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Let's talk story about Hawaii


Donuts, Malasadas and Andagi

Donuts are one of America's favorite treats. It's delicious, inexpensive and there is variety. It can be eaten for breakfast, for a snack and even dessert. My favorite is the chocolate glazed donut but the cake donuts are a very close second. Donuts go well with coffee and milk. Yum.

I researched the history of donuts and found out that there are several stories about its origination. One theory suggests that they were introduced in the mid-19th Century to America by the Dutch settlers who are also known to have introduced cookies, cream pie and cobblers. There is also archeological evidence that they were made by prehistoric Native Americans in southwestern USA. I'd like to think that wherever the donuts came from, thank goodness that we have them.

The Portuguese malasada
The Portuguese malasada
The Okinawan andagi
The Okinawan andagi

In many of my Let's Talk Story articles I talk about the influence that the various ethnic groups that came to live in Hawaii have had in our community, especially through their food. This goes for the donut as well. Here in Hawaii we not only have American donuts but we also have malasadas and andagi. They are both types of donuts that were introduced in Hawaii by the Portuguese and Okinawan immigrants respectively.

Bekery The Portuguese malasada is light and fluffy. It is made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated weith granulated sugar. Traditional malasadas do not have holes and do not contain fillings. Historically, the reason for making malasadas was to use up the lard and sugar in the house before Lent. They were eaten on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday.

The Portuguese laborer from the Azores who came to work on Hawaii's plantations in 1878 brought along the malasada. There are bakeries on the islands that specialize in malasadas. Two popular stores that sell them in Honolulu are Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu and Champion Malasadas on Beretania. They are also sold at the Punahou Carnival each February. In Hawaii, the Portuguese people called Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent, “Malasada Day”.  

AndagiThe Okinawan andagi is a bit different. It actually looks like a solid dough ball. It is brown and crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside, not fluffy like a malasada. I have been told that the Hawaiian andagi has been adapted to the local palate by adding evaporated milk and vanilla to make it softer and sweeter. 
Andagi was made at home by the Okinawan Andagifamilies living in Hawaii but became popular at the Hawaii State Farm Fair in the 1970's. You can buy them all year round at Shirokiya at the Ala Moana Center, a store famous for selling Japanese products.  And they sell over 100,000 each year at the Okinawan Festival held in late summer. They are cooked in huge vats of oil right in front of you. The local people look forward to these brown spheres the size of cue balls bobbing in hot oil.

Donuts, malasadas and andagi… they all taste great especially when it's hot! Ono!  (Hawaiian word for "delicious")
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