Alooooha! I have recently returned from a two-week paradise vacation in Maui, Hawaii. I am fortunate to travel to Hawaii annually with my family (our “mecca” to Hawaii), and each year, we spend our days poolside passing the time doing who knows what! We have spent time on several of the Hawaiian islands, but Maui is one of my favorites for all of the great dining options. This year, I have decided to recap my eating adventures (you may have followed them on Instagram earlier this month).
Before I get to my favorite dining spots, below are a few tips I use before going on any trip.
Research and plan:
Before I travel anywhere, I always do a Happy Cow search on my app, as well as an Internet search. I start a Pinterest board to collect my findings and use it during my trip. You can check out my Vegan Hawaii board on Pinterest here.
If you are lucky enough to have a fridge (and maybe a kitchen) where you are staying, I highly recommend stocking up on essentials for snacks, breakfasts, and lunches during your trip. This saves a lot of money in Hawaii, especially at hotels that charge a fortune for everything.
We visited Whole Foods (just minutes from the Napili airport). Here are some of the essentials l loaded up on:
– A couple of green juices (for breakfast)
– Cucumbers and carrots for dipping
– Gluten free crackers for dipping
– Kale salad mix
– Vegan salad dressing
– Tomatoes and avocadoes for salads
– Brussels sprouts for a quick salad with the dressing above
– A couple of prepared vegan salads from the deli case
Pack a bag:
In addition to stocking up at a local farmer’s market or grocery store, I also pack a separate duffel bag to check on the plane, loaded with healthy snacks and ingredients that are expensive or difficult to find elsewhere (nori wraps and nutritional yeast, for example).
I love to eat and found lots of delicious food to feast upon. We visited old favorites, and discovered new yummy spots. I have broken out my eating “road map” from my two-week stay below:
We stayed at the Sheraton Maui for the first week of our trip and were treated to a complimentary breakfast, courtesy of my hubby’s Platinum status. This was a GREAT deal! I had salad greens, miso soup and fruit every day for breakfast!
During the second week, I drank store bought green juices, but one day we ventured out to a new find: Slappy Cakes. Think The Melting Pot for pancakes, where you choose your batter (they offer a vegan/gluten-free option) and your toppings, and then cook them up yourself on you own tableside griddle. The family and I had a blast cooking up our breakfast!
I typically prepare my lunches from my grocery trip finds, but did mix things up one day and ventured out to try a new place I heard about: Choice Health Bar. This vegan café-style restaurant was a great find. Homemade soups and grains are prepared daily, along with their delicious kale salad. They also make made-to-order juices and smoothies.
Dinner is always the highlight for me when I am traveling. I love to eat and discover new restaurants! We visited several favorites, and also tried some new spots during this trip.
Our old favorites included Maui Tacos (Great Mexican food – Maui style. I like the Veggie Bowl – gluten free and vegan.); Aloha Mixed Plate (Their Tofu Stir Fry and salads can be prepared vegan. I have to admit this isn’t my first choice, but my family loves it so I compromise!); Mala Ocean Tavern (This is a must visit! We went twice during our trip. From their salsa and edamame hummus started to their wonderful veggies, I savor every bite I eat here. Plus, the view is breathtaking.); Kimo’s (This is our go to for 4th of July because of the front row view of the fireworks. There are not many vegan options: a tofu dish that was average, a roasted red pepper dip, and a beet salad that was fantastic.); Leilani’s (This is your typical beachside casual restaurant. My husband enjoys it so I go for him. There is a vegan burger and a great hummus trio that I made into a meal.)
As far as new discoveries, we made two: Star Noodle (A local favorite and now ours too! We ate there twice. They were extremely accommodating for vegan. I ordered the Singapore Noodles one night and the Pad Thai another. The mushrooms were also delicious.); Ka’ana Kitchen at The Andaz (This spectacular restaurant is located inside the new Andaz Hotel and is gorgeous. There is a separate vegetarian menu with the ability to veganize, as well as the opportunity to adapt some of the salads on the regular menu. I was very excited to see they offered two dessert options beyond the standard fruit plate or sorbet – a key lime tart and a chocolate tart. I was in heaven and look forward to visiting again the next time I am back.). You also must try Ono Gelato, which offers fantastic non-dairy options in a variety of flavors.
We also cooked in one night, which was a great highlight for me. We met up with good friends we hadn’t seen since our last trip, who were also visiting the island. Half the group was vegetarian/vegan, so I was excited to be surrounded by veegs who enjoy a good plant-based meal. I prepared Cauliflower Steaks with Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Veggie Stacks with Hummus, an Italian Chopped Salad, and baked potatoes. It was a feast!
Have you been to Hawaii and have a favorite vegan culinary experience to share? Please tell me about it in the comments section below. For more of my culinary travel adventures, you may like these posts:
Happy travels this summer!