The chinese donut comes in two main forms, salty or sweet. The salty version which is admittedly quite bland, however paired with a bowl of congee and you’ve just leveled up your Chinese donut game creating a classic comfort food combo. Long sticks of fried dough, the Chinese donut is visually unique with the flavour to match.
The sweet version is traditionally oval shaped, with a crispy golden crust and sweet doughy interior. Eaten on its own or paired with congee as well, the sweet Chinese donut can be found in bakeries or your favourite cafe such as Double Double in Richmond.
Famous for their fresh, made from scratch Chinese donuts, Double Double is a no frills cafe located in a Richmond strip mall. Sharing a table with some strangers, also known as “daap toi” in Cantonese we try the various Chinese donuts from salty, to sweet, to even a version wrapped in a steamed rice roll.
In exploring another fried dough alternative from a different culture, we visit Dhaliwal sweets on Vancouver’s Fraser St. The owners share a sampling of sweets, highlighting Gulab Jamun a sweet fried dough which comes in the form of small circular balls. We also try the Indian sweet favourite, Julabi, a bright orange swirl which is also fried and similar to an Indian version of a funnel cake.
To cap off the episode, we have to visit a classic donut establishment, so we head to none other than Duffins donuts. Growing up in East Vancouver, Derek remembers the original Duffins location on Main and 33rd, vividly describing the tight packed parking lot and the group of Chinese chess playing fellows who were always on the picnic tables outside the entrance. We chat with the original owners of Duffins and discuss why many Cambodian’s started donut businesses in North America.