Finding Delicious Malasadas on the Big Island

Big Island Guide Travel Guide

You Really Need to Try Malasadas, Hawaii’s Favorite Fried Treat

A holdover from Portuguese explorers who frequented Hawaiian ports throughout the 19th century, locals who inhabit the islands today have taken the fried treat known as malasadas and created something uniquely Hawaiian that no visitor should miss.

filled malasadas

Consisting of flour, yeast, eggs, milk, butter, and sugar, there’s no real nutritional benefit to a malasada (let alone 2 or 3 – they can be addicting), but for a morning pick me up, an after lunch treat or dinner dessert, these deep-fried balls of delight are a perfect answer to a nagging sweet tooth. Most places in Hawaii offer a variety of fillings and toppings to customize the flavor to your liking. The coconut or lilikoi filling with powdered sugar is an island favorite.

malasadas sign

Because Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii were largely sugarcane plantation workers, the access to sugar was easy and immediate. Traditionally a dessert served for Fat Tuesday in preparation for Lent, the Hawaiian version of malasadas have taken ownership of Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday, seven weeks before Easter), which is known throughout the islands as Malasada Day.

rows of malasadas

If you’re seeking out this delicious doughy ball of goodness, your best opportunity to check out the widest variety of malasadas is on Malasada Day. Credited with establishing modern Malasada Day, Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu is the most popular destination for malasadas on its special day, but there are special events, street festivals, and food trucks throughout Hawaii’s Big Island where you can get your hands on a variety of excellent malasadas and compare notes for next time.

tex drive in famous for malasadas

Tex Drive In
45-690 Pakalana St
Honokaa, HI 96727
(808) 775-0598

Punaluu bake shop sign

Punalu’u Bake Shop
Route 11, HI 96772
(808) 929-7343

Manuela Malasada Truck Sign

Manuela Malasada Co Food Trucks
(808) 747-5531
65-1148 Mamalahoa Hwy
Waimea HI 96743
Queen K Hwy near Puako Beach Drive

Related Articles