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Waili keeps the coffee and donuts coming

ChaoMa branch: 899, LiMing Rd., sec. 2
Chung Yo branch: "C" Building, B3 level, Chung Yo Department Store
停業 Closed

---By Douglas Habecker Translated by Uvia Chang

It is my honest opinion that nothing goes better with a hot cup of coffee, or a cold glass of milk, than a donut. However, I'm not talking about just any donut. For the proper effect, it has to be a thick, rich, cakey, all-American donut, preferably covered with powdered sugar or frosting. Dunk this into your mug, take a bite and it's pure heaven.

Over the last 150 years, Americans have consumed billions of donuts in an unstoppable craze that has given the pastry a hallowed place in the nation's food heritage. Usually, credit for inventing the donut goes to American ship captain Hansen Gregory who in 1847 came up with the idea because--depending on the story--he was a cheapskate trying to save on dough, he needed both hands on the ship's wheel and jammed a pastry on a spoke, or he found a novel solution for avoiding the uncooked centers of the fried pastries.

Sadly, Taichung residents lacked the opportunity to enjoy this rich heritage, until about 18 months ago when Waili Donuts introduced true American-style donuts for the first time. Opening at Christmas, 2004, the home-grown donut chain has since then expanded to three stores and has plans for another six in Taichung and Taipei before 2006 ends. From the very beginning, Waili did things the right way, inviting U.S. experts over to train staff and set up facilities. The results were immediate, as local residents began lining up for a taste.

Waili offers a total of 50 types of donuts (NT$20-35 each), including plain, powdered, frosted and nut-covered cake-style donuts (duo na chuan) and chewier, yeast-based donuts (tien tien chuan). There are also crullers, cream and jelly-filled donuts, and the rough-edged "old fashion" style donuts. Waili General Manager Lin Kan-Bo says that "Chocolate Waili" yeast-based donut and the cake-type "Chocolate Vermicelli" donut are the most popular with adults, while the kids love the boxes of six different-flavored "Waili Balls" donut "holes" or six mini donuts.

Local consumers tend to take their donuts to go, but Lin says that a growing number are opting to stay and relax with a donut and drink in the comfortable seating areas provided at the ChaoMa and DaYe branches. To encourage this, Waili now offers a variety of low-priced, hot and iced coffees (made with high-quality Italian Illy-brand beans), plus teas and sorbets--together with various donut-and-drink specials. Hopefully, it's not long before all Taichung residents, like Americans, discover the joys of dunking and eating their donuts.

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