Our family likes to celebrate special days with freshly made warm malasadas. One of us recently celebrated a birthday, so I got up early to pick up a dozen from a local diner.
What are malasadas?
Malasadas are a Portuguese donut – essentially they are large donut-holes: deep-fried yeast balls, coated with sugar, sometimes cinnamon, and sometimes filled with custard or guava jam.
In Kihei there are two places to pick up malasadas. Our go-to place is the Home Maid Cafe in Azeka Plaza. They open at 6AM and will make either ‘sugar’ or ‘cream-filled’ malasadas to order before 10AM. The Sugar Beach Bakery in North Kihei also sell them, but I believe they stop making them at 9AM.
Our family always gets a dozen (for about $15), half and half (half cream-filled and half sugar). It used to be the kids preferred the sugar ones, now it seems they prefer the cream (custard really) malasadas. There’s motivation to come get them!
Note: best to eat these fresh and warm. Once they cool they just aren’t as good.
What’s the Portuguese connection?
Did you know, in the 1800s sugar cane plantations on Hawaii were in need of workers. Plantation owners started bringing immigrants from around the world to Hawaii to work. Some of these immigrants came from Portugal, while others came from China, Japan and the Philippines. Here is an interesting article about this sugar cane immigration. These immigrants brought many of their own cultural traditions, beliefs, foods to Maui.
On Maui, you can check out the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens at the beginning of Iao Valley (before you get to the State Park). While the gardens themselves are in disrepair, the signs tell the interesting Maui-specific story.