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Oct 15, 2008 02:42 PM

Honolulu Bakeries

One of the chow aspects that has struck me most about Honolulu is the high number of bakeries per square mile.... its got to be some of the highest in the entire country!

So what is the deal with local bakery scene? I've done Leonard's & Agnes... and know what they are all about.... what about the rest? Are there Japanese bakeries, Filipino bakeries, Local bakeries, Native Hawaiian bakeries etc., What items do these bakeries excel at?

While I vowed to never eat at Zippy's... I must admit I have hit Napoleon's Bakery several times... and think its pretty good for a discount bakery.

So what are the best out there? And do you know of any good bakeries between Airport & Downtown (I have spotted a handful along Dillingham). I need to pick some desserts up for dinner tonight.


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  1. I liked the baked goods I got from St. Germain on the lower level of the Ala Moana center a lot. The Shirokiya - I didnt like so much.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      There is also a St. Germain's on Beretania, next to Grace's drive-in, at the Times Market. Across the street from Mercado de la Raza. And yes, we have a lot of bakeries. Germain's probably has the best bread, but I don't think much of it. Hawaii just isn't really a bread kind of place. But for other baked goods; cakes, cookies, pastries.... we do OK.

      1. re: KaimukiMan

        I think for bread you must have the Maunakea Baking Co. They sell at the KCC market and
        to Costco and I think Foodland (or they did to Kailua anyway.)His sourdough pepper parmesan is a great bread full of texture with a nice crust.The company has a great story
        and the breads are excellent.

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          I ended up hitting Dee Lite by St Germain on Dillingham...

          > Blueberry & Custard Danish
          > Butter-Sugar Bun
          > Custard Horn
          > Lemon-Citron Cake
          > French Roll

          Everything was okay... the Cake was the best, it had two layers.... once was eggy & slightly spongey, the other layer marshmallowy... with a pretty intense lemon flavor & candied orange slices on top.

          > The French Roll was a bit stale... but I could tell from its characteristics that its good for making Mex Tortas (it was crusty but soft on the inside... more airy than a Baguette)

          Kare_Raisu.. you would find it fascinating... the style of the pastries is more like a Panaderia than a Patisserie... since Tempura came to Japan from the Portugese (via Macao I believe)... I wonder if Japanese Baked Goods descend from an Iberian tradition that is different from the Gaul tradition.

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Yeah, I think that the Japanese word for bread is actually 'pan' and there is even a famous sponge cake called Kasutera that I pick up here at Mitsuwa marketplace for dessert when I go over to my friends house for Sunday menudo. Check out where that name derives from!

            1. re: kare_raisu

              Thats funny... I see essential that style of Sponge cake at most Mexican Panaderias.

            2. re: Eat_Nopal

              A second trip to Dee Lite yield a great Laced Custard Danish (they do the phylo dough items much better than the egg bready items).... the Chocolate Croissant wasn't bad... it had a huge piece of chocolate in the middle (twice as much chocolate as any other Xoco Croissant I've had)... it first it was great but once you get half you through, you wish there was more ratio of pastry to chocolate.

        2. There's a bit of discussion in the Birthday Cakes on Oahu thread below.

          1. Liliha Bakery! Well known for their cocoa puffs, butter cake and chantily cake (my fav). Excellent lunch counter for simple grilled sandwiches and breakfast items.

            There used to be a great bakery hidden off of Kalihi street past the Shopping Center, but I forget the name and exact location. They made excellent taro, custard and Japanese sweet potato pies and other interesting treats. Maybe someone with more recent knowledge of Kalihi valley knows the name/street?

            Also, while clearly not in your geographic area, if you ever get to Hilo make sure to order some mochi and manju from Two Ladies Kitchen (sometimes they will sell you some as a walk in, but it's better to order a day in advance and get a big variety). I wonder if you can still bring it back on the Mochi a gel?

            1. for filipino bakeries, go to nandings. 2 locations. they're on gulick avenue, makai (ocean side) of n. king street. also in waipahu, ewa end close to don quijote's. go for the spanish rolls (soft and buttery w/a little sugar). they also have pandesal, although the now defunct alredo's had better ones.

              there's also kapuakea, but they're a made to order place. yes, i know not exactly user friendly. they have awesome lilikoi lemon bars and brownies and choco breads. they need at least 2 days advance notice for orders. great for omiyage.

              there's a lot of specialty bakeries. esp for mochi and senbei.

              1. DeeLite Bakery on Dillingham is known for thier chiffon layer cakes, like the coconut or haupia cake or the chocolate dobash cake. Lee's Bakery on King Street in Chinatown = custard pie or pumpkin/custard pie. Kapuakea in Kakaako has the best lilikoi bars and their pumpkin spice bread is very good, but you need to preorder. Liliha Bakery has coco puffs and scrumpets, but I don't know if the quality is the same since the ownership changed. Of course, Beard Papa (Ward Center and other locations) for cream puffs. Saturna for Japanese versions of french cakes.

                St. Germain has both the Japanese square (and soft) sandwich bread and the crusty French baguettes. Patisserie and Pany also make good French bread. Ba Le sells artisanal breads at the farmers' markets, but you can buy their French rolls at any of their shops any time. Maunakea Bakery's breads are inconsistent; to my mind you can forget about their foccacia and taro rolls, but the sourdough and French breads are good.