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Menu Mining: Ghetto Malasadas at Chego

12:56 pm in Food & Drink, LA by Queequeg

Americans have the doughnut (as we here at Blogging LA know all too well); Hawaiians have malasadas, little fried gems bigger than a doughnut hole but smaller than a doughnut, brought to the island from Portuguese immigrants in the late 19th century.  You can get them in Hawaii proper, as Joz did a few months ago, or you can go up to Natas Pastries in Sherman Oaks.  But for those times you’re not in Hawaii or the SFV, you also can try ‘em out a little closer to home at Chego.  Yeup, the same place where you can get inauthentically authentic Korean rice bowls is the same place you can get utterly inauthentic Portuguese malasadas.  What, surprised?

Now, there are a lot of great things at Chego, many of which deserve their own Menu Mining mention.  In fact, if His Majesty Jonathan Gold were to write a guest Menu Mining post, he might very well pick the Buttered Kimchi Chow.  Me, though, I’m just going to take you straight to the malasadas.  These are on the specials board and may not be on the menu forever, so best if someone points you directly to it while they’re here.

Two dollars plus tax gets you two malasadas plus sugar.  Fried to order, you get them piping hot and crunchy, not warm and crispy. Unlike the malasadas you’ll find in Hawaii, these have no fillings, so you’ll have to be content with just the dough.   On some days, the inside is almost custardy.  It reminds me of a beignet I had in Biloxi, Mississippi, sans powdered sugar.  It also reminds me a little bit of a freshly made churro at Salina’s Churro Truck.  Really, the take home message is: you cannot go wrong with fried dough rolled in sugar.

As I said, the Ghetto Malasadas currently are on this week’s specials menu, so they may or may not be there if you next week.  Womp womp.  Bonus mining tip for the womp’ed:  When/if the malasadas officially retire, try my favorite dessert at Chego, the Rock Yer Road.  You can’t go wrong with fried dough; neither can you with a little chocolate ice cream and marshmallow fluff.

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Joz’s Virtual & Remote Submission for the Donut Summit

8:54 pm in Food & Drink by jozjozjoz

Woe is me! I missed the biggest donut event in L.A. because I am on vacation in Hawaii*.

In honor of the Blogging.LA Donut Summit, we (Yoshi, Scrivener, and I) decided to go malasada taste-testing in Honolulu. Malasadas (or malassadas) are Portuguese confections which consist of yeasty dough that is deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. (Sounds close enough to a donut to me!) They made their way to Hawaii with the Portuguese laborers who were working on the plantations.

We started at Leonard’s Bakery, arguably the best-known malasadas around. Here is me with the first malasada– a regular one that just came out of the deep fryer and was rolled in granulated sugar. It was warm, airy, and delicious!

in addition to the regular malasada at Leonard’s, we got a filled malasada. The guava malasada is the current flavor of the month, so naturally, that’s what I got. (This is unabashed food porn. Cover your eyes if you’re uncomfortable looking at such oozy-goodness.)

After we stopped off at Leonard’s, we went off to Champion Malasadas, which is what some locals consider the “better” malasada place. When we arrived, we were the only customers there. The owner, Joc Miw, cheerily greeted us at the cash register and wanted to know how many malasadas we wanted so he could fry them up freshly for us. Aside from being 10 cents cheaper each (60 cents at Champion’s versus 70 cents a Leonard’s), the regular malasadas at Champion were eggier than those at Leonard’s, which I liked. While still airy, the Champion malasada was slightly more dense (substantial?) than Leonard’s.

These are the malasadas from Champion:

This was the custard-filled malasada at Champion’s, which cost $1 and was pre-fried and sitting in a chilled display case, so it wasn’t warm/freshly fried. You know what? It was still good! It was admittedly different than the guava-filled one that we tried at Leonard’s, not just because the filling was a different flavor, but because this one was fried in advance, the consistency was less airy and a little more doughy.

Honestly speaking, the guava filling at Leonard’s wasn’t as good as I’d hoped and I actually liked the creamy filling at Champion better. But because the filled malasada at Leonard’s was freshly fried, the malasada dough itself was not as good at Champion. I’m going to declare this one an official tie because the filling was better at Champion and the dough was better at Leonard’s, but I’d have to have another round where BOTH were freshly fried to be able to declare a winner.

So, what’s the verdict of Leonards vs. Champion malasadas?
With regard to the regular malasadas, while they are both really good (when fresh out of the fryer), I personally have to give the slight edge to Champion over Leonard’s because I liked the eggy flavor better– some people may not like this like I do. That said, Yoshi thinks that Leonard’s is the better of the two because of the texture and taste. In the car, @Scrivener said it was a tough call because they were both good– the Leonard’s suprising him because they were better than he had remembered because he doesn’t usually have them fresh. I think @Scrivener is most accurate when he says “they are quite different. hot out of the fryer, they’re both quite wonderful.”

So I guess between us, there was no winner. My recommendation is that if you’re in Honolulu, go to both and see for yourself. If you can’t decide, flip a coin. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

When I get back to L.A., I’m doing a malasada crawl. I hope it won’t be totally disappointing.

*Thanks for indulging in my non-L.A. related post– but if you don’t know what malasadas are, now you do and you can find them in L.A., too! And when I go to next year’s Donut Summit, I know what I’m bringing!

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