first time visitor to Maui, The Maui Tropical Plantation is a must-see! It’s a beautiful and Zen place to explore and spend the afternoon. There are plenty of activities, one of which I indulged in the most—eating!
Before arriving there, I had no idea of the significance of the property on which The Mill House is located. This restaurant rests on a former sugar cane plantation within the former manufacturing area of the island which today has disappeared from the island all together. The Mill House sources all of their ingredients locally, embodying the essentials of farm-to-table practices in all of their ingredients. Even their interior design incorporates refurbished old trains from the mill/manufacturing plant.
Kane Carbonneau, F&B Manager at The Mill House has a passion for Southern US and Polynesian cuisine which came through in a number of items on the menu. The farm to table menu is updated every couple of days sometimes even daily as are committed to sourcing local in season ingredients.
The Mill House core values for sourcing and preparing food was evident in each prepared for Black Foodie. Here’s a breakdown of some of the tasty dishes I tried:
Ceviche (sourced from sustainable local fish farm)
Fish Collar – This was a part of the fish that is overlooked and often tossed away. However, it is very flavorful and can be a good source of fish protein. There was a parallel between this recipe and some of the traditional dishes from the Caribbean that we know and love in that an often overlooked or tossed food that is reinvented to become a popular dish/delicacy many years later.
Chicken Bao buns – Kane introduced this dish in reference to Siopao (Filipino steamed buns). Bao is also a popular snack food in Chinese/Taiwanese and Fujian cuisines. Korea style fried chicken topped with kimchi and aioli seasoning (my favorite part of the dish after the actual buns)
Mortadella dish topped with sautéed seaweed; it is the restaurant’s take on spam which is very poplar on the island.
Something that surprised me because I wouldn’t normally select this dish was the bone marrow risotto with taro grains. Taro is very popular plant in the Hawaiian/Polynesian culture. Previous to this foodie experience, I had only known the taro bean flavor from bubble tea adventures. The Puffed rice, taro leaves, grinded and risotto dish was SO DELICIOUS. It was also served with the really big pieces of bone marrow. It was quite an involved experience requiring me to scoop the marrow out of the large bone slabs, and stir it around while everything is hot and served in front of you immediately. Bone marrow is another one of those often overlooked or tossed pieces. The Arborio and wild rice was a perfect pairing with the bone marrow.
Over all, I really appreciated how the restaurant was very intentional in curating the menu and let nothing go to waste—including items which often are overlooked or tossed out!
It was a beautiful property, great food, staff were very talented, and friendly. It was a very welcoming experience one that we would love to do over and over again! (and we did!)