Over the past few years, veganism has been on the rise, and it has yet to show any signs of stopping according to the recent statistics. With its ever-increasing popularity, you’d assume that most, if not all restaurant chains have already added at least one vegan option to their menu to appease the vegan community.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, as they offer no vegan-friendly options to their customers.
Therefore, if you’re looking forward to your trip to the restaurant, you may have to change your plans. But what is L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in the first place?
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A Brief Overview Of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is, as the name suggests, a restaurant chain based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is best known for its Hawaiian-themed cuisine.
The restaurant chain is owned by Eddie Flores and his partner, Johnson Kam.
Though it was originally located in Hawaii, L&L has now expanded to other countries, including the United States, New Zealand, Malaysia, and California.
Considering its popularity, it’s a mystery why L&L Hawaiian Barbecue doesn’t offer at least one vegan option, but there’s actually a good reason for this.
Why L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Doesn’t Offer Vegan Options?
If you’ve ever been to a Hawaiian restaurant, you’d know that the majority of Hawaiian cuisine consists of local ingredients like fruits, seafood, and meats.
For that reason, Hawaiian cuisine is generally not vegan.
This is the main reason why L&L Hawaiian Barbecue—a restaurant chain that’s based heavily on Hawaiian cuisine, has no vegan-friendly option on its menu.
If you’re interested in their menu, the next section has got you covered.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Menu
If you’ve ever eaten in L&L Hawaiian Barbecue before starting a vegan diet, you may find it disheartening to know that a restaurant with delicious food offers no vegan options. So, with that said, here’s a closer look at some of their most popular options and their corresponding descriptions and ingredients:
- BBQ Beef Bowl is one of L&L’s signature dishes characterized consisting of barbecued beef served on rice in combination with steamed veggies.
- BBQ Cheeseburger consists of ground beef patty and cheese, covered with L&L’s Special BBQ sauce, which we assume is also non-vegan.
- BBQ Chicken features a boneless chicken marinated with BBQ sauce.
- BBQ Chicken Bowl is the same as Beef Bowl, except with chicken.
The L&L Hawaiian Barbecue menu consists of many other items or options that are essentially variations of these four signature dishes. BBQ Mix, for example, is a combination of chicken, beef, and ribs. Other examples include:
- Chicken Katsu is a dish consisting of several pieces of deep-fried boneless chicken served with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue’s popular katsu sauce.
- Fried Shrimp is breaded, fried shrimp with tartar sauce
- Light BBQ Chicken is essentially BBQ chicken, except it’s served with a lighter platter, which consists of a scoop of brown rice and green salad.
Though this is the type of information you probably won’t use, it’s important to confirm that L&L Hawaiian Barbecue does indeed offer zero vegan options.
Now, you might be wondering, what’s their most popular dish?
Unfortunately, their signature dish, plate lunch, is also completely non-vegan.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Plate Lunch
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is best known for its plate lunch.
Plate lunch, also known by locals as the state food of Hawaii, is basically a plate arrangement that consists of several elements or combinations, including:
- Two servings of rice
- One serving of macaroni salad
- A serving of local seafood
- A chicken entrée
- A source of protein
The idea behind a plate lunch is to combine several recipes in a harmonious mix.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, in particular, allows you to decide what type of seafood, chicken entrée, and source of protein you want on the plate lunch.
But while they do give you the ability to change the contents of your platter, they will always contain animal byproducts. Therefore, a plate lunch is not vegan. But don’t let L&L represent all Hawaiian restaurants out there. Some restaurants in Hawaii that offer Hawaiian cuisine offer several vegan options.
In other words, you can still enjoy Hawaiian cuisine on the island while still sticking to your vegan diet, and that’s the main topic for the next section.
4 Best Vegan Restaurants In Hawaii
If you plan on visiting Honolulu, Hawaii in the near future, you most definitely need to have a list of restaurants you can visit to enjoy the Hawaiian cuisine.
