There is a Japanese tradition of giving gifts when returning from a trip, these gifts are called Omiyage. In Hawaii, the tradition is deeply rooted, and goes beyond ethnic and cultural differences. In fact, when making a trip from say, Honolulu, to Hilo, your mind automatically starts ticking off what you need to bring back for Omiyage...., Mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen, or something from Big Island Candies. The tradition even works in reverse; when taking trips to Lanai, Manapua(sort of a steamed Char Siu Bao, but bigger), Pork Hash(Siu Mai), and Pepiao from Char Hung Sut was a required gift. Maui seems to have more than it's share of Omiyage items, though the list seems to be getting shorter(of the stuff I know) as time goes by. Long gone are the Maui Hot Dogs and Shishido Manju. But several sources of Omiyage are going strong. One of those sources is located in Wailuku on Lower Main street, Home Maid Bakery.
The bakery is not that hard to find, but parking can be. Though it might not be a long wait since cars are always leaving as quickly as they are entering the hilly, uneven, slightly pot-holed parking lot. And Home Maid's hours are very convenient, they are open from 5am to 10pm daily.
Once in the bakery, you'll notice all of the bags lined up on the back counter; those are the orders waiting for pick-up, mostly for people on the way to the airport. There are a variety of various pastries available, and most of it is self-serve. But on this trip to the airport to pick-up the Missus's parents, we decided to try the malasadas, those wonderful Portuguese fried donut like pastries. I'd been warned of the sometimes surly service at Home Maid, but on this day, the Older Lady working the counter was very nice. And we got a dozen to go($6.60):
You'll notice only eleven malasadas in the box. That's because, in order to stop a certain someone with a growling tummy from salivating all over the box(not me...), I had to open it up, and that malasada was inhaled. Overall, these were not too bad, they lacked the yeasty goodness of the malasadas from Leonard's Bakery, but were not a bad substitute for someone who had not had a decent malasada in 5 years. The confections were slightly crisp, very hot, and sugary. Please note that malasadas are only available from 530am to 930am, and 4pm to 10pm daily. When I kiddingly asked the Lady why that was...She looked up with a total deadpan expression and said, "cause no mo' malasada man!" And proceeded to crack up.......
But what Home Maid Bakery really is known for are the Crispy Manju, which unlike traditional Japanese Manju, has a crisp pastry crust (Think pie crust). So I had to make sure to buy a couple for snacking pleasure.
I picked up the Imo (sweet potato) and Crispy Manju Deluxe(lot's of azuki). The Missus really didn't care much for them, She's much more of a traditionalist, and while I still enjoy the buttery sweetness, I thought these seem to be much more greasy than I remember.
My Mother In Law on the other hand, who obviously eats this much more often than we do(living in Honolulu) loved them. And we made a stop on the way to the Airport so they could grab a good selection as Omiyage for their friends and the people at work. The MIL says, the Coconut is really good.
So on your way to the airport, don't forget the Crispy Manju from Home Maid Bakery.
Home Maid Bakery
1005 Lower Main Street
Wailuku, HI 96793
Open 5 a.m.-10 p.m
7 days a week,
530am - 930am
4pm - 10pm