Have you ever gone on vacation where you tried a local delicacy and still craved it after your visit? Well, one of my favorite food happens to be in Hawaii, where they are known for their delicious island dishes. Despite our long lists of Hawaiian foods to try, this one food was on top of our list, Hawaiian Malasadas. (Pssst… stick around, and I’ll share a Malasada recipe I love).
What Are Malasadas?
Before I talk about my tasty experience with this delicious goodness, let’s talk about what Malasadas are. Originating in Portugal, Malasadas (aka Filha in Portuguese) are a type of doughnut, but without the hole in the middle. They are very yeasty, but so full and fluffy on the inside with a crispy outside layer that is most of the time coated in sugar. When the first Portuguese immigrants moved from the Portuguese Island of São Miguel to Hawaii to work on the sugar cane plantations in the late 1800’s, they brought the Malasadas recipe with them. Therefore, the Portuguese Malasada recipe become a staple in Hawaii.
Where to Find Malasadas?
There are several bakeries in Honolulu, Hawaii that offer Malasadas. Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu is the most famous baker of these sweet treats in the area. We made sure to add this bakery on our top list to try during our visit.
When we first arrived at Leonard’s Bakery, there was already a long line outside, and it was almost mid-morning, on a weekday. I expected this as I knew this was a hotspot location! The bakery offered pastries, cupcakes, and of course, the Malasadas. We were just there strictly for the Malasadas.
What Flavors are Offered?
You can order the Leonard’s Malasadas non-filled with either plain/sugar coating, cinnamon sugar, or Li Hing (powder plum, very popular here). You can also order them with fillings inside. The Malasada filling choices include: guava, chocolate, macadamia nut, custard, or in my favorite, Haupia (coconut pudding). We tried to order one of each Malasadas but they were already out of a few flavors… see, I told you they’re pretty popular.
Once we got back in the car, we immediately pulled them out of the box to eat! It tasted just like doughnuts, except, the dough was nice, crispy, and fluffy. The inside was light and fluffy. For the filling, I’d say the custard tasted like custard and chocolate, well, like chocolate. We did not get to try the macadamia nut as they were out. The non-filled Li Hing was just a sugar (plus the powder plum) coated Malasada that when you bit into it, tasted just like a sugar coated Malasada but with a bit of tanginess (sweet/sour) from the Li Hing to balance out the sweetness of the dough. Next, the Haupia (coconut), was amazing; it tasted of a rich, coconut, almost like the consistency of coconut pudding but much more creamier. If you love coconut, like I do, this was definitely my favorite one out of all the flavors!
All in all, if you visit Hawaii, I recommend you try this amazing dessert! There are several bakeries that offer Malasadas, but Leonard’s is the most popular. If we go back to visit Hawaii, I’ll be putting on my list to head back to Leonards’ Bakery as well as try all the other Malasada Bakeries in the area. So, Happy Food Travel! Until Next Time! Mahalo! (P.S. Recipe is below ⇣ )
Places to try Hawaiian Malasadas in Honolulu:
1.). Leonard’s Bakery: Address 933 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816;
Price: Malasadas: $1.30/each; Malasadas Puffs (filling): $1.65/each. You can find their most current price here.
Get there early to get the best selections and beat the hungry crowd! You can find their hours here as well as their other locations (yes, they have other locations)!
Update 1/16/2021: It’s been years since we have had this delicious dessert. So, I decided to make my own. If you want to learn how to make your own Hawaiian/Portuguese Malasadas, here is a Malasadas recipe that I have tried from this website: https://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/malasadas/. I hope you enjoy making your own Hawaiian/Portuguese Malasada at home!