The Big Island celebrates the Portuguese malasada on Fat Tuesday, also known as Malasada Day in Hawaii, during one final sugar gorge before Lent.
The family run Crivello’s Place, which starts making malasadas every morning at 3 a.m., is extra busy on this special Tuesday. Ronald and Loretta fry up hundreds of dozens of malasadas, drawing a hungry crowd up to the small store in Kaumana.
First made on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores, the sugary, deep fried balls of yeast migrated to Hawaii with the Portuguese laborers who arrived to work in the plantations.
The predominantly Catholic Portuguese would faithfully use up all their butter and sugar prior to Ash Wednesday, when Lent dictates a fast on lards and confectionary sweets. The large batches of malasadas that were baked to get rid of the extra sugar stuffs would be shared amongst all the ethnic groups in the plantation camps, and to this day, the malasada has established itself as the celebratory food during Fat Tuesday in Hawaii.
Video by David Corrigan