Portuguese immigrants from Madeira and the Azores brought the malasada — a pillowy, typically square doughnut (without a hole) dusted with sugar — to Hawai’i in the 1870s, when they joined multi-ethnic plantation workforce. Now found on the dessert menu of gourmet restaurants as well as at roadside stands and bakeries, the malasada has taken on various local flavors, from fillings such as guava jelly and haupia (coconut pudding) to toppings like li hing mui sugar (a sweet, salty, tangy mix made from dried plums). It’s hard to eat just one. Here’s a list of our favorite places to indulge.
But wait, there’s more. We’re here to help demystify some of the unusual words you might see on menus like furikake, laulau and lilikoi. And possibly most importantly of all, provide the fun facts on the origins of local dishes.
If you’re happy with your meal, tag us @HawaiiIslander on Instagram to share the love.
Featured Photo: Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery
Malasadas in Honolulu Map
In true Hawaiian tradition, Kamehameha Bakery embraces the flavors of the coconut and the taro plant. Just try their haupia malasada and the poi glaze donut! The first, a decadently soft, fluffy ball of fried dough awash in the essence of coconut. The second, a glistening donut — perfectly formed — coated in poi glaze. Open Monday to Friday 2am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 3am to 4pm.
Honoring their Portuguese roots, The Leonard’s family started making malasadas in 1952 and haven’t stopped. Leonard’s Bakery is a cute storefront that’s hard to miss on Kapahulu Avenue — and you shouldn’t miss out of their hot, sugar-coated treats. Open daily 5:30am to 7pm.
This landmark bakery is where locals and visitors go when only oven-fresh will do. Other places sell baked items that are delivered in trucks and sit in glass cases all day. Not Liliha Bakery. Since Day One, their commitment has been to keep customers happy with fresh cakes and pastries straight from the ovens. Open Sunday to Thursday 7am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 7am to 9pm.
Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery
Quality is important to this bakery which is why they make everything from scratch in house. The malasadas are always made to order and served hot. The pastries are baked from scratch continuously throughout the day and our ice cream is made from scratch. Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery even pasteurizes their own base in house, so they never serve any pre-made ice cream mixes. Open Wednesday and Thursday 8am to 6pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.