This took me completely by surprise. Today, as I was walking around the office while eating a black sugar manapua, I had two coworkers stop me and ask what that was. They only knew of the regular pork-filled manapua aka char siu bao and had never seen the black sugar variety.
What’s so surprising is that these coworkers were born and raised in Hawaii! I can’t imagine not coming across a black sugar manapua back in the day especially small kid time buying snacks from the local manapua man. They asked where I got it from (Chun Wah Kam), but I said that I’m pretty sure most manapua places sell them.
So… I did a quick black sugar check using Frolic Hawaii’s Top 5 Manapua list. Here’s what I found.
Number 5: Libby
During my youth, this is where I remember buying manapua for parties and occasions so guarantee they gotta have. Sure enough, Libby comes through with the black sugar.
Number 4: Char Hung Sut
How about this favorite in downtown? Black sugar bao at Char Hung Sut confirmed!
Number 3: Chun Wah Kam
Chun Wah Kam is where I picked up my regular and black sugar manapua but forgot to take a pic. 🙁
Number 2: Royal Kitchen
I admit I don’t recall ever going to Royal Kitchen, but I bet their baked version of the black sugar bun is ono.
Number 1: Sing Cheong Yuan
There you have it. Five popular manapua shops and all five sell black sugar manapua (or a variation).