A land of 10,000-foot tall volcanoes, black-sand beaches, and otherworldly coral reefs, there’s no doubt that Maui is a paradise that elicits an incredible connection to the natural world.
What may be less known, however, is Maui’s incredible food scene—especially for vegans looking to travel on a meat- and dairy-free diet. Unlike other destinations—such as Spain and Germany—that abound in meat and cheeses, Maui thrives on its incredible plant-based scene thanks to its diverse produce selection.
Rich with fresh coconuts and macadamia nuts, Maui may very well be the paradise for vegan vacationers across the globe. From the sandy beaches of Lahaina to the tropical forest of Hana, read on below for the can’t-miss vegan spots across the island.
1. Chocolate at the Ku’ia Estate
The Ku’ia Estate is one of the only cacao plantations in the United States and the largest in Hawaii. Spanning twenty acres, spend an afternoon in Lahaina touring the grounds and tasting their award-winning chocolate. Offering vegan chocolate in a variety of flavors from guava and blood orange to lemongrass and mokka coffee, try a chocolate tasting or buy a whole bar.
After your chocolate, be sure to grab one of their can’t-miss chocolate shakes. With Maui heat, there’s nothing more refreshing than a cold milkshake, and thanks to Ku’ia rich vegan varieties, you can get a vegan milkshake in either chocolate coconut or chocolate strawberry guava.
Explore the estate website here.
2. Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread
I am 100% a banana bread fanatic. I make it on a regular basis and like to think of myself as quite the banana bread connoisseur. In spite of this, nothing could prepare me for Aunty Sandy’s vegan banana bread. It’s moist. It’s fluffy. It’s rich in banana flavor. It’s everything you hope a banana bread could be, with flecks of fresh local bananas baked beautifully inside.
My recommendation? Get a whole loaf for yourself, even if it seems excessive. Trust me when I say you won’t want to share this with anyone else.
Try it here.
3. Maca Nut Ice Cream
When giving up dairy, my biggest craving always included a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Throughout my ventures into trying coconut milk, oat milk, and soy milk ice creams, nothing ever could replace the hold that heavy cream-based ice cream had on my heart.
Nothing, that is, until I tasted Maui’s maca nut ice cream. Decadent, rich and oh-so-creamy, Maui’s maca nut ice cream is quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. (Even better than traditional ice cream!)
While there are dozens of ice cream stands across Maui that serve maca nut ice cream, make sure you swing by Paia to visit Artisan Ice Cream for their small batch, hand-crafted macadamia nut ice creams.
Find Artisan Ice Cream here.
4. Farm Fresh Produce at a Local Stand (or while hiking)
When I asked my friend who lives in Maui what her favorite food was while living in Hawaii, I was confused when she answered fruit. After all, is fruit really as yummy as a freshly baked cupcake or extra dark chocolate brownies?
The answer, I quickly learned, is one thousand percent yes. Hiking in Hana was a freshly picked dream. Our friend would constantly point out fruits and flowers on the trails we hiked, encouraging us to eat and taste the natural vegetation. During my time in Maui, I fell in love with strawberry guavas, lilikois, and the never-ending varieties of bananas grown in utter abundance.
Take it from a natural fruit skeptic—don’t skip out on this best part of the Maui food scene.
5. Dole Whip
You can’t go to the home of the Maui Gold pineapple and not get a pineapple-flavored treat.
Dole whip is a pineapple-flavored soft serve made with pineapple mix and water. Vegan, gluten-free, and fat-free, it’s the perfect healthy treat to beat the heat.
While you can get dole whip across the island, perhaps the most famous comes from Lapperts Ice Cream in Lahaina. Trust us. The line is worth the wait.
Visit Lapperts here.
A Note Before Visiting Maui
Currently, Maui and the other Hawaiian islands are experiencing crises due to overtourism, with up to 300,000 tourists arriving each month. Beyond disrupting the natural environment, overtourism also negatively impacts locals in terms of land, housing and water access.
If you are visiting Maui, it’s more important now than ever to practice responsible tourism. That includes supporting local businesses and tours, observing street signs, and not posting specific locations to avoid trail overcrowding. When swimming in the ocean, make sure to wear reef-safe sunscreen and read the ingredients to avoid harmful chemicals that could seep into the ocean. Above all, respect the nature and wildlife around you and keep a respectful distance to protect the natural environment
Maui is a beautiful island with incredible wildlife, lush forests, and delicious cuisine. Throughout your travels, sample the wide-variety of delicious vegan foods and stay alert to opportunities to better respect, appreciate, and help the complex ecosystem that so many humans, animals, and plants call home.
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Photo: Dana Drosdick