Food + Wine

World's Best Beach Food

Fish Tacos in Maui

The beach: Big Beach in Makena, on Maui's south shore

The place: The Jawz Tacos truck in the beach parking lot

The dish: The monstrously huge ono taco

The fresh, hot fish taco could be considered southern California's greatest contribution to world culture since the birth of the motion picture industry. At the risk of offending the entire state, however, we're nominating a fish taco from a little ways across the Pacific, in Maui. Big Beach, on the south shore in Makena, is Maui's wildest, least-developed stretch of sand, where the sparkling, clear blue waves can get a bit rough. There are no resorts here, no lifeguards, no beach bars, and not much shade. But there is a long crescent of sand, a backdrop of green, a perfect view, and, out in the parking lot, a basic but well-organized truck called Jawz Tacos, selling civilization at its finest. Jawz offers three locally caught and equally delectable options for your fish taco: light and flaky mahi mahi (the traditionalist's choice), pearly and firm ono (for those who like their fish a bit more buttery), and ahi (yellowfin) tuna, whose thick flake stands up nicely to the rest of the taco. The fish is combined with freshly shredded cabbage, rice flecked with cilantro, and a zingy salsa-and-sour-cream sauce in not one but two overlapping corn tortillas—the large fish taco is as long as a woman's forearm, and almost guaranteed to fall apart under the combined weight of the deliciousness within. If you're the kind of person who can eat an entire helping, you might also be the kind of person who can agree that claiming the best fish tacos are in San Diego is a little bit…safe.

Next: You stay classy, San Diego…and covered in cheeseburger grease >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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