In a nutshell: The best natural food store on Maui. Better food, selection & pricing than the chain supermarkets.
Sound-bite: “Absolutely the best Calamari salad I ever ate.”
What makes Mana Foods #1 is that they’re well beyond just being “the local natural foods store.” They carry the island’s widest selection of the highest quality fresh and healthy food. The icing on the vegan chocolate cake is their fair pricing – I come out of there with a consistently smaller receipt and a much healthier bag of groceries than I do at Safeway or Foodland.
If you’re not staying near Paia
– If you’re staying in the resort towns of South or West Maui, the most convenient trip to Mana is directly from the airport (~10 min. drive)
– Paia is also en-route to the Road To Hana so it’s a great place to stop to fill up on prepared foods for a picnic lunch and snacks for the ride.
Located on the North Shore in Paia Town, Maui’s old plantation town has a defining character all its own. In a trip through the isles of Mana you’re guaranteed to see more than your fair share of yogi’s, surfers, hippies, trust-fund babies and tourists. Mana Foods is a hub of the highly diverse North Shore Maui community.
Positioned between the vitamin room and the bulk foods are deli-cases of delicious freshly prepared foods. Cakes, pastries, raw, vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes. And unlike Down To Earth (yummy, but all veg, more $, less selection) they rotate the variety of prepared foods here endlessly. You can’t even compare the quality and taste to a supermarket deli. For real, this stuff is good.
Mana Foods has a bakery on-site that makes unusual and tasty cakes, breads and other baked goods. (Marzipan fans must try the Princess Cake.) Everything is baked fresh daily. They also have several vegan cakes and pies that taste so absolutely non-vegan that I bet they’ve had to talk down their share of freaked out hippies. In fact, I’m not on a vegan diet, but my two favorite baked treats in Mana are both vegan: the mini pumpkin pie and the vegan chocolate cake. The vegan chocolate cake is actually my number one favorite cake, anykind, anywhere.
Meat & Dairy
Mana foods also has a gourmet selection of local and fancy imported, organic and natural dairy products, meats and seafood. Regular items, and more exotic meats like buffalo, ostrich and venison are also stocked.
The vitamin room is like a store within the store – it is also somewhat misnamed. Like the rest of Mana this room is packed with a very diverse selection of items, and that includes much more than just vitamins. You can find everything from remedies, candles, incense and cosmetics to oils, lotions, tarot cards and clothing. The vitamin room also has its own dedicated staff who have specialized knowledge of the products.
Chocolates, Teas (& everything else)
Their tea and chocolate selections are legendary – with over 600 teas and a wall of 200 chocolates. Their website puts numbers on all the other stuff – like 75 nut and seed butters – these examples are representative of the kind of options and selection you’ll have throughout the store.
What Isn’t Going to be Spectacular
The huge selection crammed into the place also means that it can be hard to find stuff. (To their credit, staff is always present and very helpful.) Also, if you’re more impressed by glitz and high-end merchandising, then the old-school no-nonsense shelving won’t impress you a bit. The isles are also so narrow that the Fire Marshall goes into cold sweats every time he sees an organic goji berry.
Parking is also in high demand around Mana. If this were truly paradise the lot next door would be twice as big. Fortunately parking does turn over rapidly, and Mana added a new lot a short walk uphill next to the Post Office that always has space.
View Paia Town in a larger map