Muki Dogs: Neighborhood hot dog cart offers plant-based dogs
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The hot dog is an American staple, and now even vegans can enjoy the classic food in Kaimuki at Muki Dogs! That’s where owner Gene Marques is serving up plant-based dogs from his cart that the neighborhood has come to love. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson stopped by to try one out and see if it lived up to the real thing.
Marques is originally from Guam and moved to Hawaii with the Air Force about six years ago. After serving 21 years as an aircraft mechanic, he retired in January 2020. He moved to Kaimuki shortly after and ended up falling in love with the small, tightknit community.
“My parents ran a hot dog stand while growing up in Guam, so I knew the ins-and-outs of the operation and viability,” he says. “Late in my Air Force career, I knew I was going to go into business for myself. I ended up acquiring the stand about four years ago and stored it away as a contingency.”
After retiring, the pandemic soon followed, changing the economic environment. That’s when Marques realized his contingency plan was actually his best bet.
“Understanding the current market and room for growth, I decided to offer vegan only, which allowed me to keep it simple and provide a healthy contribution to the community,” he says. “I was dead set on making it in Kaimuki, and I wanted the name to reflect, so I came up with ‘Muki’ as a derivative of Kaimuki.”
The dogs are made from peas, fava beans, coconut and sunflower oil, with a little apple juice. The best way to take it? Marques recommends asking for “the works,” which includes relish, Sriracha mayo, ketchup, mustard, and Spanish crumble.
“Everything on the cart is plant-based — that includes my buns and condiments,” he adds.
So next time you’re in Kaimuki, be sure to stop by Muki Dogs! You can also follow the cart’s offerings on Instagram @mukidogs.
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