Malassada Day in Hawaii

The biggest surprise of any Portuguese who visits the islands of Hawaii is the eating habits, the popularity of the Portuguese kale soup, the Portuguese sweet bread, the Portuguese sausage and other familiar tastes. The classic Hawaiian breakfast is boiled rice, two starlit eggs and fried sausage slices. This “matabicho” can be enjoyed in Hawaiian IHop and McDonald’s, but is not served in any other establishment in these chain restaurants. None of this happens by chance. Due to the need for labor in sugarcane and pineapple plantations during the nineteenth century, the Hawaiian government gave the labor contracts favorable to workers in the Azores and Madeira who were already familiar with those tasks in their Atlantic islands. (…)
The government of Hawaii paid for the passage to Portuguese immigrants and their families and secured employment for one year. As Europeans, the Portuguese were treated differently from the Asians, received an acre of land, house, and better working conditions in the hierarchy of plantations. They were often hired as foreman’s, also became eligible for US citizenship when Hawaii became US territory in 1898, unlike the Chinese and Japanese. Portuguese emigration to Hawaii began with a group of 120 Madeirans who arrived in Honolulu on September 29, 1878 aboard the Priscilla boat. (…)
The Portuguese influence in the Hawaiian culture is enormous and it is enough to leaf through the telephone directories to realize: a good part of the Hawaiians has a Portuguese name. It is common to find people with a typically Hawaiian name (Kapua, Lahela, Ka’ahumanu, among others) and whose nickname is Portuguese (Carvalho, Pereira, Silva, Arruda, etc.). (…)
The purpose is to make known Portugal through the green broth, the rump, the octopus stew and the cod cooked with all. The Portuguese gastronomic legacy in Hawaii is fabulous. The baked pastry is eaten everywhere, innumerable bakeries and restaurants bake their own baked goods producing from the traditional breads to the hamburger buns that Hawaiians love and can be found in any grocery store on every island. The soaked pasta has become so popular that people no longer refer to it as Portuguese sweet bread, it has become hawaiian sweet bread. (…)
Malassadas are also popular in Hawaii and are sold everywhere. Leonard Bakery (Frank Leonard Rego’s) opened in 1952 on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu, and earned customers with their ice-cream wrappers, “hot on the outside and cold on the inside,” according to the publicity. Today, the Hawaiian malassadas are rounded, reminiscent of Berlin balls, and with over 30 different fillings. The enormous popularity of the malassadas gave origin to the March 8th, which is the Malassada Day in the archipelago and a tasty tradition in all the islands. Malassada even has the right to festivals in Hawaii. The Punahou Malassada Carnival began in 1951 in Huakilau, and one day sells over 300,000 malassadas fritas for close to 500 bakers. In Honolulu, the Malassada Mini Marathon is held for adults and children and takes place at Hickam Air Base in Pearl Harbor. Competitors have to run more than five miles. In the end, they have to eat six malassadas. It wins whoever finishes the malassadas first. (…) Eurico Mendes.
Source: Diário dos Açores April 12th, 2018

Published on 12 April, 2018