The Rolling Donut (Dublin, Ireland)

On the last day of our visit to Ireland, I had a spare hour in my schedule, so I decided to walk up from Temple Bar to Lower O’Connell Street to check out the An Post Museum (central location of the 1916 Easter Rising) and the fairly new Spire of Dublin. Neither of which really impressed me much; the An Post museum is more of a “room” than a “museum” (although it is neat to see gunshots and mortar damage to the building outside), and the Spire is basically a giant steel toothpick that’s already showing a bit of corrosion. But on the way back down to my hotel in Temple Bar, about a block south of An Post, I noticed the smell of…. fresh donuts.

And nestled in the entry way an internet cafe (which I’m still surprised are as ubiquitous as they are, since it seems everyone has a laptop, smartphone, etc these days) was a small kiosk called “Rolling Donut”, with a healthy queue of people lined up. Peering inside, it’s a compact little space, with most of the volume taken up by one of those automated donut makers (you fill the hopper with batter, and it automatically dumps little circles of batter in the oil and moving it down a trough of hot oil, flipping it once, and eventually dumping it into a hopper). Being pleasantly reminded of many events in Minnesota (where it’s apparently impossible to schedule a street fair without having at least one “mini donut” vendor having a smaller version of this same contraction, and you can’t swing a corndog without hitting at least two of them at the Minnesota State Fair), I decided to join the queue.

Getting to the front of the queue, I saw they had two flavors: “chocolate” and “sugared”. Seeing that they were only 60c each, I opted for one of each. The chocolate ones were premade, so that one just had handed to me, but the sugared ones were made to order: a fresh donut extracted from the bin (still steaming hot), dredged on each side with the sugar/cinammon mix, and handed to you. The chocolate glazed one was just okay; the result was similar to an Entennmann’s Donut. However, the sugared one was excellent: the donut itself had the perfect combination of a crisp exterior and a soft fluffy interior, without being overly soggy with the cooking grease. Each bite gives just a little bit of crunch, and little bit of not-to-sweet cake, and just enough sweetness and spice from the sugary coating. It’s not the perfect cake donut, but it’s pretty close. And it certainly did remind me of the Minnesota State Fair. And looking up this place afterward, it appears to have been there for 20+ years.

So for those looking for a cheap snack in Dublin, it’s hard to beat these for 60c each. Just forgo the chocolate ones.

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