Ask a group of islanders about their favorite malasada shops in Oahu and you're likely to hear an array of strong opinions about which bakery offers the best consistency and flavors. Malasadas are Portuguese-style doughnuts with no holes in the middle. They are traditionally fried and then rolled in granulated sugar. Many Oahu shops offer malasadas filled with flavors such as custard, chocolate, and haupia.
A staple for Monday-morning office runs and events of all kinds, the malasada is a celebrated island confection. Following are shops that are consistent contenders for being the best. If you're visiting Oahu, be sure to stop by.
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The lines are long at almost any time of the day at Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu. This popular malasada shop on Oahu is a must for island visitors and a treat for residents. Always-available flavors are original, cinnamon sugar and li hing (dried plum) sugar, or you can try one filled with custard, dobash (chocolate), haupia (coconut) or a rotating fourth flavor. Leonard's also makes pau doce, a Portuguese sweet bread. Other bakery items include cookies, cakes, and pies. Located on Kapahulu Avenue, the storefront opened in 1952 and has been a mainstay ever since.
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Beach days in Kailua ought to include a visit to Agnes' Portuguese Bake Shop in Kailua. The quaint little cafe with plenty of seating offers pastries and coffee. Each hot malasada is made fresh to order, and many argue that this shop is a major contender for the best malasada on Oahu. If you're in the mood for something different, the pies at Agnes' have their own following. Where else can you find seasonal flavors such as mango cheese or cran-apple upside-down pie? Closed Mondays.
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After 100 test batches, Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery in Kaimuki has come up with the perfect malasada: leaves no oily aftertaste, doesn't deflate and tastes just as good the next day. Because of this, Pipeline has quickly become a favorite of locals. Malasada flavors include classic, cocoa and li hing. Its coffee malasada is mixed with sugar and Pipeline's own coffee blend. You won't find filled malasadas here — those aren't true to form. Pipeline also sells homemade cake bombs, brownies, cookies, scones and ice cream — all made from scratch without artificial coloring.
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Since 1978, Kamehameha Bakery in Honolulu has been serving up some of the best malasadas on Oahu. You'll love the soft, fluffy haupia malasada made from coconut. The taro malasadas are also delicious. Kamehameha Bakery also uses taro to make its signature poi glazed doughnuts. Also be sure to try the banana fritters and bear claws.