Auntie Ali’itasi, a local Hawaiian natural healer and plant based eating advocate, strives to instill healthy eating habits while teaching sustainable living through her small local food truck called Aunty’s Lil Green Hut.
“It’s a teaching truck as much as it is a food truck,” said Ali’itasi as she explained the purpose behind starting it. From crepes to rice bowls and brownies to lemonade, the food truck sells gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian items. For anyone who eats meat, the menu offers a breakfast crepe served with chicken sausage and eggs.
This truck is an Aloha project, explained Ali’itasi, a way for her and her family to work together, to give back to their community, and hopefully remind local residents that there is a better way to feed themselves.
Ali’itasi explained how she not only strives to teach individuals how to eat healthier, but also teaches sustainable living, which her family does by trying to do what they preach.
In order to live by their teachings, the family said they grow a lot of their own produce. The food truck is surrounded by self-grown vegetation, which includes fresh mint, basil, spinach, and a lilikoi tree.
The truck is not only surrounded by vegetation, but also recycled furniture and decorations, with indie music being played in the background.
“We agreed that nothing to be used in our set up would be new. Everything had to be recycled or used. Little by little we are putting everything together,” said Ali’itasi as she excitedly pointed out used cushions she had recently found.
Ali’itasi explained how her original desire to start the truck came from wanting to help local family and friends who had been affected by food related illnesses as a result of poor diet.
"We hope to remind the community of what a nice way a plant-based [diet] is for nurturing yourself.” She said she wants to remind locals of how their ancestors used to eat.
If an individual looks at the history of the islanders they hardly ate meat but lived on a primarily plant-based diet, she said
Ali’itasi explained her inspiration for the food truck came from her grandmother. “My grandmother was born and raised in Laie, back in the day when everything was sugar cane fields, taro patches, and fish ponds.”
Raised in a family that practiced la’au lapa’ao and herbal medicine, Ali’itasi said her grandmother was a master cook who taught her family the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. “My grandmother used to own…one of the first bakeries on the island over by the Laie LDS temple, where she would bake her famous coconut bread, sell fresh fish, and serve her community.”
Ali’itasi said since then, her family has been following in her grandmother’s footsteps by always asking themselves: “What can we do? How can we be of service?”
Sophia Maria, a sophomore in graphic design from Laie and Ali’itasi’s daughter, said, “You are what you eat. If you eat living things you will be full of life; if you eat dead things you are putting dead energy into your body. When I eat healthy I am happy.”
Ali’itasi said, “So many people think eating organic is too expensive and that they can’t afford it, but it is really easy–you just have to believe it’s important. In the end, we are going to pay for it. If we don’t pay for it up front, we will pay for it later in health.”
The truck has a rating of 4.5 stars from 51 reviews on Yelp, with 36 reviewers giving it 5 stars. Spencer L. from Switzerland posted, “We happened across this gem of a magical food truck while touring the north end of Oahu. Aunty's Lil Green Hut was a great experience, from the nicely decorated seating area to the vertical garden and surrounding area...”
“We had the southwest bowl and crepe. To top off our experience for dessert we had the Nutella crepe [and] gluten free vegan brownies! Everything there was delicious. I will surely return when I'm on the North Shore again.”
KawehiIani S., from Kaneohe, also posted on Yelp, “Love their food. I am hooked. I am not a vegetarian or vegan but the food is amazing. It is so flavorful and tasty that you don’t even miss the meat.”
However, the truck also has two 1 star reviews and two 2 star reviews. Caroline H. from California gave it 2 stars and said, “Although we loved the concept of vegetarian, healthy food amidst al the fried food in Hawaii, there was just too little food on the plates for the price (and we are not big eaters).”
The food truck is located on 56-505 Kamehameha Highway in Kahuku, Hawaii. For more information, visit Aunty’s Lil Green Hut on Facebook or Instagram.