Nun’s Farts and Oily Balls: a Traveler’s Guide to Eating the World’s Best Donuts
There’s no mistaking the intoxicating aroma of freshly made donuts. The fried doughy goodness dipped in sweet, succulent glaze is like a beacon to our taste buds. Donuts are the breakfast food of champion coffee drinkers, the communal office snack, and catnip to police officers everywhere. Okay, the last one is a stereotype, but not entirely inaccurate. I would even goes as far in saying that the classic, ring shape with a hole in the middle is as recognized a symbol in North America as the dollar sign. But it’s not just North Americans who enjoy eating fried, sugary dough. Each country has their own take on this decadent dessert and their own unique names for it too.
But it begs the question, would a donut by any other name taste as sweet? Let’s hop on this glazey train and find out! Here’s your guide to enjoying the most popular donuts around the world.
Oliebollen (Oil Balls)
If you’re in a bakery in the Netherlands and ask for a donut you will probably get a lot of confused looks. But order up a dozen oily balls, more formerly called Oliebollen, and out will come a tray of tasty fried dough balls sometimes mixed with raisins and always topped with powdered sugar.
Pete De Soeur (Nun’s farts)
The last thing you want to associate with your dessert is the thought of eating someone’s farts, holy or not. Rest assured, this traditional pastry of Quebec is flatulence free. Pete De Soeur, which means Nun’s farts, looks similar to a cinnamon roll but has a flaky texture and is covered in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
A tantalizing twist on the classic donut, Churros are stick-shaped sweets that are often coated with sugar and cinnamon and stuffed with tasty fillings like chocolate, dulce de leche and fruit. Whether you’re in Mexico or Spain, you’re sure to find Churros on the breakfast menu. But, instead of ordering it with a coffee, do as the locals would and enjoy your churro with a cup of hot chocolate, or better yet, a side of chocolate sauce.
These delectable, deep fried balls of yeast dough are crispy on the outside with a generous sugar coating and a moist, fluffy centre. Although originally from Portugal, Malasadas were brought over to Hawaii by immigrant Portuguese workers in the late 1800s and have become an Island favorite that includes variations filled with coconut pudding, custard, and chocolate.
Probably the most unique version of the donut you’ll come across on your worldly travels is the Jalebi. Popular in South Asia, India and the Middle East, these fried loops of dough resembling funnel cakes are fried then fermented and finally soaked in syrup for a nice sweet, crunchy treat.
No matter where you come from, one thing we can all agree on is nothing is more satisfying than eating fried dough covered in sugar.