When you imagine the perfect sweet treat to enjoy on vacation, what comes to mind? If you’re visiting Hawaii, shave ice is probably a top candidate — or maybe some locally produced chocolate. In all likelihood, however, you don’t think of banana bread as the ultimate vacation indulgence.
Julia’s Best Banana Bread just might change your mind. This Kahakuloa gem is legendary, and we’re not just talking about locals. While Maui residents flock to Julia’s bright green stand, vacationers are the real super fans. Many will go out of their way to see what the fuss is all about — and they’re so thrilled with the banana bread that they often find themselves making return visits.
Travelers are so attached to this type of banana bread that they’ve done their best to recreate it with a recipe on the website Bon Appetit. These simple instructions will no doubt produce exquisite banana bread, but there’s nothing quite like enjoying these sweet treats when they’re made fresh in Hawaii.
The story behind Auntie Julia’s legendary banana bread is memorable: she was inspired when she worked as a teacher’s aide at the Waiheʻe School. One day, a talented teacher served some banana bread that was so delicious, that Julia insisted on getting the recipe. From there, she experimented and made a few small adjustments until she perfected this addicting take on banana bread.
These days, Julia bakes her iconic treats fresh at a certified home kitchen before bringing them to her brightly-colored shack. It’s easy to purchase a loaf on the go, but the location is so pleasant that it’s worth lingering if you have the opportunity.
The banana bread is perfectly moist, not to mention as fresh as it gets. It tastes great on its own but will ideally be paired with Julia’s passion fruit butter. This lends a distinct taste of Hawaii to an already wonderful experience.
In addition to banana bread and passion fruit butter, Julia sells snacks such as cashew clusters, shortbread cookies, and dried mangoes. These will typically be purchased in addition to — and not in lieu of — the banana bread. Wash it all down with one of Julia’s fresh lemonades. Favorite flavors include guava, pineapple, and dragon fruit.
The drive might be intimidating, but if you’re willing to make the trek to Julia’s, you’ll be rewarded with a feast for all the senses: wonderfully sweet banana bread, lush scenery, and the feel of the ocean breeze. Experience it all at one of the most famous shacks on the island of Maui.
-Be sure to bring plenty of cash to Julia’s stand, as you will inevitably want to buy more than you initially expect. Credit cards are not accepted here — so if you arrive without cash, you’re out of luck.
-The drive to this banana bread stand is sometimes described as harrowing. Drop-offs and blind corners make the Kahekili Highway stressful to drive, so don’t take this journey unless you feel confident in your ability to tackle this treacherous route.