Usually when my girlfriend’s mom flies in from Maui, she brings either fresh-baked Butter Rolls from Komoda Bakery in Makawao or Manju from Home Maid Bakery in Kahului. Today however was an exception, where she brought us Manju from Sam Sato’s in Wailuku, famous for their deconstructed Saimin called Dry Noodle, a.k.a. “Dry Mein”.
She claims since the original owner/operators of Home Maid Bakery have retired, their Manju have gone downhill, therefore she prefers Sam Sato’s over them now.
So let’s check it out…
And how is it?
Well, the last time I had Manju, was from Lawai Manju from Menehune Food Mart in Kalaheo, Kauai. Where compared to that STELLAR example, which had a more rich, golden flaky crust, Sam Sato’s Manju is pretty much more like a basic pie crust, sans that desirable flaky exterior texture. More like a turnover crust, sans the sugar glaze if you will. In fact, Sam Sato’s also sells a variety of turnovers, which I have yet to try.
Sam Sato’s Azuki Bean filling is noticeably more dry and loose compared to Lawai’s Manju filling which was more dense and sticky, so as you eat it, some of the filling crumbles off with Sam Sato’s Manju.
No question if I were to try them side-by-side in a blind taste test, Kauai’s Lawai Manju would INSTANTLY be chosen as the clear winner.
As it stands, I give Sam Sato’s Manju 2 SPAM Musubi, which is “Good”. Of course, take into consideration as I’ve mentioned before, personally I’m not a big Manju or Azuki Bean fan, so your opinion likely will differ if you’re into the stuff.
As always, big mahalos to “Maui Mom” for da’ Valley Isle omiyage grindz! Now she’s on her way to the mainland bringing some Omiyage from Oahu in the form of Baked Manapua and other dim sum goodies from Chun Wah Kam. Always a hit with the ohana living up there.
What? Sam Sato’s Manju
Where did you get it and how much did it cost? Sam Sato’s in Wailuku, Maui. 75 cents each (c/o Omiyage from “Maui Mom”)
Big Shaka to: Consistent shape and baked doneness. Tasty Azuki bean filling and golden-brown crust. Omiyage from “Maui Mom”.
No Shaka to: Texture-wise, the Azuki bean filling is too dry and loose. Crust lacks flaky texture as well, while inside part of it tastes rather “doughy” in comparison to others.
The Tasty Island rating: 2 SPAM Musubi