It’s the first place I like to find when I travel to a new city, sinking my teeth into the region’s popular baked product or a slice of freshly baked bread. In fact, I might judge a neighborhood’s culinary landscape by how just good the bakeries are.
Which brings me to this: how do you know how good a bakery is? Is it the quality of their products? The uniqueness? The variety?
In Hawaii, everyone seems to have a favorite. Some love the Cocoa Puffs from Liliha Bakery or the poi glazed donuts from Kamehameha Bakery in Kalihi or the malassadas from Agnes’ Portguese Bake Shop in Kailua. And to them, that constitutes the best bakery.
But some would argue that the depth of the menu matter. Sure, Champions Malasadas on Beretania Street churns out some of the best Portuguese donuts around. But it is really known for anything else? And does that really matter? (At least Leonard’s Bakery has great sweet bread, hot cross buns and mini dobash cakes.)
Still others — and I know a few — judge a bakery by the quality of its bread, period. French, challah, focaccia — these are staples that bakeries need to get right. After all, bakeries, by definition, are places where bread is baked.
So what’s your criteria for a good bakery? And what’s your favorite in Hawaii?