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Posted on January 11, 2019

Do Vegetarian-Friendly Luaus Exist?

Are Luaus Vegetarian-Friendly?

A luau buffet with many fresh fruits and vegetables is always present at vegetarian-friendly luaus.
Every luau offers lots of fresh fruits and vegetables

by Hayley L., January 11, 2019

One of the more stressful things for people on vacation with dietary restrictions is finding somewhere to eat. With so many people embracing plant-based diets, you shouldn’t have to scour a city or, in our case, an island to locate tasty options.

The good news is that vegetarians and vegans can find plenty of great plant-based options anywhere in Hawaii. But what about at a luau? Are luaus vegetarian-friendly?

If you’re on the fence about booking a luau because you’re worried about the famous pork-intensive menu, we have some great news for you! Not only are luaus filled with exciting entertainment and family-friendly fun, but they’re also safe for vegans and vegetarians too.

And no, you won’t have to just eat the salad!

Vegetarian-Friendly Luau Options

Poi has always been a staple of the Hawaiian diet
Plant-based poi has always been a staple of the Hawaiian diet, and it remains a vegetarian-friendly luau food

Being a vegetarian or a vegan at a luau can be a little tricky, though, especially as you stare down at the kalua pig and lomi lomi salmon everyone’s digging into. Don’t despair, you definitely won’t have an empty plate. As we mentioned, pork, chicken, and fish are very big at luaus. But there are also delicious plant-based foods that you’re likely to find at any Hawaiian luau.

The root of the taro plant, for example, is mashed into a staple dish called poi, which is 100% vegan. Poi is one of the iconic side dishes found at every luau. As delicious as it is, poi won’t be the only thing for you to eat.

Every luau buffet is different, of course, but white rice and steamed or stir-fried vegetables are common dishes at all of them. Purple sweet potatoes, taro rolls, green salads, fresh fruit platters, and desserts can round out the meal. Haupia, the traditional Hawaiian coconut pudding, is vegan and served at many luaus as well. Many luaus will prepare a meat-free alternative (pasta, veggie burger, etc) if you request it in advance too!

Can You Give Me a Few Examples of Vegetarian-Friendly Luaus?

Brightly colored taro bread rolls on a luau buffet table.
Taro is also made into delicious purple bread rolls

Sure! Rock-A-Hula Luau, for example, offers lots of vegan options, including locally grown sweet potatoes, a whole fresh sweet pineapple, tofu poke, a long rice salad, and even a grilled vegan garden patty. The Gateway Buffet at the Polynesian Cultural Center offers a delicious vegetarian chili to complement its wide array of fruits and vegetables.

You might be concerned about finding food you can eat at these festive Hawaiian parties, but there’s no need to be. Dietary restrictions aren’t a new concept, and Hawaiian luaus have always made sure to cater to them.

Luaus are usually very accommodating. If you’re worried about the menu, just ask when you book your reservation!


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