The World in Donuts

If bread is a worldwide staple, then fried bread must be the world’s most universal treat. In North America, the fried bread that we enjoy the most is a donut. Whether they come from Dunkin Donuts or from the artisan, organic, gluten-free bakery down the street, donuts are enjoyed all over the continent.

What people might not know is that every culture around the world has their own unique type of donut. We’ve done a convenient round up of these deep-fried delights. Take a look to see which kind of donut you should try next.

1. Beignets

As a New Orleans staple, beignets are the alternate type of donut most familiar to Americans. Beignets originated in France, and were brought to America by Acadian settlers, who came to Louisiana via Atlantic Canada. Beignets are square pockets of dough that are deep fried, and served plain under a mountain of icing sugar.

Most visitors to New Orleans head straight to Cafe Du Monde to get their beignet fix, which is a great choice if you’re willing to wait in line. Beignets are amazing on their own, but taste even better alongside a café au lait — made with authentic Louisiana chicory coffee, of course.

2. Sonhos

Sonhos, which are a type of donut popular all over Portugal, is also the Portuguese word for “dreams.” It makes sense as sonhos are a day-dream worthy mix of deep fried dough, and cinnamon sugar. Many people choose to serve these plain, with a little bit of powdered sugar and cinnamon on top, but others drizzle them in a golden syrup and let that absorb before serving.

3. Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot are a type of donut that’s traditionally served around the Jewish holiday of Hannukah. Hannukah commemorates a miracle in which ritual oil meant to last one day lasted for eight full days, so traditionally festival Hannukah recipes contain a lot of oil.

Sufganiyot dough is shaped into balls, deep-fried in oil, then filled with jelly. Modern Israeli chefs have pioneered new versions of sufganiyot containing interesting fillings like halvah, liquor, caramel, or flavored cream. Israel’s Roladin bakery chain has been consistently recommended for their sufganiyot and they have locations all over the country, so make sure to stop by if you’re there around the holidays.

irkaz / Shutterstock

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