Every culture seems to have some variation of addictive fried dough--Americans have Krispy Kreme, the French have beignet, the Italians have zeppole, and the Portuguese have malasadas. Leonard's Malasadas have achieved cult status on Oahu. We make a pilgrimage every time we are home with fingers crossed that the parking lot won't be too full. We managed to get the last parking spot after dodging a busload of Japanese tourists vamping with their iPhones in one hand and a malasada in the other. Old school Oahuans will recall that malasadas used to come unfilled--your only choice was the type of sugar they were rolled in--plain or cinnamon. Plan on two to three malasadas per person, at least in public--left alone with a half dozen I could easily eat them all.
Now a days, you have your choice of fillings! Filling of the month for December is lilikoi (passion fruit). Score! We also had dobash (chocolate) filled and haupia (coconut) filled versions. The drive home was torture with the pink box of hot malasadas nestled on my lap but it allowed for the filling to cool to an eatable temperature. As a malasada purist my favorite remains the unfilled cinnamon sugar--simple is almost always better when it comes to fried dough.
Leonard's has two Oahu locations as well as a mobile malasada truck. They also serve other pastries and pao dulce, a Portuguese sweet bread. Don't kid yourself, the only reason to go to Leonard's is the malasada--piping hot, filled or unfilled they are why this establishment has stood the test of time since 1952.