King’s Hawaiian Malasadas – Hawaiian Doughnuts

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One of the recurring suggestions for fried dough in Southern California — which is harder-to-find in the Bay Area — is malasadas. Although originally from Portugal, the malasadas seems to have proliferated in Hawaii. As with many fried doughs, their genesis began immediately before Lent and was a reason to use up all the pantry-stored sugar and lard, items which which have been verboten during Lent.

King’s Hawaiian is well-known all over the country for its sweet bread, a fluffy creation made with pineapple juice which is well-suited to the likes of French toast over a roast beef sandwich. King’s Hawaiian bakery is based out of Gardena although they have a full-blown restaurant in Torrance and a smaller to-go, fast-food restaurant next to their plant in Gardena. When I lived in the area, I admit that I never ate at the restaurant. Something about Kahlua-pork nachos just didn’t seem right to me.

However, considering the lack of Portuguese and Hawaiian establishments in Northern California, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up so early one morning, I headed out in search of the illusive malasada. My host recommended that The Local Place, the to-go restaurant near the manufacturing plant would be easier and closer to my next destination in downtown Los Angeles. I called ahead of time to make sure they had the desired confection as I headed forth. It was barely 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday only to have my hopes dashed that by the time arrived at 9:00 a.m., they were completely sold out.

Not deterred and with a little time before breakfast was slated, I drove pel-mel to the Torrance restaurant, fingers crossed. With a much more expansive bakery than the smaller satellite establishment, the King’s Hawaiian restaurant’s bakery not only has the much-desired malasada, but a full selection of their bread products, cakes and pies, and a large selection of regular doughnuts. The malasada was the object of my desire and even there, I had a decision to make; plain, chocolate-filled, or fruit-filled. I asked the girl behind the counter what her favorite was and she suggested that the chocolate-filled was traditional for Hawaiians, known as Dobash Malasadas.

Dusted in granulated sugar and the size of a large croquet ball, I found the dough texture of King’s Hawaiian malasada to be very light and fresh. It was easy to get caught up in the airy texture of the delicate crumb. The chocolate pudding filling, however, was less spectacular and I think I would have preferred a plain, unfilled version. For mass-produced chocolate pudding, it really wasn’t that bad, truthfully. So often it can be grainy or pasty and here it was extremely creamy and rich. It just had the faint hint of the synthetic mix from which I know it comes. But I give King’s Hawaiian tremendous points for the incredible freshness of their fried dough offering.

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