Monday, August 14, 2006

Hawaii #3

Having eaten our weight in Malasadas, Blognut needed a few days off, during which we subsisted mainly on papaya and Mai Tais. With our stomachs well rested we wished Kauai aloha, and boarded a tiny airplane for our quick flight to Maui.

No trip to Maui would be complete without taking in a sunset from 10,000 feet, atop the apparently-still-active Haleakala volcano. So Blognut hops in a bright red Chevy Cobalt rental and begins our long climb up to the summit. While thousands of visitors a year make it to the top of Haleakala, how many sit proud, high above the clouds munching on a Donut – not many we're guessing. But we certainly plan to do so.

We stop in the town of Wailuku looking for a place to stock up on Nuts. Before long we spot a large dog clutching a bag malasadas – perfect! We park the Cobalt and step inside Home Maid Bakery. Ever so Hawaiian, Home Maid specializes not only in Donuts, but also in sushi. While Blognut has happily devoured the contents of many-a-bento box, the pairing of raw ahi with our object of obsession seems less than appetizing – we spend all our time in the Donut section.

While the racks are well stocked, Blognut once again is met with the elusiveness of the malasada. Home Maid fries them fresh every morning from 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and every evening from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. It is now 1:00 and Mrs. Blognut for some reason feels it inappropriate to wait three hours for a Donut - something about not wanting to spend her entire #@$%$% vacation in a donut store. But our woes are quickly lessened at the site of a Nut never-before-seen by the eyes of Blognut – a Black Bean Sugar Donut (shown above). "You mean like the kind you put in burritos?" I say to the Donut-Lady. "I don't know," she replies, "I don't eat them."

So, while the origins of the Black Bean Nut remain a mystery, it's possible they're simply a variation on the Portuguese-derived Malasada, brought to Hawaii in the late 1800s by immigrant workers. They are also suspiciously similar to the Chinese-Hawaiian Manupua. Literally meaning chewed up pork, the Manupua is a slightly-sweetened yeast-raised bun usually filled with shredded pork but often stuffed with black bean paste instead. Whatever the derivation of our Beany ball of dough, one bite has us deep in the throws of a Nut-flavor complexity previously unknown to Blognut's palate.

A burst of granulated sugar hits our tongue first, providing both ample sweetness, and a wonderful grainy texture. Once through the sugar, our incisors find their way into a soft and chewy dough, not unlike that of a Mark Israel-born Nut. And then, as if striking a pool of crude oil, the doughy sweetness gives way to a glistening vein of chunky black bean puree, which, as we had hoped, instantly has us in a Mexican mindset. It's a hard Nut to process and we nearly short circuit our gustatory centers as they try and categorize it as either savory or sweet. However, by no means is it bad – just strange. In the end the sugar prevails, and the black bean flavor seems merely an accent.

We also grabbed a Buttermilk Cake Nut, which, for obvious reasons, received far less attention than the Bean Nut. To make up for this lack of appreciation, and to temper its scathing jealousy, we lugged the Buttermilk to the top of Haleakala to enjoy the breathtaking view with us, while scoffing at it's black beaned partner, now resting in the belly of Blognut. We were so taken back by the scenery that we remember next to nothing about the Nut itself. But it doesn't really matter, for we can now say that Blognut has enjoyed a Donut atop a volcano.

Buttermilk donut with Haleakala crater.

Donut Scores:
Black Bean Sugar - 7.7
Buttermilk - ????

Home Maid Bakery
1005 Lower Main Street
Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the record, 'manapua' is a short form of the Hawaiian "mea ono pua" which means 'yummy pork thingie' that's what the old Hawaiians named this snack. In Chinese it's called 'char siu bao' or 'BBQ pork bun' and can be had in baked and steamed form at any good Chinese bakery or dim sum restaurant. Great blog, you're making me miss Leonard's Bakery malasadas, that's the mainline supplier on Oahu!