If you’re on social media, you probably saw photos of these pretty taro donuts in your feed last weekend. People stood in line in the hot sun for about an hour waiting to try these famous donuts from Kauai, made hot and fresh to order.
So what’s so special about them? Well, let’s start at the beginning. Holey Grail started in 2018 as a weekend pop up in Hanalei by siblings Hana and Nile Dreiling. They simply wanted to make the world’s most epic donut, something that they would love eating, themselves. Their dough is composed of a taro-based dry mix that they make themselves, not a commercial mix, and they make fresh dough every 30 minutes. They then fry them in small batches to order, and top each one by hand with ingredients made by hand. In fact, the finger limes on their L&L donut are squeezed by hand to ensure they get the seeds out.
“A hot donut is better than a cold donut,” Nile explained. “That’s why we only offer a few flavors each time.” Although Holey Grail has about 60 flavors in its repertoire, you’ll always find four flavors and a hot single (plain) on their menu. The other one that will always be on the menu is the Reincarnated, which is topped with organic maple glaze, smoked coconut, and a dash of sea salt.
And he’s right, a hot donut is definitely better. I tried one of mine, hot and fresh, and there’s a distinctive little crunch that yields to a soft center that is in between a cake donut and a traditional fluffy one. They still taste good later, but at least eat one of them while they’re fresh so you know what it’s supposed to be like. That way, with any of their donuts that you eat after they’re cooled, you can imagine what they could have been.
Although the hot single and the Reincarnated are the most popular, my favorite was the L&L, which is tossed in Meyer lemon sugar, dotted with Tahitian lime curd and finger lime caviar, and topped with edible begonias.
Each donut is $4, or you can get a tasting box of four for just $15. This weekend, they’re swapping out the Strawberry Fields for lilikoi.
Holey Grail will be at Ward Centre behind Ginza Sushi this weekend from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until they sell out. (But they had their busiest day ever last weekend, selling 1,000 donuts in a day, and they didn’t sell out until 2 p.m.) Will the lines be as long again? Hard to say. But they were so busy that they hired six new people this week, so that should help the process.
If you miss the pop up, don’t worry. Holey Grail plans to open a brick-and-mortar space in the Ward Village area soon.