Gluten Free Island Guide: Big Island, Hawaii

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gluten free kona hawaii beach

I will give you the best places to eat gluten free on the Big Island. My husband and I stayed there and explored so many beaches. I would say that the Big Island of Hawaii was my favourite island for nature. We checked out the Volcano National Park and it was a once in a lifetime experience.

We will be back to the Big Island for sure. The restaurant scene was good and the island has so much to offer for people who are looking to relax in paradise.

Interesting Fact: The first explorers arrived in the Hilo region around 1100 AD.

Gluten Free Restaurants Big Island Hawaii

I think that the restaurant service industry on the Big Island, is very good at dealing with allergies and gluten free. I use the following tool to see how the restaurant deals with cross contamination and food preparation.

Gluten Free Big Island Hawaii

Gluten Free in South Kohala

Racha Thai, Waikoloa is a 100% gluten free place! See their Facebook page for their menu items here. The traditional Thai cuisine is very yummy.

Hours of Operation: Open daily from 10:30 am to 8:30 pm.

Location: 68-1845 Waikoloa Rd, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738, USA

Village Burger in Waimea cooks the burgers on a separate grill to avoid cross contamination. You can choose from beef, fish and even a vegetarian burger called Waipi Taro Burgers. It has no fillers and it’s made with taro, leeks, carrots and zucchini.

You can either have a gluten free bun or the patty served on greens. They only put potatoes in their deep-fryer so you can have fries…………….. Awesome!

To contact them prior to your visit to answer all of your questions, here is the Village Burger website.

Hours of Operation: Open from Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 8 pm and on Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm.

Location: 67 – 1185 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743, USA

Noodle Club is also in Waimea. You can get pho made with bone broth and rice noodles. Make sure to let them know that you have celiac and they need to cook the noodles in a separate pot of water.

You should also contact them prior to arriving so they can look after you.

Hours of Operation: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 9 pm and Sunday and Monday from 10:30 am to 5 pm.

Location: 67 – 1185 Mamalahoa Hwy A106, Waimea, HI 96743, USA

Gluten Free in North Kohala

Sweet Potato Kitchen is 100% gluten free and 100% organic with tons of vegan options. You can call ahead for pick-up as well if you are passing through.

There are tons of options for you. To check out their seriously delicious looking menu items, check out their Facebook page.

Hours of Operation: Open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Location: 55-3406 Akoni Pule Highway, Waimea, HI 96743, USA

Gluten Free Kona

Gluten Free Kona Hawaii (South)

Lotus Café Express food truck is a 100% gluten free. I have never seen a food truck cater to me, so I was pretty excited.

See their page here for more information.

Location and Hours:

Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm at the South Kona Green Market in Captain Cook.

Saturdays from 7:45 am to 12 pm they are at the Keahou Farmers Market .

Double check on their page for up-to-date schedules.

Gluten Free Restaurants in Kona Hawaii (North)

Royal Thai Cafe has traditional Thai dishes. You must tell the server that you have celiac and then they can use separate dishes and utensils.

Indulge in a curry dish……………… they are great!

Hours of Operation: Open Monday to Friday from 11 am to 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Location: Keauhou Shopping Center, 78-6831 Alii Dr STE.402, Kailua-Kona, HI

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Gluten Free in Ka’u District

Hana Hou Restaurant is the place for you if you are craving gluten free wedges, which you can pair with a bun-less burger. They have natural ingredients and can make accommodations as needed.

I had a hamburger steak with sautéed onions without gravy. They have a nice lilikoi vinaigrette that is gluten free too. If you are on your way back from the volcano park, it is on the way:).

Hours of Operation: Open daily from 8 am to 3 pm on weekdays and 8 on the weekend.

Location: 95-1148 Naalehu Spur Rd, Naalehu, HI 96772, USA

Gluten Free Restaurants in Hilo District

Conscious Culture Café where they have clearly marked gluten free items on their menu. I indulged on the beet salad and the conscience catch and loved it. See their menu here.

Hours of Operation: Open daily from 8 am to 8 pm.

