Category Archives: Vegan Restaurants

Vegan Aloha at KCC Farmers Market: Acai Bowls, Natto, and More!

Vegan Acai Bowl at Daizu-Tei (hold the honey!)














While most Honolulu locals shop for their fresh local produce, tourists flock to farmers markets for the prepared foods-of which few are vegan-friendly, and a lot are plain unhealthy: Fried this, or fried that!? Even the T-shirts sold by the Hawaii Farm Bureau are adorned with pigs–signifying the ubiquity of meat and other animal products. 

Until the day when there are Vegan Farmers Markets, fortunately there is Daizu-Tei, specializing in acai bowl, kim-chi, and natto using vegan, local, and organic ingredients. Owner Kaori Yoshioka must be doing something special, judging from the long lines at her stand at the Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Saturday morning market (7:30am-11:00am).

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Enlightened Vegan Dining at Satori Hawaii

Satori Hawaii is a vegan pop-up at Soto Mission

A year ago, Megumi Odin left Peace Cafe, the much-loved restaurant she started almost five years ago, to follow her creative inspiration to the next level.

In September, the chef behind the first vegan restaurant in Honolulu began Satori Hawaii, a “pop-up” in the Soto Mission of Hawaii (1708 Nu’Uanu Ave) serving Contemporary Shojin Ryori (Buddhist Cuisine) meals that are vegan and gluten-free.

Megumi says opening a vegan restaurant in the U.S. was her mission, but she didn’t believe Americans were ready for Japanese style vegan food back when Peace Cafe opened. Continue reading

Soup Beats Raw Food-Even in Honolulu

Pho Vietnamese Soup Loving Hut HonoluluAs I’ve discovered over this past winter especially–even in Hawaii–soup is not only a great pleasure but an absolute necessity for me. And I’m so grateful whenever I can guide others toward healthier vegan alternatives for their favorite comfort foods, too.

Recently, I received a request from a reader in Honolulu: “My roommate wants to eat healthy tonight,” she said, “and I seem to remember passing a vegan restaurant on Kapiolani. Can you recommend a good place to eat and also what to order?”

Obviously, she was referring to Greens and Vines (909 Kapiolani Blvd.), but with the weather in Honolulu as cold as it was (OK–cold is relative), I didn’t think raw vegan food would exactly win them over to plant-based eating. Continue reading

Gratitude for Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Hana, Maui

DSC_0222 Hana is a charming town on the northeast tip of Maui famous for its curvy highway, pristine beaches, and utter lack of vegan restaurants.

OK, it’s not so famous for that last one–in fact, Hana has only a handful of restaurants to begin with. But–unless you enjoy staying in and cooking while on vacation, you’ve got to appreciate any restaurant that makes an effort to accommodate those of us on plant-based diets.

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Plenty of Vegan Aloha on Oahu

On my previous Oahu visit, I wrote about several vegan friendly restaurants and markets. I’m excited to report I’ve experienced even more great dining spots this time around.

After spending several months on Oahu, even a health-conscious vegan begins to crave more variety than offered by the island’s handful of vegan restaurants. In the winter months, you may find even yourself craving hot soup. That’s the time to head to Nickie Cafe (3297 Campbell Ave).

Although Nickie has been vegan for most of her life, her sister (who runs the cafe together) is not. On the bright side, the menu has dishes to please everybody.  Continue reading

Millennium Tops San Francisco Gourmet Vegan Restaurants

For all its reputation as a food mecca, and its hippy image, I was surprised to learn on a recent visit that downtown San Francisco is home to only 10 vegan restaurants.

Three of these 10 are part of the Loving Hut chain, which-despite their use of excessive oil and textured soy protein, and cafeteria atmosphere–are far superior to any non-vegan fast-food, and provide an animal compassionate and practical alternative for those transitioning to a plant-based diet. Continue reading

Rainbow Raw Food Tokyo

Satoshi has been doing an incredible job increasing awareness of veganism in Japan by translating this blog into Japanese.  An omnivore himself, he was curious about plant-based diets because of his frequent travels to India on business, where vegetarianism is common for spiritual reasons.  Satoshi’s growing interest in vegan food led him to visit a Tokyo raw vegan restaurant and file this review:

I invited a lot of friends to accompany me to a vegetarian restaurant for dinner, but none of them accepted, except Emily, my English conversation teacher. It was the first time I had tried a raw food, vegan, or even a vegetarian restaurant.

Emily has been in Japan for about half a year, and hasn’t eaten meat since high school. With a sister who is vegetarian–Emily was interested in experiencing Japanese-style raw vegan dishes.

