My vegan food trip in Hawaii didn’t stop with just the two-three restaurants from my Happy Cow application .
On the second day of our trip, we stumbled upon a Japanese Festival! I believe the occasion commemorated the dead. Participants chanted and danced around a stage where a band was performing. And just like every festival, street food galore!
Surprisingly, even our Luau buffet had vegan selections! The only thing is, the surrounding paradise distracted me from taking photos of the food itself so I can’t show any evidence of my meal =( But here’s what we had: tons of carbs. Filipinos sure do love our carbs so of course I loaded up on them. For Luau dinner: Pasta with vegetables, salad, and Poi-a Polynesian dessert made of taro. I have to say, Poi was rather bland and tasteless, maybe I was supposed to eat it with something else? I should have asked someone to school me on this before I tried, oh well.
The luau experience was a whole-night event, a package deal complete with historical and educational workshops, two free drinks, dinner, canoeing, and a concert-and a free ride from and back to your hotel.
Admittedly, the Mai Tais got me little buzzed. Okay, alot buzzed. But hey, I was celebrating my birthday AND I was on vacation. And speaking of which, as soon I opened the door to our hotel room, a wonderful surprise welcomed me: a bottle of champagne, box of macadamia nuts, and a card with the “Aloha” sign carefully placed on our dining table. The staff of Wyndham hotel got me a gift!
The day of my birthday, August 28th, we decided to hit China Town for lunch. Japantown might have been a more obvious choice considering every other person I’d bumped into was Japanese, but interestingly, I couldn’t find Japantown on the map.
Chris and I rented a car so we wouldn’t be at the mercy of the bus’ arrival. Plus the bus commute would require several transfers and I was afraid I’d be famined before I could reach to food! After we parked, I noticed the place was not as bustling as I had imagined. Most stores were closed and the people were sporadically few, very not China-town-esque. I assumed maybe we arrived at the dead hour of which most of the folks were taking a break, their siesta before going back to their hectic itinerary. Nevertheless, I was impressed with the architectural structures and landscapes of the town.
The purpose of getting there was lunch and unfortunately we couldn’t find a Chinese vegan restaurant. The few people we asked seemed disoriented with what we’re trying to accomplish there. After some strolling and asking around, we found one lady who confirmed there IS vegan dim sum restaurant but it was closed for lunch and won’t re-open until dinner time. Bummer.
Chris suggested to settle for a regular Chinese restaurant because they would definitely have vegetable selections anyway.
Chris and I wanted to hit the other side of the Island, North Shore. We wanted to just mellow down and see the provincial side of Oahu.
We settled to heading down to the beach-which was not a bad consolation at all.
To make it less of a risk, especially because I didn’t know how to swim nor thread! Chris offered that he would be exactly where I would dive, to make sure I’ll be okay. That sealed the deal.
On our way back to the hotel, we drove dark roads in random pouring rain. Normally, I would feel threatened in such situations. After all, you are out in a dark, empty, wet, unfamiliar place. But I was rather relaxed because every now and then we would see bicyclists on the road, indicating I was in safe territory.
Chris and I decided to eat dinner as soon as we get off the dark road of North Beach. And thanks to Happy Cow, we found a little gem called “Simple Joy”.
Simple Joy should rather be called Tremendous Joy. Their comprehensive menu similar to Loving Hut would bring out extreme joy to every vegan who would walk into their door.
After a long day of adventure, we ordered vegan pho and vegan pork dish with side of mushroom and spinach. Plus, we got a free birthday cake!
Our waitress tended to us with no sign of stress or irritation even though she was ready to close shop before we got there. In fairness, while Chris and I were on the road trying to look for the place, I had called Simple Joy to tell them we were on our way. We arrived probably 2-3 minutes before their actual closing. Whew. I consider myself lucky for not missing out on “Tremendous” Joy.