Location: 110 Keawe St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Lucy’s Taqueria offers delicious Mexican food where you can get corn tortillas or nachos with corn chips, yum!

Hours of Operation: Closed on Tuesday and open every other day from 10:30 am to 9 pm.

Location: 194 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Gluten Free Resorts on the Big Island

Hilton Waikoloa Village has options for gluten free if you are looking to stay in a resort rather than your own place. See this for Hilton Waikoloa Village Gluten Free items.

Restaurants can change owners, chefs and menus: please contact the restaurant to ensure a gluten free meal can still be offered.

Big Island Beach
Big Island Beach

Accommodations on the Big Island

It’s no big secret that Hawaii is expensive. So you can save money on cooking at home and booking a place on Airbnb or Booking.com.

We found a lovely place to stay that had everything we needed. Not to mention the fresh chicken eggs from our hosts. We found the hosts to be so welcoming and friends that we will keep in touch with.

Gluten Free Resort Beach Front

Planning a Gluten Free Day Trip

Do not stress about finding a place to eat on the go. Instead, take the stress-free approach by packing a lunch.

Since grocery stores carry gluten free bread, you can make some sandwiches or a big salad with granola bars.

Even better, pre-order something from your favourite restaurant and pick it up the day before.

If you are looking for some family fun activities, check out this 10 days in Hawaii with the kids article.

Gluten Free Groceries on the Big Island

There are many grocery stores on the Big Island. I frequented the Safeway in Kona many times. They also have Foodland Farms in Waimea and Kea’au. The island also has KTA Super Stores and other health food stores where you can find a ton of great natural food and gluten free products.

Flying to the Big Island

There are may different airlines that fly to Hawaii, so see what options suit you and your family.

Once you have it booked, you can confirm a gluten free meal. If you are flying with the airlines below, you can see their meal options:

Air Canada – Special meals guidance

United – Special meals guidance

American Airlines – Special meals guidance

Delta – Special meals guidance

 

Tools to Use on the Road

You can use this product to test meals out at restaurants in Hawaii.

I like to test new restaurants that I have no experience with. I don’t always eat at 100% places, so that is when I use it.

Things to do Big Island Hawaii

Volcano National Park

The national park is a must see! It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a volcano close up………….

…….to see the glow of the lava and to hike in an old volcano crater.

We had lunch at the restaurant there and as we ate, we had an amazing view of a steaming volcano crater. How cool is that?!? I didn’t reference the Volcano House restaurant above, but I did successfully eat a huge salad there.

I highly recommend taking a hike and seeing this amazing place. Hiking through the rain forest was so cool and the lushness or it all and then appearing at a completely contrasting old black volcano crater is breathtaking.

The entrance fee is $25 USD per vehicle and they actually have free days. In 2018 those days were November 11 (Veterans Days), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), April 21 (First Day of National Park Week) and January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). For other information about the park and updated free days, see their website here.

Beaches

The Big Island has stunning beaches everywhere. You will not be disappointed in them once you decide where you are going to go. Here are my favourites:

  • Kekaha Kai Beach – you drive through an old lava field to get here which is so cool! Then you have a mix between lava, soft golden sand and palm trees. There was a Monk Seal hanging out on the beach for the day while we were there! We also saw turtles, so you get to see a variety or sea animals.
  • Ho’okena Beach – it is amazingly scenic with a cliff on the left, salt and pepper sand and beautiful weather in the bay. We came here three times so that tells you how amazing we thought it was.
  • Black Sand Beach – it has completely black sand, which is so unique. This is also a big place for sea turtles to lounge on the beach, so be ready.

Snorkeling

At Captain Cook we rented a kayak from Kona Boys and kayaked to the Captain Cook monument. Along the way we saw a whale swimming in the bay. Once we got snorkeling the corral reef looked pretty amazing. There were schools of fish along the shallow areas and I recommend going in the morning.

Going to the End of the World

Here it is believed that you make a wish (but don’t tell anyone) and it comes true.