Rainbow Raw Food Cafe and Bar in Hammatsu-cho is a very small and cozy restaurant with six tables and twelve chairs. You can choose from the Raw Food Dinner Course of six dishes (¥2,500), Combination Plate (¥1,800), or something from the a la carte menu. We each ordered the Dinner Course, and I had organic beer and Emily had a smoothie to drink. Continue reading

What To Do When Your “Go-To” Vegan Restaurant Goes Away?

The unexpected closure of The Vegetable Garden, one of the Washington, DC area’s vegan favorites has stunned many loyal fans.

Besides its location (in N. Bethesda), the best thing about Vegetable Garden was that omnivore friends didn’t feel they were doing you a favor by accompanying you there. The Chinese-style vegan restaurant’s dishes tasted as delicious as the “original recipes” that people forgot they were prepared without using animal products.

The second best thing about Vegetable Garden was its large menu: Many restaurants I visit, I have difficulty choosing something, because very few things look appealing. Yet Vegetable Garden’s menu was so varied, I could barely make up my mind, and always felt there was something to look forward to trying on the next visit…

Vegan sushi rolls, seaweed salad, soba noodles, and kung pao tofu were among my favorites, while an omnivore friend preferred yams with pecans and “beef”, or pineapple fried rice. I also loved Vegetable Garden’s complementary whole-wheat vegetable bread with sesame seeds, as well as “heart-healthy” menu items, macrobiotic dishes, and western-style deserts such as “cheesecake” made with non-dairy milks.

Vegetable Garden was a perennial favorite of PCRM, Compassion Over Killing, and other vegan and animal rights organizations, too. With so much love (and a Zagat rating), how could Vegetable Garden go out of business? Rumor has it the landlord was raising the rent. Most customers I know would have been willing to pay more to keep them in business, had they only known in advance. Continue reading

Eat Healthy and Save Money on Vacation

If your normally healthy diet goes out the window when traveling, you’re not alone.

Regardless of the type of diet you follow, temptation begins the instant you leave home. While the airlines have practically eliminated free snacks and in-flight meals, the airport, timezone changes, the waiting, lack of routine and accountability–especially when traveling alone–can all wreck your discipline.

When I heard the upscale Embassy Suites Waikiki offered a nightly evening manager’s reception, I pictured eating green salads, antipastos, and raw vegetables I had often found in Hilton’s Asian properties.

It took me 2 days to realize the happy hour’s “rotating menu of snacks” alternated between a variety of salty junk foods (peanuts, pretzels, party mix and chips), which–try as I might–I couldn’t resist shoveling onto my plate. What’s worse, I still ate a normal dinner afterward, in order to feel satisfied.

I had to make sure this situation would not continue, or I would certainly be in store for big weight gain during my vacation.

How does a traveler stay healthy, when it seems so much is out of your hands??

  • First of all–it may sound obvious–but don’t select a vacation destination just because of its unbridled eating opportunities. Your subconscious mind is more powerful than you think.
  • If you have a choice of hotels, check around ahead of time and choose one that offers fresh foods containing plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Continue reading

Do You Like Coffee in Your Milk, or Milk in Your Coffee?

A recent article in the Washington Post discussing the effects of various foods on heart health identified the greatest health risk of coffee to be weight gain from blended coffee beverages packed with empty calories from sugar and dairy fat.

Lately, it seems the creator and biggest purveyor of the beverages has been trying to rise above criticism they’re as guilty as McDonalds and other fast food chains for contributing to high rates of obesity and diet-related diseases.

Along with introducing oatmeal to its menu, Starbucks published guides to 20 Drinks Under 200 Calories” as well as “Favorite Foods under 350 calories” on its website.  Unfortunately, Starbucks plays down the healthiest beverages (full-leaf teas, brewed coffee, espresso, caffe Americano, etc.) which all have under 10 calories. For example–if you’ve grown tired of Pike Place–did you know you can order any beans Starbucks carries be prepared with a French-press?

Adding milk or cream and sugar to brewed coffee is so common among Starbucks’ U.S. customers, the baristas “leave room” in the cup by default. No wonder hard-core coffee drinkers (those who know the difference between an ibrik and a v60) don’t take the chain seriously, especially after it introduced the lightly-roasted Blonde coffee (now its most popular), further blurring the line with pedestrian coffee.

Of course, only Starbucks’ pure coffees/teas and those made with soymilk–instead of dairy milk–are of any interest to those on a whole foods plant-based diet (those who haven’t given up caffeine, at least).

For the record, Starbucks custom-blended soymilk contains more calories and saturated fat than its skim milk. However, soymilk contains no cholesterol (vs 5g for non-fat milk) and does contain fiber, a beneficial nutrient found only in plant-based foods. Continue reading