B! BANANANA! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

The first time I was drawn to Banan was when they took over the beloved Yogurtland near UH Manoa. I wasn’t so happy that we had lost the froyo place that got me through many cross country running practices, but when I entered the store I was fairly impressed. It gave off a boho vibe with their lounge seating and hardwood tables. Their overall concept was and still is a non-dairy alternative to desserts like froyo, using local and pure ingredients. Back then the only flavors I remember were The Original (pure banana), The Amazon (acai), and The Riss (a swirl of both). The first bowl I had gotten was delicately designed with cubed fresh fruit and drizzled with honey. The absolute best part that I obsessed over was their puffed quinoa. Slightly like a rice crispy texture, but toasted and tiny in the best way possible.

Funnily enough, this wasn’t Banan’s first location. In 2014 four locals, Zak Barry, Matt Hong, Luke Untermann, and Galen McCleary acted on their idea of serving frozen banana ice cream. They started with a food truck that shared their ice cream to the public. In 2017, the second location opened in central Waikiki, next to the surfboard alley. Three years later, they opened a Banan cube in Kahala Mall. Now only two months ago, Banan opened up their fourth location in Kailua, Oahu capturing the same natural feel they did with their Manoa location. The bright and spacious store is a great addition to their up and coming chain. Although each location offers different variations of their menu, their overall concept is the same and bananas continue to be their main ingredient.

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Inside the new Kailua, Oahu Banan

Now they have flavors like “Stairway to Heaven” made with bananas, ginger, mint, and spirulina. I was able to have a sample of this on my last trip. It tasted strongly of banana with a hint of fresh mint. I personally didn’t taste the ginger, which I was really looking to be hit hard with. Honestly, it wasn’t too far in flavor from the pure banana. The other options that intrigued me were “Pumpkin Almond Spice” made with flavored almond milk and “Olena” made with bananas, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper.

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Locals Only with Banana and Acai Swirl

Unfortunately these two were not available at the brand new Kailua location this time around. In the end, I decided on the “Locals Only”, made with the original Banan and topped with mac nut honey butter, papaya, pineapple, banana, and a healthy drizzle of honey ($7.33 after tax).

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The Mac Nut Butter used in "Locals Only". Available for purchase $13 each.

The kind staff offered to swirl my cup, which allowed me to have the original and the acai flavors for no extra charge. Again, both tasted not surprisingly very strongly of banana (well because the core ingredient IS banana). The acai created a good combination to cut some of the banana flavor since the cup, even though is the smallest size, is filled with a generous swirl of Banan. The “Locals Only” came with the same toppings as my first visit, with the newbie being the mac nut butter. Okay for those who have never had mac nut butter it is a must! Chunky, savory, and buttery in flavor, mac nut butter may surpass even Nutella for me. And if you say “Nutella is the best” they even have a choco mac nut butter to get the best of both worlds.

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Bring Your Own Bowl Program
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Banan's Mantra

If you’ve read my previous article featuring Via Gelato, then you also know that I acknowledge quirky, but what should be obvious ways to coexist with Mother Earth. Banan has a BYOB program where if you bring your own bowl, they “will donate $1 to a new cause or non-profit every month”. They also have recycled artwork for sale by artist Ethan Estess. 10% of the proceeds go to Sustainable Coastlines and 10% will go to Kokua Hawaii Foundation.

Art by Ethan Estess (@ethan.estess.art.science) made of Hawaii’s ocean trash. Priced $1000-1250 each.

It’s worth it to check out this new location. Banan is very welcomed to the Kailua Town community. If you go, make sure to bring your own bowl and reusable utensils!

Banan
Various locations
www.bananbowls.com

Location visited for this article:
Kailua Town Center (where the old Cold Stone used to be)
609 Kailua Rd. Kailua, HI 96734
Ph: 808-690-7008