Our burgeoning island has followed the trend going around the country, and frankly most of the world. All over the planet, we continue to stoke the success of the owner-operated, outdoor dining experience. Be it food truck, cart, stall…talented chefs that are hard working and passionate about their craft often rise to the top. And I love it. Literally eat it up. Let’s be real, they’re popping up everywhere for a reason. It’s a unique dining experience.
One of the best of these operations on Maui is located just past the first big curve along the road to Hana, and right before entering Haiku, at Maliko Country Farms. Get ready to be blown away by Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics.
More about Maliko Country Farms
Upon first entering this rather large North Shore compound, you might be greeted by a machete wielding local! But fear not. Throw a shaka, remain open jawed and gawk as they hand prepare fresh coconut water straight from the fruit. They support the quaint cafe, Booch + Coco, that serves up tasty coffee, kombucha, smoothies, and açaí style blended fruit bowls. As you might suspect, all made with these very same fresh coconuts.
Also on property is the ever popular Aloha Aina BBQ. The kiawe smoke billowing from their on premise smoker is a proper sign of the meat served here. Legit American (let alone Hawaiian) BBQ and worthy of its own acclaim, they are all about low and slow, and this crew pumps out some of the best on island. However this article is, as you might have guessed, all about Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics. My vote for best vegan food on the Road to Hana.
Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics is for the plant powered crowd!
It’s no secret, there’s been an explosion of exclusively vegan options when dining out. On Maui alone, over a handful have popped up in the past few years. Long gone are the days where the only vegan selections on a menu were french fries or a green salad. Now the choices are plentiful. We have outstanding establishments on each part of the island, catering exclusively to the plant based crowd.
Furthermore, vegan focused food science has come a long way; and talented chefs across our island use these newer techniques to create mind-blowing dishes. Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics may have less than ten items on their food menu (most being gluten-free), but I’m not exaggerating when I say you can’t go wrong with anything! Got some questions? The helpful team taking your order will always steer you in the right direction. One of my favorite aspects is that after indulging a meal here you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated—full of healthy and clean energy. Something not often said after you pau with a traditional island style plate lunch. This is the perfect pre or post meal to enjoy to fuel up or recharge from surfing, hiking, cycling, just about any activity.
What do I order at Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics?
Being a creature of habit, I do have a few absolute favorites. Most likely, I’m ordering the Macro Bowl. This scrumptious amalgamation of flavors is unlike any other “macro bowl” I’ve tried. Mainly because of the starch and sauce that consist of the base. The mung bean noodles have a great bite and mouthfeel to them; when mixed with their house Ume tahini sauce, it truly creates a uniquely flavorful umami bomb that’s star of the bowl. This base is then topped with perfectly cooked marinated tofu, sautéed mushrooms, hijiki, kale, and local seasonal vegetables. A perfect example of the new age Hawaiian cuisine: marrying Asian flavors; modern American technique; and farm-to-table sourced ingredients.
Another stand out on the menu is the Mighty Bowl. This dish is built upon expertly prepared fried polenta and rosemary-seasoned purple potatoes. On top of that, organic homemade seitan, supplementing a “meaty” heartiness, as well as some crispy shredded cabbage that provides a perfect textural contrast. Next, this beautiful creation is elevated by some the best vegan iterations of “cheese” and “cream” I’ve seriously ever tasted. Their homemade Maui macadamia nut sauce and green chili cream might be better than their dairy counterparts. No joke. There’s also luxurious local avocado and a bright pico de gallo salsa that round out the whole dish—adding even more Latin flare and tying each bite together perfectly.
Any drinks and sweets at Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics?
You might be wondering about the morning, beverage and dessert options, which leads me to the final part of this article. I would be selling the whole operation short if I didn’t highlight the other part of their name, Rebel Tonics! They craft a stellar cup of coffee, brew a wide variety of restorative teas and tonics, and masterly blend frozen specialties. You can go more straightforward and enjoy their delicious cold brew topped with local mac nut cream. Or try the Lovebug Latte—featuring organic coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, as well as maple syrup, along side the magic of Lion’s Mane and Turkey Tail—this is a caffeinated treat like no else. Each of the tonics are also inspiring, rejuvenating…often mind expanding. Just one bite one of their signature frozen concoctions, and you may never go back to dairy again.
I honestly believe that the team behind Rainbow Kitchen and Rebel Tonics craft the best vegan dishes along the Road to Hana; seriously rivaling any I’ve had on this planet, let alone on our island of Maui. They elevate our North Shore community dining scene, with a defined purpose and execution. Either as a gathering place or grab and go stalwart, they simply deserve more praise. I urge you to stop by the next time you are nearby, or make it the purpose of a North Shore journey. We need more places and people like this in our lives!
Homes for sale in Haiku
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