I've been coming to Panya since it first opened near the Victoria Ward Centre back in the late 90s. That shop has since closed to make way for a new highrise called Hokua. About a year ago, Panya moved to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, and in addition to the wonderful European-inspired Japanese breads and pastries, they are now serving hot entrées (breakfast, lunch and dinner) among other things.
The shop is bright and spacious, and the interior offers some funky touches. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the shop's interior. On my next visit, I will take some and update this post.
Panya in Japanese means bread shop, and the breads and pastries are definitely the highlight of what's on offer here. Today, I bought something that is not regularly offered, the crown bread (US$2.85).
The woman at the counter advised me that this bread was made from dinner rolls that were baked in a pan and topped with apricot jam. The bread came apart in sections, and was light and fluffy. The apricot jam offered just the right combination of sweet and tart. This was a great match for the lychee-flavored tea I had after dinner.
For tomorrow, I bought one of my favorites, and what's probably the bakery's best known and biggest selling offering, the Hokkaido bread (US$.99).
This is a mini loaf which is just right as a single serving. You can buy the Hokkaido bread in a 3-pack (US$2.97) or you can buy a "Big Top" Hokkaido (US$2.95). The Hokkaido bread is a sweetbread, and it's light and fluffy with just the slightest "crust" around the outside. Crisp and slightly sweet, the "crust" is a nice contrast to the airy middle. This is great and absolutely one of my favorites.
I haven't yet tried any of the food items, but I'm hoping to. If they are as good as the breads and pastries, then I'm sure that I'll enjoy them. In my opinion, Panya offers some of the best European-style Japanese breads and pastries on the Island. The Hokkaido bread is a definite "must try".
Ala Moana Shopping Center
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard