I’ve always loved vegetables. Even as a child, my parents never had to force me to eat them. I often find myself interested in seeking out vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based options because of this.
Living in town for most of my adult life, I’ve been spoiled with the abundance of dietary options; however, when I make my way back home to Pearl City, I have a hard time finding something without meat or seafood. This past weekend, I was thrilled and shocked to find some vegan options at Pearl Highlands Center’s food court. It’s also been a while since I visited this food court, so I was really happy to see how the renovation turned out. Here’s what the food court looks like now if you haven’t been in a few years like me:
My first stop for a vegan dish was at Up Roll Café. They have only one vegan protein option: vegan inari (fried tofu skin). I’ve had some lackluster tofu poke in my life, so I wasn’t expecting much, but their inari was seasoned in a sweet tamari sauce that made it very enjoyable. I chose the umami shoyu as my sauce not knowing that it was already going to be seasoned, but if I were to go back, I’d probably get spicy mayo. I got the iced mamaki tea to drink and loved the subtle taste.
My second stop was The Elephant Shack. They have two vegan items: the vegan lab and the ganesha pad Thai. Both of these were so well-seasoned, tangy, and delicious. The lab had generous amounts of herbs and the pad Thai was the perfect mix of tangy, sweet, and salty. I highly recommend the lab as someone who loves herbs and often asks for extra. I didn’t have to or feel the need to! I also got a Thai iced coffee because who can eat all this food and not feel tired after?! I needed to make sure I didn’t have a kanak attack in the middle of the day.
Overall, I was very happy with all of the things I tried. The portions were incredibly generous and I had leftovers to take home for the next day.
I hope to see more vegan options pop up on the west side!