You are finally on your way to visit the Big Island of Hawai’i! It’s an island of adventure with its abundance of breathtaking waterfalls and mountains, valleys, and rainbows. Here you will find an active volcano, thriving ocean reefs, and challenging hiking trails. You’ll also find hidden beaches, tropical rain forests, and one of the most astounding opportunities to stargaze anywhere in the world. And don’t worry — being vegan will definitely not hold you back here. You’ll find plenty of places to eat great vegan meals and vegan desserts on the Big Island.
Delicious Big Island Vegan Meals & Big Island Vegan Desserts
There are multiple Big Island locations where you can find delicious vegan meals and vegan desserts to fuel your adventures and delight your tastebuds. It’s just as important to plan where you’ll be eating as it is to decide what the day’s adventures will be. Unfortunately, many of the restaurants that we typically recommend have permanently closed due to Covid. So while the following list only includes the currently open restaurants, it is not all-inclusive.
Great Big Island Vegan Food
For your first stop, if you fly into Kona, make sure to hit the local Island Naturals Grocery Market & Deli. It’s currently located in the old industrial area. However, they’ll be moving over to the Kona Commons area this summer (2021), next to the new Old Navy. They sell local food, produce, and products like macadamia nuts and locally-made vegan products.
Vegan Food in Kona
One of my very favorite lunches on the west side is from Swami’s Dosa Grill’s lunch truck parked in Ali’i Gardens Marketplace. If you love Indian food, Swami’s will make your whole day. You’ll find yourself there more than once for sure! Another unique and delicious option in Kona is Herbivores — their jackfruit nachos are to die for. The food is so good that there is always a line, so be patient.
For breakfast in downtown Kona, check out Basik Café. Located right off the water behind the Royal Kona, you can get amazing açai bowls, smoothies, and other delights. Find their menu here.
For something to take with you to the beach or on that hike, stop by Loko Wraps for vegan and vegetarian bowls, salads, and wraps. These wraps are two meals in one, so come hungry or pack for the day. Find their menu here. Try their jackfruit barbecue wrap with coconut rice and pineapple salsa!
Vegan Options in Hilo
When you’re on the east side of the island, pop into Sweet Cane Café – they take juices, bowls, and smoothies to a whole new level. Their farm to table concept uses the freshest local ingredients to add to their sugar cane juices and smoothies. You can pump them up with boosters for that extra zing all day.
When you’re needing that big dinner to refuel after a busy day of hiking, swimming, and exploring, Vibe Café in Hilo is your place. You can find vegan and vegetarian pizza, “Beyond” burgers, nachos, and fantastic salads in a light, natural and airy space. They also offer a fantastic brunch and fun, vegan-friendly cocktails.
Big Island Farmers Markets
Of course, you have to explore the farmers’ markets to find the locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables, freshly prepared foods (breakfast and lunch), and to buy handmade souvenirs to take home. Also important: by buying directly from the farmer you cut out the middle man and help to strengthen the local community! Need info on days, times, and locations of the main farmers’ markets? Check out this list.
Big Island Vegan Desserts In Hilo
Now for dessert! Since you’re in Hawai’i, it’s tradition to try the local shave ice – and you can always have dessert first! If you’re on Hilo side, Kula Shave Ice is a favorite thanks to their organic and natural syrups, as well as their vegan ice cream options. Nicoco Hawaiian Gelato (in Hilo and Pahoa) is also a great choice for Big Island vegan desserts thanks to their handmade gelato featuring unique, local flavors.
Big Island Vegan Desserts In Kona
On the Kona side, we’re of course partial to Gecko Girlz Shave Ice. Our store is located in Coconut Grove behind Fosters Kitchen. Here, you can sit and watch the sunset with your choice of 100% vegan, natural fruit shave ice creations topped with a coconut-based, dairy free ‘snow cap.’ Add azuki beans for a local twist; these are red beans sweetened with pure cane sugar that are delicious on your shave ice. Gecko Girlz also offers house-made fruit purees to add to your Hawaiian Cold Brew Ice Teas or as a shave ice topping. Heavenly! For more Big Island vegan desserts freshly made from scratch, try the ‘chi chi dango’ mochi. This dairy-free / gluten-free coconut based dumpling is a MUST for your shave ice – don’t go home without trying this traditional treat. Find the menu here.
No matter which way you go, if you plan ahead you can find locally-owned, small cafés and restaurants that will treat your taste buds and fuel your adventures in a healthy and delicious way. The islands are working very hard on going 100% sustainable, and at Gecko Girlz we are fully committed to using only biodegradable and compostable bowls, cups, and straws. No plastic to be found here!!
Enjoy your stay and let us know if there’s anything we can do to make your stay more fun or more comfortable. Cheers to safe and healthy travels!
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