The local story is that Leonard's Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu makes the best malasadas on the island and that may be true - we plan to check theirs out later in our stay - but these, made from the recipe of a Punahou alumna of Portuguese heritage, were available at the Punahou Carnival, so we just had to try them.
My friend Meredith, who is a kamaaina (a person born and raised in Hawaii) and a Punahou alumna who has seen many of these carnivals, sent me the inside scoop via email, since she has recently moved to the Mainland. She told me which line would move fastest, so we got our malasadas within minutes.
Hot out of the frying oil and liberally sprinkled with sugar, they are similar to doughnuts, if doughnuts were made in Heaven. They are yeasty, a little greasy and very sweet. Dunked into a cup of coffee, it's hard to imagine anything better. The bitter coffee tempers the sugar and the sugar tempers the bitter coffee. Our second night at the Punahou carnival, we ate dessert first, sitting on metal bleachers, happily dunking and watching the parade of cheerful carnival goers.