Whenever I travel, I make sure to research vegan food options ahead of time. So Will and I embarked for Kauai with a list full of places to try. Our first few stops were hit or miss. I found that a lot of food had too much sugar added for my taste. Once I knew what to look out for, things went more smoothly.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Farmers Markets – There is at least one farmers market per day from Monday through Saturday at various locations throughout the island. They only last about a couple of hours and can get very busy.
It’s a good idea to get there early and scout out all the stands, though you won’t be able to actually buy anything until the whistle blows. We made it to a couple different ones and left with a variety of tropical fruits including rambutans, star apples, mountain apples, and apple bananas (none of which are anything like apples, really).
East Shore – Kapa’a
We liked it here so much we came back a few times. There are lots of juice and smoothie options as well as a few vegan desserts and sandwiches on the menu. The chocolate mint mousse square was delicious! The BBQ taro burgers were also quite tasty.
On our final trip to Java Kai, I ordered the Kauai Cress juice (watercress, cucumber, ginger, lemon, coconut water). They were all out of watercress, so they offered to substitute bok choy, which I thought sounded odd, but turned out to be really good.
Will and I came the day we left to get food for the plane trip home. We split a BBQ taro burger and the falafel wrap for one of the best all-time plane meals ever. The cafe staff was even nice enough to pack our food so that each box had half of the burger and half of the wrap in it.
Gopal’s Creperie is one of the many food trucks in Kapa’a. Gopal’s has a small menu of vegetarian and vegan sweet and savory crepes. The crepe batter is vegan and gluten-free. They are happy to make substitutions to their non-vegan crepes. Overall, we preferred the sweet crepes. Our favorite was the macadamia nut with chocolate and coffee syrup.
West Shore – Hanapepe
One of our best food experiences was at the Friday Night Art Walk. There were a bunch of food trucks gathered for the occasion and several of them had at least one vegan option.
We cobbled together a delicious meal that included a vegetarian sushi roll from Yanagi Sushi (they take a handful of orders, then make the rolls while you wait), an amazingly good spicy tempeh banh mi from Kickshaws, and cacao coconut vegan ice cream from Powerhouse Creamery. Yum!
Oh, and we also picked up a few bags of chips from the Taro Ko factory. We ended up with sweet potato chips (my favorite), li hing mui sweet potato chips (a bit too sweet for me), and taro chips. Light, crisp, and well worth it.