March 25, 2010
Erin Lehn Floresca, Contributing Writer
The Valley Isle is an ideal location to take a break from the gray skies that blanket the Pacific Northwest during this time of year. Besides the perfect climate and lush, tropical foliage, another fabulous draw is the food. Vegans will delight in the wide array of vegan-friendly dining options available.
The fun begins when you leave the airport in Kahului and head to your first stop, the Down To Earth vegetarian grocery store located at 305 Dairy Road. Order a fresh-made sandwich, wrap or smoothie from the deli or get a heaping plate of goodies from the salad and hot bar. Then stock up on your favorite vegan items; it's all there, along with many exotic fruits and veggies in the produce department.
Once you've settled into your condo or hotel room, it's time to start planning your excursions. Maui is an easy island to get around, so most of the restaurants are within a short drive from wherever you are staying.
This charming, north coastal town is a great place to spend a day. A must-stop on the main drag is Cafe Mambo located at 30 Baldwin Avenue. This colorful, inviting establishment features scrumptious Organic Tofu Burgers, Tofu Fajitas and Spinach and Mushroom Fajitas that can easily be made vegan. According to Café Mambo owners Jamie & Olga Betham, "Other items include the 7 vegetable stew served with an herbed couscous, falafel, hummus, and our freshly made soups are nearly always vegan. Finally, our house salad dressing is a classic basil and olive oil vinaigrette, so it seems very creamy, but it too, is vegan."
For those just passing through on the Road to Hana, gather your picnic supplies at Mana Natural Foods located at 49 Baldwin Avenue. The store has a tasty food bar and bakery.
Fresh Mint Vietnamese Vegetarian Restaurant located at 115 Baldwin Avenue boasts a wide variety of delectable dishes made with vegetarian meats. Appetizers include delights such as Fried Imperial Rolls and entrées include Pad Thai, Spicy Ginger Soy Beef and Golden Soy Chicken Curry.
For something a little more horizontal, Flatbread Company located at 89 Hana Highway has amazing vegan flatbread pizzas.
There are several gems to be found in the laid-back, south shore town of Kihei. Be sure to visit the South Shore Tiki Lounge and enjoy live music on the lanai as you feast on several vegan menu items including a curry plate, veggie dog and burger and home-made vegan chili.
And just around the corner at 1913 South Kihei Road is Wokstar International Noodle Café where several vegan items grace their pan-Asian menu. This is a great spot to relax with friends and watch the sunset. Menu highlights include Yuki’s Veggie Fried Rice, Miso Ramen Soup and Kung Pow Noodles.
Stella Blues, located at 1279 South Kihei Road, has several vegan options on their lunch and dinner menu, but it's the tofu scramble on their breakfast menu that is the most popular.
More Vegan Vittles
Maui Tacos has several locations on Maui. The Haiku Burrito can be made vegan along with several other options.
Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods in Kehei is another natural foods grocery with a food bar as well.
Joy's Place in Kehei serves organic, fresh, mostly raw menu items. Smoothies, salads and soups are served daily. Located at 1993 South Kihei Road. Call 808-879-9258.
Penne Pasta Café in Lahaina. This Italian eatery serves pizza and pasta dishes that can be ordered with dairy-free cheeses.
Ono Gelato Company in Paia and Lahaina has several vegan gelato options.