The waves are crashing on the lava cliff and go so very high that onlookers are constantly oohing and awing. I recommend taking a seat and taking it all in.

Our world has such beautiful sights to see.

Search for Lava on the Big Island at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

Gluten Free Big Island Hawaii

Become a member of my celiac life without borders tribe and subscribe to my newsletter for even more awesome itineraries for other locations.

I have lots of experience with Hawaii, so I can make your life a little bit easier. See my guides for more guidance: 

Best Gluten Free Island in Hawaii

Gluten Free Guide to Oahu

Gluten Free Guide to Maui

Regardless of which island you chose, you will have a great time. The natural beauty of the every island is breath-taking.

If you follow my gluten free guide on the Big Island, it will not disappoint. Spend a moment and send me an email with any questions you have at GlutenFreeTraveller.  Follow me on FacebookYouTube and Pinterest.

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Cheers, I hope you enjoyed my lovely trek,

Brett – The Ultimate Gluten Free Traveller

32 thoughts on “Gluten Free Island Guide: Big Island, Hawaii”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! We are going to Hawaii (three islands including the Big Island) this summer and we are gluten-free because our one son is medically gluten-free. I’ve been trying to research safe places for us to eat and this is super helpful!

    Reply
    • Well that is great! I have guides on the Big Island, Maui and for Honolulu. The restaurant industry is pretty good there, so I was happy that they took it very seriously. Cheers and let me know if you have any questions before or during.

      Reply
  2. That is a quite useful article & a great blog overall – I just happened to look for information about travelling to Hawaii and stumbled upon this post. Well, since my girlfriend has also celiac disease this may come in handy. Our last trip was by the way to Indonesia – usually you can get lots of gluten-free food there, but what he had to look after was the “decoration” that comes along with every meal: Roasted onions (made with wheat of course) on top of almost everything.

    Reply
    • I know exactly what you mean, I was in Indonesia and had to be on alert. Happy others are trying new places and cuisines. Have a great day.

      Reply
  3. Thanks for this great and helpful guide. I know from experience, traveling with dietary requirements can be tricky. I’ve always dreamed of going to Hawaii and its reassuring to know food would not be an issue.

    Reply
  4. This is such a great post – I have friends that can’t do gluten (allergy), so its guides like these that make travel so much easier for them. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks Mel. There are so many people out there that cannot tolerate gluten because of celiac, allergies or other autoimmune diseases.

      Reply
  5. I have been thinking of doing a trip to Hawaii in exactly this way. I had a similar discussion with a friend a few days back. I am so glad to read this today. such travel tips are extremely helpful to travellers coming from different walks of life.

    Reply
  6. What a great and comprehensive list of restaurants. I love when establishments take care in creating an inclusive dining experience, because it’s very important! I have never heard of Nima, but it seems really cool!

    Reply
  7. That’s really great and detailed guide. It’s good that more and more restaurants and bars around the world consider various needs as gluten-free or vegan food. I’m sure you had a splendid time in Hawai 🙂

    Reply
  8. wow I’m amaze you tried this places, you must have love gluten free food. Thanks for the list this is really helpful for travelers and health conscious 🙂

    Reply
  9. This is a great guide and I know it will help a lot of people. I had to give up gluten in 2011 to see if it was causing some medical symptoms and I don’t remember seeing anything like this out there!

    Reply
  10. A lot of great info here! Looks like there are loads og great places to eat, it can be difficult to find gluten free options sometimes but it is definitely becoming more recognised!

    Reply
  11. This is a great post. I had to go gluten free for a few months in 2011 and couldn’t find any resources like this. Nice to know that there are so many choices in Hawaii. Many people don’t realize how many foods have gluten that they would never know of! These choices would be great even for people who don’t need to eliminate gluten.

    Reply
  12. This is very interested as I recently started a gluten free diet. Not because I’m allergic but I feel healthier without it. I will definitely keep in mind

    Reply

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Brett Duncan Gluten Free Traveller

“Committed to inspiring people with Celiac to travel the world and explore the limitless opportunities to live Gluten Free anywhere.”

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