Today is Fat Tuesday (day before Lent), so a good malasada is in order!
Of course, in Okinawa, malasadas are not traditional, and neither is Fat Tuesday nor Lent. Luckily, Hawai’i themed things are pretty popular in Japan! In Okinawa, there are a few places you can find a malasada (which by the way, these are NOT just donuts).
The BEST place in my opinion is Mermaid Bakery in Ginowan. While they are not necessarily fried in front of your eyes and piping hot (unless you happen to arrive right when they cook them), they have all the key elements of a good malasada and as close as you’re gonna get in Okinawa: right taste, just enough airy/fluffy mochi-mochi texture, cooked evenly and thoroughly with a nice outer layer, good amount of sugar, just fatty enough but not oily. They even have different flavors if that floats your boat, but honestly I just like a good solid plain malasada. Nothin’ fancy. My only complaint is could be cooked slightly browner on the outside, but being away from home I will take what I can get.
There are not a lot of places to find legit malasadas on island, but there are 2 other places that I know of to get a malasada (and no, while I love Lawson, their prepackaged “malasada” is nothing more than a regular donut, ugh). I have not tried Agnes Bakeshop Japan yet… I will eventually get over there to see how legit it is. Malasada Garage is in the food court of the Aeon Rycom Mall, but I cannot really recommend them… I was devastated last year on Fat Tuesday after eating their subpar malasada; even though they cook it in front of you, mine came out a) undercooked, b) taste was off, and c) too greasy with clumpy sugar.
At a few food fairs there have been vendors selling “malasadas” but they have never been even a little close to the real thing. I think many people just see a malasada as a sugar donut, and don’t taste/see/understand the difference, so maybe for them finding a legit place is not very important. But for me… you just can’t start Lent without one!
So for this Fat Tuesday, my husband picked up malasadas from Mermaid Bakery (after I demanded it of him), and they were darn good… maybe not quite Leonard’s or Tex Drive-In (or even the poi malasada from Kamehameha Bakery), but they satisfied the craving!
address for Mermaid Bakery: https://goo.gl/maps/K21wDdBtZN52