At one time, that would have been a good guess. Today, however, we count this as the best place for Chinese on Maui (and that’s not even taking the relative lack of really good Chinese food into account). We adore the won ton soup, brought to the table in two large serving bowls. One bowl holds just-perfectly-cooked greens floating in crystal clear, well-seasoned broth. The other cradles homemade pork and shrimp wontons. The server scoops out four won tons for each dish and ladles broth over the top. With the first sip we sigh: Love in a Bowl.
Our favorite entrée has to be the Salt and Pepper Fish. Tender slices of flounder are breaded in light mix of salt, spice, and pepper and deep-fried, then garnished with diced peppers. The result is fresh, light as air, but still satisfying and rich. If you prefer meat, the Salt and Pepper Pork Ribs are equally addictive.
The Green Beans and Pork is made from hearty ground pork with a slight spice kick to it, topping wok-fried green beans (keeps them crisp but tender inside). We also love the creamy Honey Glazed Walnut Shrimp: shrimp and walnuts piled on a platter and glazed with a perfectly balanced sauce that includes tangy mayonnaise and just the right amount of honey.
East Ocean Restaurant.
If you’re accompanied by picky eaters or kids who don’t like spices, the simple Chicken Vegetable dish is perfect. The vegetables are bright and crisp and the white sauce is simple and mild. It’s easy for a kitchen that’s cutting corners to use a lot of cornstarch in their white sauce to give the look but lose the flavor, but this food is treated with its due respect.
Service is typical for Chinese restaurants: efficient and attentive, but not particularly smiley. If you have a special request, ask, as we have always found that the kitchen can do almost anything we throw at them.
Despite the rather unpromising second-floor location next to Denny’s and the less-than-heavenly bathrooms, the dining area is spacious and breezy. Tables for two and four line the walls, while wonderful large round tables fill the middle of the big room, perfect for the multi-generational families who swarm this place on weekends and holidays.
East Ocean is located at 2463 S. Kīhei Road, in Kīhei, in the Kama‘ole Shopping Center next to Denny’s. Open for lunch and dinner. Call 879-1988.