Best Hamburger . . . and Malasadas

When we lived in Michigan, our favorite hamburger was the Big C. You can read a bit about Clyde’s and the three-quarters-pounder burger HERE and HERE. The Big C was a five hours drive from where we lived, but it was on our way to and from our cabin in the UP.

When we lived in Colorado, Smashburger — although offering only a half-pounder — was our favorite place for burgers, edging out the offering from Five Guys. 

Yes, I’m a meat eater. Some will see me as a lesser human being for it, and that’s fine. Just know I hold vegetarians in contempt for eating alive — alive, I tell you — plants trying to do nothing more than to live peacefully, not hurting anyone. You know, except the poisonous plants; them be nasty but vegetarians hypocritically leave those alone. 

Now that we are in Hawai’i, we’re working to find the best hamburger on the island. Publications that rank such things list Annies Hamburgers as offering the best burgers of the Big Island.


The thing is, that’s a $14 hamburger . . . one each for Melisa and me and a tip made this a $40 meal. 

. . . and we were underwhelmed. Little to no flavor, overcooked, sickly-looking cheese, blah condiments, and fries that looked as if scraped from the bottom of some forgotten fryer and reheated to lukewarm tastelessness. Had the ketchup masked their lack of flavor, they would have still ranked below what you can get at any fast-food joint, even one skimping on meeting health regulations.  

Now, it could be that Annies was already behind the eight ball — as they say — because one of the first places we visited when we came to the Big Island was Tex Drive In . . . 

I’ve mentioned Tex before and even showed a photo . . . 


You can always find locals eating here and you can always find tourists eating here. The trick is to get in here ahead of any of the tour buses and not come here during lunch or at the height of the tourist season. 


The place is adorned with lots of memorabilia hanging from the walls. Some of the pieces relate to Tex and other pieces are reminders of a time long passed. 



It must have been something, flying in those planes.


This was snapped right before Christmas, hence the ornament.

The boxes below are out in one of the hallways, premade and ready to be filled with a dozen or half-dozen malasadas. 



Notice they say breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll be honest here and say that when we tried anything that was not either a hamburger or a malasada, we found it at best mediocre. For general all-around non-malasada fare that I like with few reservations, I would direct you to Cafe 100.

Tex’s double cheeseburgers ($7.95) are enough to feed both Melisa and me. I mean, I can eat one on my own. Such was the case on a couple of visits when Melisa orders something like their fish sandwich . . . 


. . . and I order the double cheeseburger, hold them nasty onions. 


But, make no mistake, there are times when we split one (70-30) and it’s enough for the both of us with a side order of fries. The photo does not show it very well because it’s shot from above, but there are two patties and you have a bit more than an inch-thick wall of hamburger meat rewarding your taste buds. 

As we eat, I enjoy the wall -hangings.




There is a window showing you the inner workings of Malasada making . . . 



There are two large mixers going with new batches of dough (see the first video), one batch in two large deep-fryers, a batch of dough “resting” on the table, and two batches proofing in the proof box. It’s a constant production line. 

This particular time, there was one lady handling it all, but I’ve seen two in there. As you will see from the movies at the end of the post, people were coming in and grabbing them literally as she was rolling each one in the granulated sugar.


We order water. 

It’s nice looking at the old posters as we eat our hamburgers.


That’s in Oahu, so I don’t know why it’s here.


The last sugar company either closed in 2016 or will close this year. Most of the company real estate is sold to developers who are in various stages of developing it. HERE is the history of the Hamakua Sugar Co.

This last visit was the first time since we’ve been here that we found the place extremely busy (we come at odd hours, but this is near-peak tourist season). It took about forty minutes for us to get our order. I spent some of my time photographing everything and recording a few movies. 


I also played a bit with Pixlr Express . . . 


But, make no mistake . . . the reason for being there was to get . . . 


We were a bit disappointed . . . these didn’t have as much sugar on them as we like. The fact they were hot made up for the less-than-optimal sugar content. Plus, I added sugar once we got home. 

Here are a few videos . . . I ruined a few videos that would have shown the whole process. I will remedy that on our next visit. If you are only going to watch one, watch the last one.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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28 Responses to Best Hamburger . . . and Malasadas

  1. renxkyoko says:

    Was that lady the only one cooking in the kitchen ?


    • disperser says:

      Yes. She would dump the dough that was done mixing and roll it out, then cover it, then turn the malasadas that were in the fryer, then measure out new ingredients and fill the mixer again, then take out the malasadas that were done, then go get some that had been proofing and laying them aside, then cut the dough into the desired size, then pull the malasadas that were ready and let them drain, then put new ones in the fryer, then sugar-coat the freshly-fried malasadas and put them in the proofer for people to grab to fill order, then repeat everything.

