Moloka‘i Hot Bread Now Available on O‘ahu
An O‘ahu food truck peddles Kanemitsu Bakery’s most popular bread, and you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to get it.
Photos: Brittany Lyte
Established in 1935 by a family of Japanese immigrants, Kanemitsu Bakery in Moloka‘i’s main town of Kaunakakai has a hidden, late-night bread business, where bakers slice and slather steaming fresh loaves of bread with generous spreads of cream cheese, butter, cinnamon, and strawberry or blueberry jam. The result is a frying-pan-sized loaf of soft bread oozing with flavored filling, served out of an alley window.
Now Moloka‘i’s hot bread craze is a culinary export. With the launch of a food truck on O‘ahu in mid-2018, the Kanemitsu family is serving up hot bread on a rotating schedule at about a dozen locations across O‘ahu.
The food truck is a daytime enterprise, peddling about 1,000 daily loaves made from the same secret family recipe that the Kanemitsu family has been using for almost 85 years.
But there a few defining differences.
Bread purchased from the food truck is fresh, but it’s not piping hot. It’s baked fresh in the morning at a production bakery in Kalihi. Then it gets loaded onto the truck, which operates daily from 1 p.m. until the product sells out.
A monthly schedule is available on the food truck’s website. Locations range from Hale‘iwa Beach Park to the foot of Diamond Head.
Another deviation from the Moloka‘i hot bread tradition: The food truck offers a special filling flavor of the month. In addition to the classics, the food truck is experimenting with flavors like peanut butter-chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, red velvet and strawberry guava.
Customers can order the bread with any combination of filling flavors or take it home naked to use as sandwich bread.
Darren Tsuchiya, the new O‘ahu-based partner in the Kanemitsu food truck business, says he is on the hunt for a brick-and-mortar bakery where O‘ahu customers would be able to buy the bread fresh out of the oven, as on Moloka‘i.
In the more distant future, Moloka‘i hot bread might continue to expand its reach with sister bakeries on Maui and in Las Vegas, Tsuchiya says.
“When you think of Moloka‘i, you think of Moloka‘i hot bread,” Tsuchiya says. “But Moloka‘i is just this quiet, small town. There have been constant, constant requests from the customers for us to expand. It’s just a matter of what makes sense.”