What’s a malasada?
Well, it’s sort of a doughnut without the hole. It’s pretty much like a jelly or creme filled doughnut. It’s a Portuguese recipe that has found quite a popular following in Hawaii. We heard from more than one local that the place to find the best malasadas on the Big Island is at the Tex Drive-In, just down the road from the Waipi’o Valley in the town of Honoka’a. Though it sounds more like a roadhouse in the Texas panhandle than a Hawaiian bakery, the long line of locals queueing up for their freshly made malasadas tells you otherwise. Tex’s has a run-down look that makes you wonder if the place is even open for business.
We went in search of this Big Island landmark after our tour of Waipi’o Valley. We were given some less-than-specific directions to the restaurant from one of the restaurant’s local fans. We drove back-and-forth along Highway 19 for nearly an hour trying to find it. We were just about to give up, when we spotted it just off the highway on the eastern edge of Honoka’a town. We missed it the first time because we took a route through town that dropped us off on the main highway past Tex’s.
Tex Drive-In makes their malasadas with an unusual assortment of fillings that give them a uniquely Hawaiian flair. I went for the Guava jelly malasada. It was served warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Very decadent and quite delicious. It took an enormous amount of will power on my part to suppress the need to wolf down a dozen of those things.
So, if you’re looking for a unique treat after a day of exploring Waipi’o Valley, stop by Tex Drive-In for a malasada. It might even be worth a special trip from Kona or Hilo just for this sweet snack.