In the interest of helping our fellow travelers better plan their trips to Hawaii, we’ve started a new feature called “Ask a Travel Expert.” In our first installment, Kim asks about finding gluten-free food in Oahu. If you have a travel question you’d like to read about on this blog, then leave a comment below and we’ll do our very best to answer it!
Q: Where can you get gluten free food on the island of Oahu? We are staying at the Hilton Alana Doubletree hotel.
A: After poking around a bit on the web and making a few phone calls to area restaurants and stores, I have found a bit of information for you and all Celiac travelers looking for places to dine in Oahu.
Gluten-Free Breakfast/Mid-Day Snack
Down to Earth is an all vegetarian natural foods store with four locations on the island of Oahu. You’ll love their gluten-free breads, cereals, nondairy milk substitutes, hummus, fresh nut butters, and Lara bars. Every food item in the store is clearly labeled with every single ingredient so there is no fear of cross-contamination. Also, the South Kings Street location is just 1.5 miles from your hotel. This may be the perfect stop to fill up on gluten-free treats for your climb up Diamond Head or picnic at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
Cheeseburger in Paradise goes beyond most restaurants by offering a Gluten-Free menu which has selections such as Tropical Tilapia and St. Barts Citrus Chicken as well as many sandwiches and burgers which are Gluten-Free sans bun. Also, it’s located conveniently in Waikiki Beach about a mile from your hotel!
Roy’s Restaurant is a fine dining Asian Fusion restaurant that has a fantastic reputation for catering to individuals with food allergies, including gluten-intolerance. When you call to make a reservation, be sure to note that you’re Celiac ahead of time. Roy’s chefs are trained in safe allergen food preparation and many items on their menu are gluten-free or can be made by changing something as simple as soy sauce to something else. Also, don’t miss the flourless chocolate soufflé, a Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Hot, Molten Center; served with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s so luscious that you may almost forget you have food allergies at all. If you want to read a more personal review of Roy’s, here is a blog entry about one couple’s Gluten-Free experience.
Outback Steakhouse also provides their customers with a Gluten-Free menu which features gluten free options like Outback’s famous Alice Springs Chicken and Baby Back Ribs. Top it all off with their Chocolate Thunder From Down Under, a gluten free desert. Their Waikiki location is located less than a mile from your hotel.
Bubbies Ice Cream and Desserts should be high on your list for gluten-free snacking since Bubbie’s mochi is a favorite summertime snack of Kim from CeliacChick Blog. Kim as well as Yum from the Book of Yum Blog both swear by the deliciousness of these ice cream balls rolled in pounded sweet rice which are available at Whole Foods Markets across the US. The best part? At the Honolulu shop, you have your choice of flavors including lychee, strawberry, mango and 15 other flavors to tingle your tastebuds. Check out their location at 1010 University Ave which is about 1.2 miles from your hotel.
Sweet Marie’s located on the Island of Kauai is the only gluten-free bakery in the Hawaiian Islands. Many Celiac customers often stop by the island of Kauai just to indulge in her gluten-free muffins, double chocolate fudge brown rice brownies, and chocolate coconut macaroons. She also ships her pastries throughout the islands. Plan ahead and you could have a care package full of gluten-free goodies waiting for you in your hotel room when you arrive in Oahu! And if you’re getting married or just celebrating a special day, Marie is known for her Gluten-free Wedding Cakes which she’ll be showing off in April at the Hawaii World Class Wedding Expo in Honolulu.
As Sweet Marie, who also has a gluten intolerance, told me on the phone, cross-contamination at these restaurants can still occur, so be sure to be as specific as you can to avoid a Celiac attack. As beautiful as the Hawaiian Islands are, many local restaurants have a lot to learn on how to cater to individuals with allergies. For more information on traveling with Celiac visit CeliacTravel.com for ideas on how to arrange for a smoother dining experience.