Star Noodle in Lahaina has been a hit ever since it opened its doors at 286 Kupuohi Street at the top of Lahaina Light Industrial Park three years ago.
But on a recent visit, it was just crazy! More than a dozen patrons waited in the parking lot for to-go food, and inside, the restaurant was slammed as music pulsed and throbbed like in Las Vegas; and servers brought out signature dishes such as pohole fern salad, scallops shots, Vietnamese crepes and pad Thai noodles.
Of course, the hungry diners were there for the fab food and to see executive Chef Sheldon Simeon, who just rose to national acclaim as a "Top Chef" finalist. Diners approached him for photo ops, one after another.
“Top Chef” finalist and Star Noodle’s Executive Chef Sheldon Simeon will help to launch the new Starstruck food truck Saturday.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Saturday, you can head to Star Noodle and be star struck in a different way and get to meet and greet the chef at the same time.
That's when Star Noodle will present the second annual Empty Bowl Project benefitting Maui Food Bank and Hale Mahaolu, and it will debut its new Starstruck food truck by parking it in the thick of the action.
"Originally, we're were just going to get a food cart to cater to the overflow of customers," says Simeon, as humble and sweet as ever. "But we got this new truck and it's going to be another creative outlet for us. A new way to have fun with food."
* Empty Bowl Project: Party outside Star Noodle in Lahaina from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday as a benefit for Maui Food Bank and Hale Mahaolu. Donate $25 for a handcrafted bowl and enjoy some noodles. Or buy scrip for food and drink. Call 667-5400.
Saturday, Star Noodle will once again team with Maui Organization for Ceramic Arts (MOCA). Maui artists will create more than 400 handcrafted ceramic bowls to be sold for $25 each, as a donation at the event.
"Your purchase is a keepsake to remind you of all the empty bowls in the world," says Star Noodle's director of marketing Kaala Buenconsejo.
The donation also allows you to visit a special noodle bar to be manned by Simeon and staff. You may create your own hapa ramen, udon or organic soba, and top with fresh and inspiring garnishings.
"We block off the whole parking lot and it's so much fun," says Simeon. "Each bowl is handmade on Maui. It's such a cool idea."
In addition to the noodle bar, you'll find a street fair under the stars with stands selling garlic noodles, yakitori chicken, scallop shots, and desserts to buy with scrip; and beer, wine and sake inside the restaurant.
From the Starstruck food truck will come pulehu-beef short ribs with Asian-chimichurri sauce, pickled ogo and Maui onions; Korean chicken wings with Thai-peanut sauce and Thai basil; and roasted pork-belly bowls with Kaanapali tomatoes and wilted watercress.
"The chicken is a blend of two cultures, while the pork belly bowls offer straightforward and satisfying tastes," says Simeon.
"For entertainment, we'll have the BBoys, poet laureate Kealoha, Auntie Nitra and her Thai dancers, and Au Shaolin Society lion dancers. At the end of the night, we'll turn down the lights and turn up the music to do drink specials inside and fun, out-of-the-box food such as kampachi ponzu with micro shiso; and candied bacon, macadamia nuts and maple syrup in red-hot candy."