It’s Bananas at Banán, Now in Mānoa, Too
These frozen treats boast 90 percent local ingredients.
Banán has grown from a food truck on Monsarrat Avenue to a brick-and-mortar store in Mānoa, serving its popular take on banana soft serve.
Photos: Jaclyn Saito
At Banán, the four owners believe in farm-to-table and table-to-farm, which is documented on the cleanly designed walls in its new Mānoa store. For them, this means locally sourcing as many ingredients as possible, and then, instead of discarding food waste, composting it or giving it to farms for pig feed.
Banana soft serve is a classic vegan treat introduced to the owners of Banán by one of their friends a couple years ago. They were so blown away by the simple recipe with delicious results, they wondered, “Why hasn’t anyone made this in Hawaiʻi?” Taking advantage of the Islands' abundant banana supply, they got to work, creating recipes made with locally sourced ingredients.
“We read that 85 to 90 percent of all Hawaiʻi’s food is imported, so our mission is to flip that ratio and source 90 percent of our ingredients locally,” says Luke Untermann, one of the founders.
You may have seen the Banán truck parked on Monsarrat Avenue. Turns out it was so successful, the owners had started searching for a second location. They found the perfect space across from the UH Mānoa campus, where Yogurtland used to reside. They got an extra boost with the help of a Kickstarter campaign this February, raising $35,000, way above their initial goal of $20,000.
The new location officially opened in April. It has all the charm of the truck, complete with laid-back seating areas, including an artificial grassy area for customers to lounge on and picnic-bench-style seating. There’s even a water refill station, but make sure you bring your own bottle.
Inside the new Banán shop.
Banán's soft serve is thicker than frozen yogurt, so even though a serving may look small, it’s more filling than you’d expect. A small cup of it could even stand in as a meal.
You can choose whether you want a cup ($4), a bowl ($7) or a papaya boat ($6), and then select your flavor, ranging from green tea to acai. Lastly, you can add toppings for an additional cost (ranges from 50 cents to $2 each). Or you can get one of the preset Banán specialty creations, which include toppings ($6.50 to $14).
Our favorite combo is the Chunkadelic with chocolate mac nut Banán ($7)– a blend of Ahualoa Farms’ macnella and banana topped with mac nut honey butter, local chocolate, granola, coconut and honey. We have gotten this combination several times, and it never disappoints. The mac nut honey butter is AH-MA-ZING; we could probably eat this stuff on toast or just spoon it out of the jar. It’s that good.
Banán, Food truck: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., 3212 Monsarrat Ave., or Mānoa store: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 1810 University Ave.; bananbowls.com