5 Desserts Fit For a Dairy-Free Diet in Honolulu

To mark Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month in February, try these 5 nondairy desserts.

Attention lactose-intolerant foodies: The soft serve from Banán is dairy free.
Photos: Jayna Omaye


When I started feeling sick after eating dairy about two years ago, I didn’t think I could last a month without pizza, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. I love dairy. But I’m lactose intolerant.


I’m not alone: About 65 percent of the population has a difficult time digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. This condition can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is not the same as dairy allergies, which involve the immune system and can trigger rashes, wheezing, trouble breathing and even anaphylaxis.


After scouring many grocery stores and restaurants, I’ve found some good nondairy and lactose-free options (although many are pricey and can be difficult to find, particularly desserts). I always try to play it safe and often ask for the ingredients and substitutes used when foods are labeled vegan or dairy free. I will even ask waiters and clerks if the food was made or processed in the same area as dairy products. It’s always better to be vigilant.


In honor of Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month (yes, this is actually a thing in February), here are five nondairy desserts for my fellow dairy-free, lactose-intolerant folks.


1. Freezes, Pressed Juicery

The menu at Pressed Juicery in Ala Moana boasts dairy-free soft serves—known as freezes—made from fruits, vegetables and nuts. (It’s located on the ground floor between JTB and Bloomingdale’s.) Pick from four flavors—strawberry, chocolate, matcha and vanilla—sprinkled with myriad toppings, including fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cacao drizzle, honey, almond butter, dark chocolate chips, granola and shredded coconut. (The dairy-free cacao drizzle and chocolate chips are my favorites.) The small cup costs $5 and the large is $6. You can add up to three toppings for an additional $1.75.


1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 1375, (808) 949-5272, pressedjuicery.com


2. Homemade Ice Cream, Wing Ice Cream Parlor


Move over store-bought ice cream. Wing Ice Cream Parlor in Chinatown features wacky, out-of-the-box nondairy ice cream flavors made from coconut milk, from the popular Coco Monkey (coconut, banana and chocolate) to coconut milk tea. (There are also lots of regular ice cream options for your friends who love dairy.) A single scoop costs $4.50 and a double is $6.50. Funny side note—Wing sells lactase dietary supplements for 25 cents per pill. (There was a box of them sitting on the counter near the shave ice machine. Yes, Wing also serves shave ice and sorbet.)


1145 Maunakea St., Suite 4, (808) 536-4929, facebook.com/WingIceCreamParlor


3. Muffins and Cookies, Sweet Marie’s Hawai‘i


Sweet Marie’s Hawai‘i offers many options that are soy, egg and dairy free. (All of the foods are gluten free.) Owner Marie Cassel moved from her Kalihi Street brick-and-mortar to a temporary location in a food truck on Kanakanui Street. I found parking right next to the food truck. If you call her ahead of time, she’ll come out and show you what she’s baked for the day. Her dairy-free sweets include muffins, macaroons and cookies. The macaroons are $2.50 each and muffins are $4.50.


SEE ALSO: First Look: Sweet Marie’s Hawai‘i


1818 Kanakanui St., (808) 823-0227, sweetmarieshawaii.com


4. Soft Serve, Banán

Banán sprouted from the idea of making nondairy soft serve from locally grown fruits (banana, of course), vegetables and herbs. From humble beginnings (it started out in a food truck), Banán has expanded to four locations: Mānoa, Diamond Head, Waikīkī and its newest kiosk in Kāhala Mall. You can pick from banana, roots, greens, acai, liliko‘i, green tea and chocolate mac flavors, and top it off with granola, shaved coconut, bee pollen, mac nut honey butter, fresh fruits and other sweets. (You can also choose from one of its specialty creations.) An 8-ounce cup of soft serve costs $4 and a 16-ounce bowl is $7.


SEE ALSO: We’re Going Bananas for Banán, Now in Mānoa, Too


Multiple locations, bananbowls.com


5. Chocolate Brownie, Whole Foods

Every time I’m near Kāhala Mall, I make it a point to stop by Whole Foods and pick up a vegan chocolate brownie. (Soybean oil and water are used as the milk substitutes.) The cost of the brownies depends on weight: $12.99 per pound. (I usually spend about $3 to $4 per brownie.)


Multiple locations, wholefoodsmarket.com


Brunch like you mean it at HONOLULU Magazine’s BrunchFest presented by American Savings Bank on Sunday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako. Embrace the relaxed Sunday Funday vibe with seven local chefs, live entertainment, lawn games and a photo booth during this unique dining experience. Tickets on sale now. Click here.