Panya: More Than Just A Bakery

Jo McGarry
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Friday - February 03, 2006
| | podcast Podcast |

Panya Bakery in Ala Moana Center has something special for everyone any time of day
Panya Bakery in Ala Moana Center
has something special for
everyone any time of day

Ala Moana Center has so many food outlets that it can be hard to decide what to eat and where to go. I remember taking my dad there once, and a simple “what would you like” turned into an hour of deliberating over a too many choices.

The easiest place to eat and meet, where parking never seems to be a problem and where breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night foods are served in a pleasant, European/Asian environment, is at Panya Bakery.

The owners are sisters Annie and Alice Yeung, and both share exquisite taste and a talent for pastry-making and choosing menu items that are both light and incredibly tasty.

I can now freely admit that part of my pregnancy weight gain was due to my inability to resist their cream cheese doughnuts every time I went to visit my doctor. Now that the weight is off, I try (most days unsuccessfully) to resist their gorgeous pastry offerings.

A fairly typical Japanese-style bakery is at the front of Panya, where you can help yourself to a bounty of freshly baked rolls, beautifully flaky, buttery croissants, doughnuts and a selection of savory pastries filled with tuna, ham and sausage. More than 80 choices are offered most days and include everything from Danish to muffins, scones and the signature Hokkaido. Panya means “the bread house” and the name is fitting. Alice and Annie take their bread very seriously. Before opening Panya they traveled to Japan and invited a master baker to come to Honolulu to teach them and the

Panya staff how to bake.

“We thought that there really wasn’t anywhere to buy good bread in Honolulu,” says Alice, “and we wanted to change that.” Because the bread is so good, the sandwiches are excellent. But there are a host of lunch items, including excellent noodles, salads, soups and curries to try, too.

For late-night shoppers and early-evening revelers, Panya has a very trendy bar area where cocktails are served in a decidedly European atmosphere.

“We wanted to blend both European and Japanese culture in Panya,” they say, “and make people feel welcome almost any time of the day or night.”

It’s working. A great atmosphere, wonderful pastries, delicate sandwiches and a couple of robust dishes like oxtail soup and chicken curry all add to a menu that has a little bit of East and West meeting nicely in the middle of the Pacific’s largest shopping mall.

Panya Bakery and Café Ala Moana Center Mall Level (next to The Gap)

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