Get Off the Resort and Into TEX Drive In on the Big Island

The sign at TEX Drive In on the Big Island says it all: “Ono” means “delicious” and “Kine” means “anything”!

While eating on-property at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort in Hawaii was always a pleasure, one place that always beckons us off-property during our stay is TEX Drive In . Located on the east or “Hilo” side of the Big Island in the town of Honokaa, TEX is about a 50-minute drive across the north side of the island from Waikoloa. Now I know what you’re thinking, RMT’ers… you put T in a car for almost an hour’s drive each way just for some food?! Um, yes, yes we did, and here’s why.

Time to rise and shine… and make the donuts at TEX Drive In!

A woman works hard at keeping up with the demand for malasadas at TEX Drive In on the Big Island of Hawaii.

This is the full the list of malasada flavors offered up at TEX Drive In on the Big Island of Hawaii. Sadly, we were aced out on about half of these choices during this year’s visit, but there’s always next time!

Famous the Big Island (world?) over for their hot and fresh variety of malasadas, TEX gives locals and tourists about a dozen reasons to drive in and take out (or eat in). Last year when we went here for the first time, we tried a mix of their fruit- and cream-filled malasadas, and I swear to god that I never stopped thinking about those puffy, Portuguese-style donuts since that delicious day.

The boys line up for their “ono kine” at TEX Drive In. Decisions, decisions!

This time, we scheduled our TEX visit at the start of a day-trip down to Hawaii Volcanoes  National Park, which meant malasadas AND a meal (though the malasadas alone can be a meal, up to you, RMT’ers!). Once again, the fare at TEX didn’t disappoint and all my culinary memories were again a reality. Mmmmm, malasadas!

C’s mixed breakfast plate at TEX Drive In, which consisted of scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage, and brown rice with tasty bits of vegetables and more sausage mixed in for extra “ono kine” flavor.

My malasada breakfast sandwich of egg, cheese, and bacon from TEX Drive In. And more photographic evidence of why I won’t ever make it as a food blogger… I never remember to take all the photos BEFORE the first bite. Sorry about that, RMT’ers, but it just looked so good!

For his actual breakfast, C ordered mixed plate of eggs, brown rice, and Portuguese sausage (there was a little of the meat in the rice, too, along with some veggies). T was ecstatic because the kid just loves rice, so having that with his eggs at breakfast was truly a treat. I had an egg, bacon, and cheese breakfast sandwich on – what else – a hot, fresh plain malasada. Yes, malasadas do not always have to be sweet, which is part of their magical, munchy charm for sure – and they do make a killer sandwich roll.

Now that’s one happy kid! Why wouldn’t he be though? He’s getting malasadas from TEX Drive In!

The malasadas at TEX Drive In are finger-licking good. Just ask T and C!

After our first course, up next were the malasadas! Sadly, we arrived at a time of the morning when a lot of their more popular fruit flavors had sold out (total bummer, but there’s always next time!). However, we still were able to get a few of the unfilled, sugar-coated malasadas, and I tried a Bavarian cream-filled malasada as a bonus. All were hot, tasty, and super-fresh, or in other words, exactly how I remembered them. The plain ones seriously just melt in your mouth and give you enough sweetness that you almost don’t miss the fillings (almost!).

The Bavarian cream-filled malasada at TEX Drive In. It’s a beaut, and it’s also definitely delicious!

But having said that, I am glad I tried a cream-filled one just the same; it was awesome, better than pretty much any Bavarian-cream filled donut here on the Mainland. In fact, I don’t even get cream-filled donuts here at home anymore because TEX’s version blows all the others away by an island mile. I think you already know how much I adore donuts, so you know them some fighting words!

While you can buy a package of mix to make your own TEX Drive In malasadas at home, something tells me they just wouldn’t taste the same. Now if this package of mix came with one of TEX’s bakers to make them for me, then I’d have purchased it in a Hawaiian minute!

I’m already missing you, TEX, but I know I will see you next time! In the meantime, does anyone know anywhere I can get some malasadas in Southern California? I’ll drive!