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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogPon de Ring Donuts: Why Are They So Good?

Pon de Ring Donuts: Why Are They So Good?

Devon Lord-MoncriefDevon Lord-Moncrief
Published Time
Posted on 
February 28, 2024
A pink pon de ring donut.

What happens when you mix one of the world’s favorite sweets with one of Japan’s most iconic foods? You get Pon de Ring donuts! A fusion of classic American donuts and Japanese mochi, Pon de Ring donuts are the best of both worlds.

Pon de Ring donuts are fantastic because of their crispy exteriors and chewy interiors. Whether you like smaller donuts or larger, more artisanal treats, Pon de Ring donuts have you covered. If you’ve never heard of them, continue reading to learn about this popular baked snack!

Why are donuts famous in Japan?

Donuts are among the large variety of popular baked goods in Japan. Unlike in America, however, famous brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts are not the most popular retailer of donuts. Donut chain Mister Donut is the leader of donut shops throughout Japan, catering more to traditional Japanese tastes. 

A glazed matcha donut.
There are many donut shops across Japan! Image via Shutterstock

The presence of smaller, local bakeries also lends good competition to the larger chains, ensuring that customers always have a healthy selection of shops. Whether you visit a larger chain or an independently run store, there’s a solid chance you’ll find a solid assortment of donuts. With how active Japanese people are and how often they travel by foot, bike, and train, having small, convenient snacks like donuts makes perfect sense.

What are pon de ring donuts?

Pon de Ring donuts are baked goods that resemble traditional donuts in shape, texture, and taste. What makes them so unique is the inclusion of glutinous rice flour or tapioca flour. This hybrid flour creates a much chewier donut than traditional donuts, resulting in a product easily pulled apart. 

A plate of pon de ring donuts.
A pon de ring donut uses glutinous rice flour! Image via Shutterstock

These donuts are often baked into small circular shapes, with about eight small balls forming a ring. First baked by Charmaine Ocasek in Hawaii in 1992 and known as “poi mochi,” these special donuts quickly took off in Japan when Mister Donut began featuring them. Today, these special mochi donuts can be found in stores, bakeries, and supermarkets.

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What are some popular pon de ring flavors?

Original Glazed

The golden standard of any good donut. Original Pon de Ring donuts are baked with a simple batter and decorated with a simple glaze. The donut should emphasize the batter’s quality, the baked dough’s golden hue, and the bake’s freshness. A good donut should be slightly crisp on the outside, pull slightly when bitten, and have sweet and slightly savory notes. 

Glazed mochi donuts.
Glazed is a classic flavor! Image via Shutterstock

A quality glaze can impart any flavor imaginable while complimenting the simplicity of the donut itself. These glazed donuts can be gorgeous, with beautiful icing and colorful sprinkles shining in display cases. A good glaze makes for an attractive donut, and an attractive product will sell.

Strawberry

Strawberries are incredibly popular in Japan and can be found in countless foods nationwide. Strawberry-flavored donuts blend the natural sweetness of fresh, red strawberries and the warm, heavy flavors of fresh donuts. The attention to detail in decorating strawberry donuts almost makes them too attractive to eat. 

A strawberry pon de ring donut.
Strawberry is a popular flavor! Image via Shutterstock

Pale pink frosting, vibrant red glaze, and glistening pieces of fresh strawberries can adorn these varieties of donuts. These donuts make perfect purchases for Valentine’s Day or any other special event you want to celebrate. If strawberries are your favorite fruit, these are the donuts for you.

Mochi

A fitting flavor profile for Pon de Ring donuts, mochi is a versatile and beloved flavor in Japan. Made from special sweet rice, mochi is a food product that dates back thousands of years in Japan.

Three mochi donuts.
Mochi donuts are famous worldwide! Image via Shutterstock

Blending the earthy, mellow flavors with the sweet profiles of a hot, freshly baked donut is a perfect marriage of flavors. Some varieties of mochi can be much sweeter than others, allowing customers to pick the perfect variety they enjoy the most. Nothing beats a hotly baked donut with a dusting of mochi powder.

Why should I try them?

Donuts are an obvious choice for a good snack if you like sweets. Donuts can serve as a quick breakfast on the go, a sweet compliment for lunch, or a special dessert reserved for you and a loved one. Being so small and affordable, donuts are easy to buy in large quantities. With so many different flavors, styles, and presentations available, donuts are among the most versatile baked treats you can buy.

Two chocolate pon de ring donuts.
Have you ever had Pon de Ring donuts before? Image via Shutterstock

What’s your favorite flavor of donuts? Have you had Pon de Ring donuts before? If so, where did you get them? What’s your favorite kind? Please tell us in the comments below! We would love to hear about your favorite Japanese snacks!

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