Feb 2015

Leonard’s Bakery – Honolulu (Kapahulu)

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

While most people visit Hawaii for a dose of sun and surf, I came for Spam and malasadas instead. Following our “light” breakfast of musubi and onigiri at Iyasume, The Astronomer and I strolled over to local legend Leonard’s Bakery for fresh Portuguese doughnuts served hot from the fryer.

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

According to the bakery’s website, Leonard Rego, the grandson of Portuguese immigrants who came to Hawaii under contract to work in the sugar cane fields, opened his eponymous bakery in 1952. At the suggestion of his mother, he began making malasadas in 1953 in honor of Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday). They’ve been a hit ever since.

Leonard's Bakery - Honolulu

Leonard’s malasadas are served both plain and filled. Over the course of two visits to the bakery, The Astronomer and I sampled a few varieties of each kind. The original malasada ($1), the shop’s bestseller, was light, yeasty, and dusted with super-fine sugar.

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

Quite possibly even better than the original flavor was the one finished with li hing mui powder ($1). The salty dried plum’s sweet and sour notes were ono-to-the-max.

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

The filled malasadas ($1.35 each) were terrific as well with their piping hot exteriors and smooth, cool fillings—talk about a marvelous mouthful. The haupia (coconut) doughnut, one of the shop’s standby flavors, hit the perfect tropical note.

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

The custard filled “puff” had a Boston Cream Pie-like quality to it, minus the chocolate.

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

The Astronomer’s favorite was the tart and tangy Flavor of the Month: lilikoi (passion fruit). All three fillings were impressively balanced and just sweet enough.

After tasting our way through most of Leonard’s beloved malasadas, it’s easy to see why this little bakery has such a big reputation. Deep-fried paradise, plain and simple.

Leonard’s Bakery
933 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone: 808-737-5591

One year ago: China Poblano – Las Vegas
Two year ago: 
Katz’s Delicatessen – New York City
Three years ago: Pailin Thai Cuisine – Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Four years ago: Scoops Westside – Los Angeles (Palms)
Five years ago: Taco Taskforce: Los Angeles’ Best Goat Taco
Six years ago: Pie ‘n Burger – Pasadena
Seven years ago: The Art of Eating Bánh Tét
Eight years ago: Le Bec-Fin – Philadelphia

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3 thoughts on “Leonard’s Bakery – Honolulu (Kapahulu)

  1. Aloha Cathy,
    Surprisingly on the East Coast in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where most of the whalers to Hawaii came from, in one of the oldest enclaves of Portuguese immigrants mostly from Azores Portugal during their Annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament now going into its 101 year the “Malasadas” sold are like large round puffy flying saucers. Annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament: //portuguesefeast.com/

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