Chef Roger Mooking recently traveled to the United States and Jamaica, and returned with tons of photos and stories about the incredible food culture. We hope you’ll be inspired to explore different cuisines and exotic ingredients this summer. We’ll be publishing a new post every Thursday over the summer, so stay tuned and enjoy Roger’s sixth post below! Make sure to also check out Roger’s latest solo album, Feedback, available on iTunes.


A Malasada is not a doughnut. It is so much more than any doughnut you have ever tried. It’s extra soft on the inside, extra crunchy on the outside, extra over-stuffed with filling and just so good.

Leonard’s is an institution and a destination. Tour companies stop here as a “sight,” dropping off tourists by the busload with pride, to enjoy this gem. We drove past the infectious aroma many times before finally stepping in to see if it was worth every grain of sugar.

Malasada are Portuguese-style doughnuts that were brought to Hawaii with a wave of Portuguese imports. Of course, they’ve taken on a local twist, with such options as li hing (a powder of salt, sugar, and dried ground plum), haupia (coconut) custard, or guava custard.

I’m trying to be increasingly health-conscious with my food choices, but cannot deny a great treat like this, so we ordered a box of Malasadas.

They have a satisfying crunch from the li hing sugar on the outside, as well as the fried dough that is immediately softened by the very tender inside. It’s a very satisfying first bite to say the least. It’s sweet but not overly so, which is a pet peeve of mine with many desserts or sugary snacks.

I will be back to Hawaii, if not for Malasadas alone. So. Damn. Good.