story by Liza Simon
photo by Amy Archbold
Back in 2002, when a hui of vegans set out to create the Blossoming Lotus Restaurant in Kapa‘a town, they had in mind a jazzed-up approach to the all-plant diet that is so often dismissed as an austere hill of beans. One measure of their success is the legion of carnivores who now stream into their Hindu art-bedecked dining room each day—we’re talking ketchup-wielding Kings of the Grill who find themselves saying, “Hold the beef, sub the tempeh and pass me some of those Bodhisattva Barbecue Kebobs.”
“The amazing thing is that most of the people we see aren’t coming in because they are vegan, but because they just really love the taste of our food,” says Mark Reinfeld, one of thirteen partners who share the restaurant’s ownership.
Recently, the Blossoming Lotus backers went a step further in spelling out their food credo, publishing a glossy, 245-page cookbook: In addition to the restaurant’s award-winning recipes—everything from the Super Shakti’s Spanokopita to Kaya’s Kosmic Korn Bread to Mysterium Tremendum Chocolate Chip Cookies—Blossoming Lotus’ Vegan World Fusion Cuisine highlights the elixir powers of plants, the philosophy of a no-animal products lifestyle and the social justice involved in organic farming.
If all of this sounds unappetizingly principled, the authors have also included many vegan versions of familiar comfort foods—see, for instance, the dairy-free rendition of macaroni and “cheez.”
In any case, Reinfeld is quick to point out that the degree to which one adopts the all-plant paradigm is a matter of personal taste.
“No two vegans are alike in their preferences,” he notes. “It’s your own path that matters, and it should
Blossoming Lotus Restaurant