      Like I said, I’ve seen where there are two women in there at the time, but this time there was only one. She was handling a lot, but still, barely keeping up with the orders.

  2. Eddy Winko says:

    So why is a hamburger called a hamburger? Is there any pork in there? Surely its a beef burger?


  3. oneowner says:

    I like hamburgers. Actually, anything made with ground meat. There are a lot of locally owner places that are outstanding. Each has a special recipe of hot sauce (made with ground beef) that tasty and unique. Smashburger is the best chain and the fries are excellent. This area is also the home of the “garbage plate”, 2 beef patties (or dogs) on top of a heap of mac salad or home fries covered in hot sauce. I’ve never been able to finish it in one sitting. For breakfast, I think they top it with 2 fried eggs.


  4. sandra getgood says:

    Nothing smells better than freshly-made bread. Maybe fresh gingerbread cookies. Although i could probably do without the sugar on the bread.
    My favorite hamburger is the In-&-Out Burger Unfortunately, I have to go to California for them, but when we were in San Diego, that was our favorite restaurant. Period.
    Not sure I could handle that ” garbage plate” least there’s not spam in it!


  5. Whenever we visit Honolulu we like to stop by Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu near Waikiki for their delicious malasadas. Leonard’s is a Portuguese Bakery that’s been around since 1952. They introduced malasadas to Hawaii.


  6. Emily Scott says:

    Enjoy your food posts. I hadn’t heard of malasadas before. Do they taste similar to doughnuts?


    • disperser says:

      Depends on the doughnut. Malasadas are fairly heavy (but flaky) dough in contrast to most doughnuts (except for cake doughnuts). It’s close to deep-fried Indian bread, or, bread dough that is deep fried.

      There is no comparison to doughnuts which are — on their own — also delicious (as long as we are talking about doughnuts rolled in sugar; glazed are a step below).


  7. That lady in the pink top is a whiz! Wow! It’s fun to watch her! But, she needs a helper!

    We have a family owned Mexican restaurant here and the grandma makes the tortillas from scratch. They have her right out in the middle of the restaurant dining room, at a little cooking station, making the tortillas…so you can watch her. Fun!

    We have In & Out Burger, 5 Guys, Fuddruckers, etc., here…but I often enjoy the burger better at a one-of-a-kind BBQ restaurant that is right on the highway near where we live.

    I’ll take all the nasty onions you don’t want to eat! HA! Love what you said about vegetarians! :-D

    Great photos of the inside and outside of the restaurant, Emilio!

    I’ve never been, but I’ve seen this restaurant…

    Beefy-HUGS!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      I’m fairly sure there are regularly two people working there. I’ll have to check when I’m there again . . . and not ordering onions.

      I think I mentioned this once before, but onions got on my shi . . . er . . . avoid list way back in 1966 when — fresh here from a transatlantic flight that moved us from Northern Italy to Chicago by way of New York — we went shopping and bought what looked like deep-fried calamari. Yes, they turned out to be onion rings. The feud carries to this day.

      There are limits to what is comfortable to eat, and a double is about my limit. Anything more and I take a knife to it, cutting it down to manageable bites.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. mvschulze says:

    The lady in red (pink) is worken’ it! AND, I made the mistake of perusing this while hungry. Love Cheeseburgers… can’t say I’ve ever had a Malasadas. M :-)


    • disperser says:

      We were there about 40 minutes and it was a constant motion through the various stages. To be fair, the rest of the workers are also in constant motion as they take and fill orders.


  9. Great post. I’m hungry now. Those chips look really good too. 🍔🍟


  10. I’m with you on the meat;I’m an omnivore, I have two daughters who have flipped their lids on gone vegan,T
    he eldest is now forever, getting sick (the flu) but they don’t believe me, as I’m old and eat dead animals. I brought them up on the best of meats, ( can’t see the point wasting money on cheap cuts) cooked to perfection; by me of course. and now they just eat live plants.
    To think I never realized that (Hanging my head in shame), I’ll have to hit them with that line of reasoning?
    That first load of stuff dished up I’d have sent back and demanded a refund. The Tex stuff looks almost edible


    • disperser says:

      It’s not just that they eat them alive, look at the life they lead . . . they literally grow up in dirt. Deplorable!

      Even more horrific, humans regularly dump crap all over them to force them to grow faster. Then, adding insult to injury, the ones that don’t “look good” get unceremoniously tossed and left to slowly die and rot.

      People talk about the inhumane conditions animals are raised in, but it’s nothing compared to the lives of poor plants.

      As for the dish, we don’t make scenes or complain much . . . but we remember forever.


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