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.
Punalu’u Bake Shop
Located halfway between Kailua-Kona and Volcanoes National Park, this popular bakery is the perfect place for a scrumptious rest stop on your road trip. You’ll know your close when you catch the scent of freshly baked goodness wafting through the air. This place sits on 4 acres of tropical gardens, perfect for stretching those legs as you enjoy a warm, sugary malasada. There’s also an outdoor restaurant if you’re in the mood to stay awhile. Open daily 8:30am to 5pm.
Tex Drive In
Since 1969, Tex Drive In has been serving up “ono kine grindz” that just means super tasty food. There’s viewing windows so you can watch along as your malasadas are being made to order. Outside has a small dining patio with ocean views. There’s a full menu but it’s alright if you’d like to start your meal with a hot and sugary malasada. Open daily 6am to 6pm. texdriveinhawaii.com
If you’re a fan of comfort food on the go, while you’re in Hawaii, definitely give Zippy’s a try. Since 1966, Zippy’s has been serving all the local favorites, and they have Napoleon’s Bakery to bring you warm sweet treats after your meal. The bakery has a lot of different options, malasadas included, freshly made to order! Open Monday through Thursday 11am to 7pm, Friday 11am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm. zippys.com