The pon de ring, a flower-shaped doughnut made with mochiko (glutinous rice flour) has long been a crowd-pleaser at the Japanese shops of the global chain Mister Donut (or, as the Japanese call it ‘MisDo’). These sinkers aren’t just pretty, they’re quite tasty, too: soft, chewy, not too sweet, and so perfect for dipping in either coffee or tea. These yeast-raised rice doughnuts have been popular in other parts of Asia for nearly a decade now, but have only now made it to Philippine shores.
Japanese bakery JiPan was one of the first to ride the mochi doughnut wave, serving up rice-flour rings topped with one’s choice of chocolate or strawberry-white choc or even green-tea-white-choc frosting as far back as 2012. More recently, a local stall has begun to offer pon de ring-style sinkers in a variety of flavors. This is Gavino’s.
Gavino’s Donuts and Coffee prides itself on ‘Japanese donuts and more’. Their mochi donuts come in a number of interesting flavors: the usual sugar glazed and the more intriguing green tea glazed ones. (The green tea flavor actually pops at you, a herbaceous, green flavor that goes beautifully with the lightly sweet dough.) There are peanut butter doughnuts, several chocolate ones, and even a rather fetching red velvet one that sports a pretty coating of cream cheese frosting. Even the munchkins – referred to here as mochi balls – are more interesting as these are piped full of scrumptious, unctuous fillings. (Go get the choco lava; watch the lush ganache spurt out!) They even have cheesecake doughnuts – glazed rings that have been split open crosswise and lavishly stuffed with billowy cream cheese filling.
To describe these would be to say that they are certainly puffier, chewier than the mochi doughnuts over at JiPan. My brother goes so far as to compare these to carioca – a doughnut-like snack made with glutinous rice flour, doused with brown sugar syrup, and served in sets of three threaded onto a wooden skewer like Japanese o-dango [sweet dumplings].
I am not sure if I’d order these again, though the red velvet and cheesecake variants are certainly more than a little moreish. But these are great for nibbling with tea or gobbled down with coffee for a sweet, unusual breakfast.