Hara Donuts (Doughnuts), Shimokitazawa

The cute little doughnut shop with its white walls

Today's feature is not about a restaurant but about a doughnut shop that has become a must visit while in Shimokitazawa (locals come here a lot as well). Things have definitely slowed down a little bit, but when they opened over a year ago, people were lining up like crazy: definitely a better time to try their specialty now. By the way, this is a chain with 13 shops as of today, so you don't necessarily need to try it here. However, they are right across my favorite espresso joint "Bear Pond Espresso", so if you want something to munch on with your coffee, you can always buy some doughnuts at the shop and bring them in the cafe.

I am sure doughnuts ask for no explanations for you, but it's always nice to have a little glimpse at the ever-educational wiki articles (where you can learn among other things that Canada has the most doughnuts stores per capita), so here it is for you. By the way, have you ever wondered why some people starting to make doughnuts in a ring shape? (the not so mind-blowing answer at the end of the post!)

The red-tinted Tomato doughnut

Hara Donuts (spelt like that) started a couple of years ago in the town of Kobe (near Osaka), when someone had the great idea of combining in the batter some of that great Tofu (soy milk cheese) by-product Okara (the substance left when soybeans are pressed to make soy milk) and Tonyu (soy milk) from the Hara Tofu Shop in business since 1968 in that same town.

The doughnuts here are quite dry (at least more than the Krispy Kreme's Original Glaze ones, for example) and you may feel like you would need a drink to finish one, but you will quickly realize that the initial dryness quickly disappears to give way to a nice chew and taste. I am not sure how the Okara affects the texture, but the doughnuts here feel interestingly more and more "doughy" as you chew. Also, though they look oily, they don't really feel that way in your mouth.

The Satokibi doughnut

The Okara added in the batter is full of vitamins and minerals, so if you don't eat three at a time, it is quite safe to say that they're "healthy". They have several different tastes, from which I would recommend the Satokibi (regular doughnut sprinkled with sugar-cane powdered sugar) and Tomato (doughnut which batter is mixed with fresh tomato).

The slightly pinkish, red Tomato Doughnut

The "Satokibi" ones are sweetened just perfectly and may go extremely with some fresh milk or some nice coffee. The "Tomato" are stranger in the way that they don't taste that much like tomato first, but as you keep on chewing, you can feel the nice aroma of the fruit getting stronger and stronger. And it actually tastes pretty good so definitely give it a try!

Once again, this did not necessarily have to be on this Shimokitazawa blog, but it has somehow become a little bit of a landmark in the neighborhood, and I find their specialty good, so I posted it!

In case you are still reading, the reason why someone started to make doughnuts in a ring shape is to avoid them being raw in the center...

Hara Donuts is open everyday from 10am to 19:00pm though they'll close when they're out of batter
Setaga-Ku, Kitazawa 3-27-2
Click here for a MAP