She had me at malasadas.
Vinny and I were sitting at the Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea with a dear friend who now lives in Kona on the Big Island. When we told her about our plans to drive back to Hilo, where we were staying during our visit, she insisted that we stop at TEX Drive In on our back to the hotel, and that we needed to try their apple malasadas. Since I love malasadas, she did not need to campaign too hard on TEX’s behalf.
Located near Mile Marker 43 on the the Hawaii Belt Road near Honokaa, this beloved Big Island institution makes for a convenient stop for drivers heading in to Waimea or out to Hilo.
Walking into TEX is a little like walking into a Krispy Kreme shop, where customers can watch donuts being made. Behind a glass wall, visitors at TEX can see little piles of dough be transformed into heavenly treats thanks to the magic of deep frying and sugar.
After looking over the flavors, Vinny and I selected four to sample: plain, apple, chocolate, and Bavarian cream.
TEX’s malasadas are big and pillowy, and they are filled just to the point of bursting. Of the fillings we tried, Vinny and I both liked the apple malasada the best because it was not cloyingly sweet even with a healthy coating of sugar surrounding it. The Bavarian cream malasada was rich and decadent, while the chocolate filling tasted more like chemicals than cocoa.
Vinny and I saved the plain malasada for last, hoping that it would be the best one in our box. Sadly, we were disappointed and didn’t even finish it. I had high hopes for TEX’s plain malasada because I usually like my malasadas simple and unfussy, but TEX’s plain malasada was too bready for my liking. It didn’t have the tender crispiness that Komoda’s malasadas do, and it tasted more like a dinner roll than a delicious treat.
In addition to malasadas, TEX Drive In also features a full breakfast menu as well as a variety of salads, burgers, loco mocos, and plate lunches. Like the malasadas, the servings looked generous. There is ample sitting, both inside the restaurant and outside on the covered lanai, along with a gift shop.
TEX Drive In is located at 45-690 Pakalana Street, Highway 19, Honokaa, HI 96727.