The Monkey Pod tree was the inspiration for Chef Peter Merriman’s Monkey-Pod Kitchen restaurant in Wailea and more recently at its new location at the newly renovated Whaler’s Village on Kaanapali Beach.
Cecile and I, Michelle and Kyle and Jason and Alex had Margherita pizza, oven charred Brussel Sprouts with peppers and onions, Freshly caught Fish Tacos, Fresh Mahi-Mahi Fish and Chips, Avocado Cucumber salad, Fresh Organic Herbs Kale Salad and Fresh Gnocchi with Sausage made with fresh ricotta and vine-ripened tomatoes.
The Monkey-pod tree known as a “Rain-tree” around the globe is a species of a flowering tree from the pea family and was said to have been naturalized in Hawaii where it was grown from a seed in 1847. It has also been reported to have been planted on the Big Island by Mark Twain in 1866. The Monkey tree which is cherished by Hawaiians has a single stalk with branches the spread into a huge canopy. Unlike other trees that kill the grass beneath it, the grass is always greener under the monkey-pod tree because it releases nitrogen which fertilizers the soil beneath it.
The Monkey Tree historically got its name from some countries where monkeys are found of the licorice tasting pods and sit in the trees eating them. Modern research has shown the Monkey Pod tree has antibacterial and anti fungal qualities. In the West Indies the leaves are chewed to relieve toothaches and in the Philippines the leaves are used in an infusion for constipation and stomach aches. During the holidays 8 miles of lights are strung on the Monkey pods at the Grand Wailea Resort.
Unlike the old Rusty Harpoon, Cane and Taro, Maui Fish & Pasta that have failed at this location, it looks like Monkey Pod Kitchen “where the grass is always greener”is here to stay, and we’ll be back.
To cap off the evening we enjoyed dessert at the new Ono Gelato, next door to the restaurant. The flavors were amazing and the portions were generous and satisfied our sweet tooth.