The good news is apart from the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, there are several other restaurants worth mentioning in Hawaii. Let’s look at four of these restaurants:
Banán is a restaurant that mainly sells bananas, hence the name, though it’s more accurate to say it’s an ice cream shop rather than a restaurant. Nevertheless, they offer one of the best vegan options you can find in Hawaii—soft-serve desserts.
Their products consist mainly of bananas that have been frozen and crushed to serve as the base or smooth soft-serve in their sweet delights.
If you’re wondering if there’s any milk or animal byproduct involved, there aren’t. In fact, they also do not add sugar to their desserts, so they’re completely vegan.
2. Island Vintage Coffee
Island Vintage Coffee is, unsurprisingly, known by the locals for their fine coffee, Kona, to be more precise, in addition to their breakfast and lunch offerings.
Though not completely vegan, the restaurant offers several vegan options, unlike L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. Some of their most popular vegan items include:
- Acai bowls are desserts consisting mostly of fruits. Most of their acai bowls are vegan, and Pineapple Mint Moana Bowl happens to be one of the best.
- Poke bowls are likewise a Hawaiian-exclusive dish. They consist mostly of protein sources like tuna, tofu, beef, and salmon. However, Island Vintage Coffee takes a different approach with their poke bowls by incorporating vegan items like beets, potatoes, and sea cucumber for the same effect.
- Sandwiches from Island Vintage Coffee are, to say the least, a marvel to both the eyes and mouth. Again, most of their sandwiches are vegan as they mainly use vegan substitutes for what you’d normally find in a sandwich.
Even their bacon sandwich makes use of tempeh, a vegan substitute for meat, though their sandwiches mostly consist of veggies and fruits.
The best part about the restaurant is that the staff are quite accommodating, even going as far as changing the ingredients of their items to your liking. Their grilled mushroom burger, for example, can be made vegan very easily by asking the staff to replace certain non-vegan parts with their very own vegan garlic aioli.
3. Juicy Brew
Juicy Brew is yet another local favorite in Hawaii. The restaurant is best known for its innovative dishes and desserts, and tourists agree with such sentiment.
The restaurant is also known for incorporating dishes from foreign countries.
Unlike Island Vintage Coffee, this restaurant is completely vegan, so you can expect myriads of vegan options. Examples of their vegan items include:
- Poke bowls consist mainly of fruits, like watermelon.
- Bibimbap, though technically a Korean dish that features rice, kimchi, and other ingredients, is one of Juicy Brew’s most popular items. It consists of aioli, green onions, and sesame seeds, so it’s completely vegan.
- Tacos al pastor is a dish from Mexico City that’s made of boneless pork shoulder slow-cooked to perfection. While it’s not originally vegan, Juicy Brew made it so by incorporating passion fruit, corn tortillas, onions, and pineapple chunks, creating a product that tastes similar to the original.
- Yuzu bundt cake is, as the name suggests, a cake, but unlike most cakes, this one is vegan mainly because it doesn’t make use of egg, milk, or cream.
Juicy Brew may not be the most “Hawaiian” restaurant in the locality, but they still incorporate certain Hawaiian elements into their items, including the dishes that were inspired by other countries. And since it’s a vegan restaurant, you don’t have to be cautious of your choices, which is admittedly quite liberating.
4. Poké Bar
Poke bowls are one of the staple dishes in Hawaii, and you can’t leave the island without trying at least one poke. That’s basically the main idea behind Poké Bar—to let you experience the wonder that is poke bowls. But just like Island Vintage Coffee, they’re not completely vegan, so you may have to take your time picking.
Apart from their items, the way their menu works is also quite thrilling.
Basically, you can build your own poke bowl by choosing which ingredients you want to include. And if you’re not sure which to pick, you can always ask the staff for vegan recommendations, which they should gladly oblige to.
Although L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, unfortunately, doesn’t offer any vegan options, one must remember that L&L is not the only restaurant on the island. Other shops and restaurants offer myriads of vegan options for you to choose from, though it may take some time to look for them. With this guide, however, it should be easy.