When living on an organic vegetable farm, I definitely got my fair share of healthy food (which I loved!), but every so often, my sweet tooth came a-knocking and nothing answers its call better than donuts, or in this case malasadas.
What are malasadas? I’m so glad you asked! They’re only one of the best things ever aka fluffy, yeasty donuts (sans hole) covered in sugary goodness that were brought to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 19th century by Portuguese sugar plantation workers. While opinions may vary, ask anyone on the Big Island where to find the best ones, and more times than not, you’re bound to hear the name Tex Drive In.
So, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, my friend Sierra and I jumped in the car and drove about an hour away to visit this holy grail of malasadas. Dunkin’ Donuts, eat yer heart out.
Located in Hanoka’a along the Hamakua Coast, Tex Drive In has been slinging “ono kine grindz” (“delicious food” in Hawaiian Pidgin) including loco moco, kalua pork, burgers, and hot dogs since 1969, but it can be argued that they’re best known for their malasadas. People from all over the world stop by to try them, and on their busiest days, they can fry up between two to three thousand of these bad boys! Now that’s dedication.
Fresh out of the fryer and still slightly warm, for me, it was truly love at first bite. I am a sucker for anything fried and doughy and these met that criteria quite spectacularly. Despite the fact that they were fairly large, they never felt too heavy, and although I’m not a fan of fillings, I couldn’t resist trying the guava (even though I definitely preferred the unfilled version…yes, I had two for research. Don’t judge). Other filling flavors include lilikoi (passion fruit), pineapple, mango, and Bavarian cream.
So if you’re ever on the Big Island, especially if you’re driving from Hawi to Hilo, make it your goal to stop by this little gem. I promise you that the rolling green hills and unbelievable views of the ocean make the drive alone worth it. Besides, you don’t want to be that person who skipped out on this treat during your trip to Hawaii. If you are, shame on you! Just kidding. But seriously, don’t miss out, and when you do go, would you mind bringing me back one (or two)? Mahalo!