Gluten-Free Aloha

Considering how far I’ve traveled around the world, it seems strange that I have yet to visit Hawaii. Lately, I’ve been hearing so much about the rising level of gluten-free awareness there that I’m tempted to head out to the Hawaiian Islands and do some first-hand research. (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, right?)

A while back, my friend Liisa wrote a report for the Gluten-Free Guidebook about celiac-safe spots she’d found in Oahu and Kauai. Her list includes Sweet Marie’s — the first dedicated gluten-free bakery in Kauai — Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Kauai, and Down to Earth in Honolulu. Last month, another friend sent me a photo to show off a delicious-looking gluten-free sandwich she was enjoying while on vacation in Hawaii. It turned out she was at Living Foods Market & Cafe in Poipu, Kauai, a combination grocery store and café featuring specialty gourmet goods (including many gluten-free items), organic products, and an extensive wine selection.

Next, my friend and fellow travel writer Lucas Aykroyd passed along a list of gluten-free restaurants and shops in Hawaii, with notes on each spot from the Hawaiian Tourism Board:

  • Chrysalis Foods (Oahu) – Looking for a gluten-, dairy- and nut-free spot to eat while shopping at Ala Moana Center? Break away from the food court and visit the Vim ‘N Vigor store for the Chrysalis foods counter. The menu changes every week, offering local favorites such as mochiko chicken and mochi treats.
  • Up Country Bakery & Cafe (Hawaii Island) – Satisfy your breakfast taste buds with gluten-free mixed berry muffins, gluten-free banana bread slices or gluten-free pancakes. On your way to see the volcano? Grab a sandwich on gluten-free bread and take it on the road.
  • Maui Brick Oven (Maui) – Located in Kihei, this restaurant initially gained popularity for its gluten-free pizza. Locals and visitors frequent this eatery for its impeccable service and menu selection that also includes pasta and salads.

I’m almost ready to buy a ticket. Has anyone else discovered some great places to eat in Hawaii? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

Photo courtesy of the Hawaiian Tourism Board

6 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Aloha

  1. Papalani’s in Poipu on Kauai has all their gelattos and sorbettos labeled if GF and/or DF. I had different sorbettos 6 times over an 8 day period with no problems! The Grand Hyatt on Kauai has GF menus for every single one of their restaurants. The Yardhouse in Waikiki has their staff well trained-one of the waiters brought my cider in a water glass because he was afraid of cross contamination from one of their beer glasses.

  2. HIlary, our family also has Hawaii in our sights — in large part due to the many gluten free friendly restaurants and hotels. We have received many reviews on GlutenFreeTravelSite. There are some reviews of places not mentioned above — just take a look at our Hawaii page of reviews ( ). Of course, you can also search by town/zip, too ( ), but the Hawaii page pretty much sums up all the establishments that have been reviewed on ALL the different islands. In particular, I’m interested in Kauai and staying at the Grand Hyatt — partly due to the fact that that’s one Hawaiian island I’ve never visited (and it’s so varied in its topography), and Kauai also seems to be increasingly gluten free friendly. If you enter Kauai in the search box on the page above, you’ll see all the places reviewed on the island — and there are several reviews of restaurants at the Grand Hyatt. And in fact, the Hyatt chain has made efforts recently to offer gluten free options at all their hotel properties. Omni, Fairmont, and Ritz Carlton do as well. Thanks for the great post.

  3. Thanks for this info, Hilary. I’m traveling to Maui later this month and will look forward to trying some GF Brick Oven pizza!

  4. Aloha, Gluten Free Living magazine just published (Sept’15) an article about Big Island’s extensive gluten-free scene.
    Big Island Palani Bakery is carried by most grocers and resorts. They wholesale, sell at Farmer’s Markets and do individual mail orders for their Hawaiian flair, local ingredient treats, and traditional breads. Probiotic GF Poi bread or Kona Deep Chocolate GF/vegan cake anyone? Facebook page has the most current information on where to buy while on island or off. Thanks Hilary!

  5. Checked Hawaiian Airlines for GF options and they state on their site they do not provide GF options in meals or snacks on any flights, even international. But they say you can bring all your own food. I wish they understood this is more than an inconvenience particularly on long haul flights. For those with celiac and T1D, fairly common combination in the T1D community, gf carbs are essential to managing blood glucose.. Adequate hydration and sufficient gf carbs on long hauls are essential to reduce the chance of triggering DKA, can be life threatening, in T1D. So it takes on another level of importance this airline, and others, is ignoring. Of course we take extra gf snacks, bottled water, but shouldn’t an airline carry at least some GF snacks, even for purchase?

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