VOODOO DOUGHNUTNo. 28, Lane 553, ZhongXiao S. Rd, Sec. 4
MRT: SYS Memorial Hall or Taipei City Hall
hours: 9:30AM - 10PM, closed Monday and Tuesday
website: Voodoo Doughnut Taiwan's FB page
$-$$ (Cash only)
Kid friendliness: lots of room for seating and strollers and kids likely to want their own donuts!
Visit reviewed: 6/18/2015
It's easy to spot, with a bright pink neon sign and its voodoo doll character.
Once inside, behind the counter there was a wall of pink donut boxes over racks of doughnuts ready to go, a familiar sight to those who grew up in the US. The colorful chalkboard menu listed over 35 doughnuts in English and Chinese, organizing them into cake doughnuts and raised doughnuts. Doughnuts twirled around on tiered glass displays on each side of the counter, giving a glimpse of what to order. There's also considerable room for sitting and snacking and enjoying a cup of coffee with your doughnut.
Since I had never been to Portland and wasn't that familiar with Voodoo's doughnuts (being mostly in Taipei for the last 11 years), I had to quiz the server what some of the specialties were, such as Old Dirty Bastard, No Name, Portland Cream, Triple Chocolate Penetration and Tex-Ass. (I wonder how these are translated into Chinese?! Haha) Mainly, I looked at the doughnuts in the display and asked what the ones I didn't know were and glanced back and forth from the menu and display.
Cake doughnuts and Old Fashioned cake doughnuts are the cheapest (NT35-50), while the Devil's Food cake chocolate doughnuts and crullers are NT$45-70. The raised doughnuts are the yeasted donuts- raised bars, rings and filled doughnuts are NT$30-95 and the fritters and specialty doughnuts are bigger and most expensive from NT$115-175. There are plain, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, vanilla with sprinkles, maple, glazed and doughnuts topped with coconut, cereal and bacon. They also made a special Taipei Cream donut that's available only in Taipei.
Even though I am familiar with doughnuts and know what I generally like (old fashioned, fritters, maple bacon doughnuts), I asked a ton of questions because the doughnuts in the display aren't labeled and the names on the chalkboard didn't have descriptions. I guess in the future, they could print a few photo menus to have on the counter with mini descriptions to help first timers get familiar with what they want to order and prevent a bottleneck at the counter. Luckily Voodoo Doughnuts had just been open for a few days and was still in their soft opening so I had the store to myself to figure out what I wanted. I think also they should figure out some sampler pack of their bestsellers so that people can just choose a Voodoo dozen, which they had written on the chalkboard but was not available yet.
I asked if I could get a price break if I bought a dozen or if they were doing any soft opening promotions (like checking in on instagram and Facebook and getting a free doughnut or something along those lines) and they said no. Krispy Kreme had an intense marketing push giving away tons of free doughnuts and garnering social media word of mouth when they opened, so much that they had people waiting up to four hours in line around the block for almost three months after their launch. Despite people saying for years that Krispy Kreme was too sweet for Taiwanese people, they got people to show up out of curiosity who wanted to post photos with their box of doughnuts.
Can Voodoo Doughnut succeed by doing a slow launch when it doesn't have the same brand recognition yet in Asia and the culture here just isn't that obsessed with doughnuts? Especially when you are competing not only with other doughnut shops, but with a multitude of bakeries, sweets, street eats and cafes on every corner in Taipei. I think it would help to do some promotions for your early customers and start the Voodoo Dozen pricing since we are the ones who are obsessed and more likely to return.
maple bacon donut (NT$95), since that was the one I had fallen in love with a few years earlier from DK Donuts in LA. It's like a plate of pancakes, maple syrup butter and bacon on the go. I actually love the flavor combination so much I tried to convince the guys at Drip Cafe to do a maple bacon cronut when I was taking all my friends there before it got crazy.
There's a good guide to doughnuts on Serious Eats, but I'll post some close ups of the doughnuts with their names so hopefully it'll be a bit faster next time to figure out what to order. I shared most of the other doughnuts with others so I didn't get to try all of them, but I liked the old fashioned and the peanut chocolate cake doughnut that I got a bite of.
Old Fashioned - Maple (NT$50)
Voodoo Doll (NT$90)
Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate icing and raspberry jelly filling
Dirty Snowball (NT$70)
Devil Food's chocolate cake donut with strawberry icing, topped with shredded coconut and peanut butter in the middle
The Loop (NT$52)
Raised doughnut with vanilla frosting covered in fruit loop cereal (Anyone else find it amusing that this is NT$52 instead of NT$50 or NT$55? You'd think it's easier for change to keep all the prices even since they are cash only.)
Triple Chocolate Penetration Doughnut (NT$55)
Chocolate cake doughnut covered in chocolate frosting and chocolate puff cereal
Old Dirty Bastard (NT$75)
Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, crushed Oreos and peanut butter
Chocolate french cruller (NT$45)
Cinnamon Sugar Cake doughnut (NT$45)
Droolworthy? Let me know if you try Voodoo Doughnuts in Taiwan in the comments and what you thought! I'm constantly fascinated by what foreign/American eats ends up in Taipei and always hope it succeeds and translates and tastes good. I hope Voodoo can find its niche market and be affordable while not adjusting to local tastes, but offer doughnuts that taste like they did back at home.