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Kim Chee & Bao Buns & Noodles… Oh My!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love food. From a young age I was exposed to exotic cuisines either cooked at home or eaten out in restaurants. So when I returned to home to Maui to find my dad incessantly talking about Star Noodle I knew we had to go.

Star Noodle is located in Lahaina on the West Side of Maui. It is far off the beaten tracks of Front Street and Ka’anapali. In fact when I dined there it appeared that 95% of the tables were filled with residents of the island. For those of you not familiar with Maui, this percentage is usually swung in the opposite direction. It is moments like this on the island when you can still feel the magic that Maui had 20+ years ago.

Star Noodle was born out of the excess space that was available by the commissary kitchen that produces the food for a few of the island’s better known luau’s and plate lunch places. The restaurant itself is styled after a traditional Asian noodle house with modern minimalistic styling.  A large communal table runs through the center of the dining room. No forks are on the tables just a jar of chopsticks.

My father and I definitely ordered with our eyes and not our stomachs. There was enough food to feed us for a whole second setting. Regardless, I’m always down for more flavors so I was a happy girl. Below are the menu items we ordered:

  • Share Plates & Bentos

    • Spicy Namasu – Cucumber, Daikon, Carrot  4
    • Kim Chee – Pickled Cabbage 4
    • Steamed Pork Buns – Pressed Pork, Hoisin, Shiitake, Cucumber     9
    • Ssam – Daily Special Asian Burrito with rice & vegetables   7-13
  • Noodles

    • Star Ramen – Pork Broth, Roast Pork, Poached Egg, Bamboo Shoots  9
    • Garlic Noodles – Fresh & Fried Garlic, Garlic Oil, Dashi, Scallions    6/10 (we had the 1/2 order)

Both the Kim Chee and the Spicy Namasu were what you would expect them to be, no surprises there but also no disappointments. The Kim Chee had a nice kick to it and was a great way to get the palate awakened. The Steamed Pork Buns were similar to traditional Bao buns. Sadly they were nowhere near as good as the Pork Belly buns from the Chairman Bao Truck in San Francisco that I was craving at the time. I found them a little dry and had to dose them with extra hoisen sauce and sriracha. The Ssam of the day was a chicken curry wrap that had a nice mixture of rice, red bell peppers, and mushrooms. While this had a nice flavor I was looking for something more exciting. On the flip side the Ssam was a nice size and would have been a filling meal on it’s own. The Star Ramen was a total fail in my book. The broth lacked flavor. Even after dumping chili paste, hoisen and soy sauce in the bowl it was still bland. This dish remained mostly untouched. The dish was cleared early from the table. We told the server it was a disappointment considering it was their signature ramen. The server just shrugged. As a former server I expected at least a quizzical response and an offer to replace it with a different soup. Nothing was done and the item stayed on our bill. The garlic noodles on the hand were delicious. These were a dry noodle stir-fry with tons of crispy garlic chips! We only got a half order of these and boy do I wish we had ordered a full order instead of the ramen.

DIAMOND RATING (Out of 5)

Decor: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Service: ♦ ♦ ♦

Food Quality: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Overall Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Star Noodle

286 Kupuohi St

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761

www.starnoodle.com

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