Wednesday, October 25, 2006
bakery/breakfast: MISTER DONUT
-NYNY Mall in Xin Yi district
-across from the Takashimaya Mall: 39, Fusing S Rd., Sec. 1, (02) 8772-5990
-Taipei Main Station underground
-and other locations
www.mrdonut.com.tw (in Chinese only)
visit reviewed: 10/12/2006
For those of you who have yet to hear of Mister Donut, it's a chain donut store from Japan (though I heard somewhere it actually originated in the US), which had a crazy debut in Taiwan, where the lines to get a box of donuts would take up to four hours. Yup, you heard that right- people waited up to FOUR HOURS for ONE BOX of donuts.
Crazy right? It even sprouted up a business where students would sell their "waiting services"- you ordered your donuts online through them and they added a fee of NT$10 or US30cents or so per donut and they studied or text messaged or whatever while they waited in line for you. Each donut is about NT$30 or so, so it was a hefty 30 cents or 30 percent fee per donut.
But now, since they've expanded, you can usually get your donuts within 5 minutes, though sometimes I see mini-lines sprout up.
Is it worth the wait?
Well, first off, the donuts aren't like your typical American donuts, at least to my tastebuds.
The most popular "pon de ring" donut is made from a gluten-based flour which gives the donut a slightly chewy texture, kind of like if you combined mochi and a donut together. It's not very sweet and quite dense. Sort of the opposite of Krispy Kremes I suppose- which are very sweet and light- which I end up craving whenever I see a Mr. Donut.
While Mister Donut has other less chewy donuts, overall, I think their donuts are so-so. They also have old fashioned, cruellers, cake, sugar, jelly and eclair donuts, but I find them either too dense or bland or too sweet, depending on the type of donut and frosting. While it's good for a quick snack, it's pricey for a donut- US$1, with no discount if you buy a full dozen.
I wasn't sure how to classify Mr. Donut- is it a dessert? Is it breakfast? Is it a bakery? Most people don't really eat donuts for breakfast here, like you would Dunkin Donuts, so I just put it under bakery. The pristine counters and rows of donuts behind the glass makes it fun as you point and pick out your donuts and you watch them carefully pack them into the box. But if you click around the website, you can watch videos or download desktop images of the pon de ring lion. I guess the disappointing thing, is that they don't taste as good as they look.
This month, they gave away little stickers with purchase, so if you matched two of the same prize, you could win either a free donut, cup of coffee or Mister Donut lion pen. While the mascot is super cute, it seems to be used pretty sparingly in the decor of the store.
More recently, they started having donut holes, which I was very excited about. But I found them to be dry and dense. I miss those melt-in-your-mouth donut holes from Dunkin Donuts (which strangely enough, is all over Korea)!
The Mister Donuts are pretty much the only donut chain in Taipei, until someone decides to make lots of money by bringing Krispy Kremes here. That would be so awesome! So if you are craving donuts, try the pon de ring donut, but be prepared for the chewiness! If you are craving Krispy Kremes, well, ask someone to bring some back for you.