Vegan dining on Maui

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We spent 10 amazing days in Maui, I was surprised by how easy it was to find vegan choices on the menus at most of the places we went. We stayed in the Ka’anapali Beach area and ate most of our meals in nearby Lahaina.

The area we stayed in was right across the street from the big Ka’anapali Beach resorts, we could walk to the beach in less than 5 minutes yet had the privacy of our own cottage with a huge lanai and a pool right outside our door. One evening we walked down to Dukes Beach House and got an amazing table on the patio with nothing but sand between us and the ocean. They had palm umbrellas and torches and a live acoustic musician playing at sunset, all the things you think about when you picture a magical dinner on a tropical island. The Farm to Fork platter had my name written all over it. It was a gorgeous display of brussels sprouts & quinoa, coconut milk steamed bamboo rice, roasted fingerling potatoes and crisp polenta cake with a confit of local tomatoes. I wish I could eat it again right now, the picture does not do it justice.

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Dining in Lahaina we had some of the best food on the trip. It is impossible to pick a favorite between the India Express on Front Street, located in The Wharf shopping area, and the Thai Chef in Old Lahaina Center. We went to both places twice during our stay, and both places had tons of vegan options. Not always listed as such, but if you ask, they are happy to let you know what can be left out of things to make them vegan.

At India Express, the first time, we shared a vegan vegetable curry and the channa masala. The best part, their garlic naan can be made vegan if you ask them not to brush it with butter! It was one of the best naans I’ve ever had. The second time we went back we had the channa saag and a dahl curry, both absolutely delicious. We ate outside on the patio, service was great and they kept cold water coming which is always appreciated when you are eating spicy food! I loved this place, I highly recommend it.

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The Thai Chef is a “must try.” This place is located just off the main drag, Front Street, down a little alley. It was a little harder to find, even using my GPS walking feature, but the locals were helpful in giving us directions to get there the first time.

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On our first visit we ordered the thai spring rolls and green papaya salad to start. Both were delicious. It was recommended by our server to eat the spring rolls with the garnishes they served by wrapping the spring roll in a lettuce cup with a slice of cucumber, mint and their delicious pineapple sweet and sour sauce.

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The red pineapple curry is what brought us back the second time. It was super spicy with a mild sweetness from the pineapple and the coconut milk….so much flavor in this dish, I can’t wait to try to recreate it! When asked for spice level, I think we said just under medium hot and it was perfect. I like spicy, but thai food can be dangerous!

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I wish I had better photos, it was pretty dark inside the restaurant.

We found delicious veggie burgers at the Cool Cat Cafe, also located in The Wharf shopping center right on Front Street.

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I got the Dream Lover, no cheese, no mayo, extra pickle.

IMG_6491At Cheeseburger in Paradise the only thing we could eat were the black pepper and garlic “Seashore fries,” but they were delicious. Super crispy on the outside and the inside was creamy and fluffy, like a deep fried mashed potato. We also enjoyed our first obligatory fruity cocktails of the trip, a pina cola and a mai tai.

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Another great place was Star Noodle, a much busier, trendier place that required a reservation but was well worth it. There were only two real vegan options for us on the entrée menu so we obviously got one of each. We also got to try a fun appetizer called a Vietnamese Crepe. The server we had was on top of her game because the appetizer came with a sauce that had fish in it and as soon as it was placed on our table by another person, she quickly swooped it up and apologized. The Vietnamese crepe was sort of like a lettuce wrap with mixed vegetables in coconut milk, really good. I saw the original version at another table and it was really beautiful with this big puffy crepe which is not vegan, of course. Our entrée options were Pad Thai and Singapore noodles. Neither are regularly served vegan, so make sure to specify.

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vegan Pad Thai

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vegan Singapore noodles

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vegan Vietnamese crepe

We had a hard time with photos here too, the sun was shining very brightly into the restaurant. Most of the places in Lahaina were within walking distance of a free parking lot. Front street is the main area for shopping and eating, but we did drive to Star Noodle, it was quite a few blocks from Front Street.

For your sweet tooth….shave ice is a must in Hawaii, and we found a specialty bake shop with gluten free and vegan options!

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The best shave ice is at Ululani’s, my favorite was the coconut mango with toasted coconut!

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They had vegan cupcakes and whoopie pies!

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Chocolate chocolate, chocolate vanilla and oatmeal cinnamon whoopie pies.

One night we went searching for a place that ended up being closed but ended up at local joint Maui Taco. We had huge burritos with beans, rice, potatoes, greens and tomato. I have a love for hot sauce and they had a great house made salsa bar! They had this really amazing hot smokey red sauce and a killer pineapple salsa. We saw lots of Maui Taco’s all over the island, I recommend stopping by.

The day we did the road to Hana we started in Kihei for breakfast with a good friend. He took us to a place called the Ami Ami Bar and Grill for an “off the menu” experience we really enjoyed. It was a tofu, potato, salsa and fresh vegetable dish that was so simple but had tons of flavor. I got it with corn tortillas and a couple of bloody mary’s.

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We made a stop on the way back down the road to Hana at Coconut Glen’s vegan ice cream shop. It was the best vegan ice cream I have ever had, it was so smooth and creamy and delicious…..the road to Hana should be renamed the road to Coconut Glen’s. We saw a Coconut Glen’s truck in Paia on another day, but there was no one there…..keep your eye out, I don’t know if it rolls around to different towns or just hangs out in Paia, but you want to get some of this ice cream.

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Paia is a place you are going to want to go, if only for this restaurant. It is a raw, vegan joint with fresh juices, breakfast, lunch and deserts. The dish I got was so good that I very seriously considered ordering it again, right then. I was blown away. I am NOT excited by raw food, I get it, it just isn’t ever something I’m going to seek out.

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Maka is a restarant run by the grocery store right down the street called Mana Foods. Mana foods is another really, really good place to get some grub. They have a great selection of natural foods and a lot of the vegan brands I’m used to seeing in California. They have a huge deli section with hot foods and a cold bar with tons of salad options, made from scratch.

At Maka, we ordered these delicious dishes:

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Coconut Cream Cheese Stacker: coconut cream cheese layered on rosemary almond bread with local kimchi, avocado, tomato, and arugala with a splash of balsamic reduction

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Tempeh Katsu Sandwich: marinated tempeh cutlets served on warm artisan waffle bread with local romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, and sprouts with sundered tomato tapenade

Near the airport in Kuhului we went to Down to Earth grocery for a quick lunch, it was our second to last day, we wished we would have found it sooner. It was yet another good natural food store with tons of gorgeous local produce and a deli with hot food, cold salad bars, fresh juices and smoothies, a great made-to-order sandwich menu and a wide variety of eggless desserts! It would be a great first stop in Maui, right from the airport, if you are planning on having some staples where ever you end up. Whether you have a place with a kitchen or just to have snacks on all your road trips or beach days, this is a great option!

Of course, don’t skip over the best part of Maui dining….you can’t get any fresher than all of the amazing fruit grown on the island and likely picked that same day.

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About beetdown

Food junkie, recipe scavenger, part time gardener, lover of all things pretty.
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