Yesterday we had to go to an appointment in Waimea (Kamuela) which meant a beautiful scenic drive up the Big Island's Hamakua coast. It was a gorgeous sunny day with a clear view of Mount Haleakala on the neighboring island of Maui.
After my appointment in Waimea we looked forward to our treat, a stop at Tex Drive In in Honokaa Town to take home a box of hot malasadas. I say "treat" because it is definitely not a diet friendly snack or dessert.
If you have never heard of a malasada, it is a puffy donut without a hole that is deep-fried, rolled in sugar and best eaten while hot. Malasadas are a Portuguese snack introduced by the Portuguese workers imported to Hawaii to work in the cane and pineapple fields over a century ago.
The Tex's malasadas are eagerly devoured by locals and visitors alike with over 60,000 malasadas being sold every month! You can order them plain or with fillings. They used to offer a dozen different fillings years ago, but have now narrowed it down to: bavarian creme, chocolate creme, strawberry, and waia'wi (strawberry guava).
Tex Drive In is located conveniently on Highway 19 and you cannot miss it. The restaurant and property was renovated a few years ago and now boasts a drive thru window if you are in a hurry, indoor and outdoor eating areas, a small tropical garden that you can stroll in, clean restrooms, and new plant and gift shop. Also a fine view of Haleakala on clear days.
Tex Drive In does sell local fare such as plate lunches, burgers, and saimin which are okay, being what I consider just average local food. It is the malasadas that bring people back time and time again.
If you would like to try your hand at making your own malasadas, use this Hawaiian Malasada Recipe.