When driving the Hawai’i Belt Road, there are a few must-see stops along the way. One of those stops is the Punalu’u Bake Shop for their fresh malasadas – the favorite Hawaiian fried treat.
The Punalu’u Bake Shop bills itself as the “Southernmost Bakery in the USA” and indeed it is not far from South Point, the southernmost point in all of the USA.
Exiting your car, the smells of the bakeshop fill the air. They will lift you effortlessly through the door and guide you to the end of the line.
As you make your way to the cashier, all of the fluffy (and gooey, if you prefer) goodness is awaiting your eyes in the display cases.
What will it be? The classic rolled in sugar? Chocolate covered? Maybe a fruit or cream filling is more up your alley? Any way you like it, Punalu’u Bake Shop has you covered.
Malasadas are a doughnut with a lovely sugar coating. Though a traditional malasada is just sugar, they also could have many fillings including custard, coconut-flavored haupia pudding, or fruit.
During the 19th century, immigrant workers came to Hawaii. Many came from the Azores and Madeira who already knew how to work with sugar cane. These laborers brought many of the flavors popular on the island today, including malasadas.
The malasada is really popular around Mardi Gras. On Fat Tuesday, Catholics use all the fats and sugary ingredients ahead of Lent (think of the origins of King Cake). In Hawaii, Mardi Gras is known as Malasada Day!
My first time here I went with the Taro filled version, but this time I went with the classic rolled in sugar. My dad chose the apple-filled version. Judging by the photo, I think he was pleased with his choice!
If you can wait to eat your malasada (I couldn’t), make your way outside and listen up to some Hawaiian favorites while you chow down. Even the bakeshop has pulled in a local musician to entertain the crowds.
Speaking of crowds, this is a regular stop for the tour busses and adventure tours from Kailua-Kona, so be prepared for an extra-long wait if you hit the bakeshop at just the right (or wrong) time.
As for us, when the tour buses start rolling into the parking lot, it’s time to get back to the Hawai’i Belt Road.
It’s a beautiful drive, especially in this stretch near Punalu’u. I was envious of this gentleman on two wheels while I was piloting a Dodge Minivan.
But, you can’t fit your family on a motorcycle! Onward to our next stop, Punalu’u black sand beach.
Visiting Punalu’u Bake Shop
Truly the best place for a mid-road trip stop. They are open from 8:30 am to 5 pm every day. Grab a few extra malasadas for the road! Punalu’u sells much more than just malasadas – try the sweetbreads or sandwiches for a hearty lunch on the road. Check out their website for all the goodies.
I’ll take the apple filled one rolled in sugar !!!! Yum Yum