Poi Doughnuts ($8) at Lani Kai come eight to an order—tiny, puffy orbs dusted in powdered sugar. On the side, a silky rum-spiked caramel, thin enough to justify coating the entire ball with that warm dipping sauce. Poi is a Hawaiian staple, a paste made from pounded taro and water, which is usually eaten plain as a starch. Integrate the paste into dessert doughnuts and we're in completely different territory. It gives the fried-to-order doughnuts a slightly chewy texture and a distinct, creamy taro flavor. A well-browned crust that crunches, and you've got a bowl of doughnuts worth devouring on your own.
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