What’s the best way to spend the first night of Hanukkah? Searching for the perfect sufganya, of course!
On Hanukkah, it’s our custom to eat fried oily foods to celebrate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Syrian-Greeks.
(Menora lit on the first night of Hanukkah at Arcaffe, Ramat HaHayal)
While in the U.S., latkes (potato pancakes) are the norm, Israelis prefer the suganyot, or doughnuts, which were traditionally filled with strawberry jelly, but nowadays come with every possible glamorous European-sounding filling and glaze to satisfy the Israeli sweet tooth and curiosity.
After posting a recipe for vegan sufganyot from Mayim Bialik last week, I went on a quest to create a guide to Israeli sufganyot. In the process I discovered that many bakeries now offer vegan options of the popular doughnuts to serve the ever-growing vegan community of Israel.
Below a list of bakeries visited. (Mind you, there are many other bakeries that I haven’t been to this Hanukkah that may have marvelous sufganyot. Please add a comment below if you know of any.)
Word of caution: many of the bakeries run out of sufganyot as early as 6 p.m. So if you want the good ones, get there early!
1. Roladin chain (English site available). 43 branches throughout Israel. Kosher
2. Biscotti (Hebrew website). 67 Hayarkon St., Bnei Brak. Kosher
3. Metuka (Hebrew website). (1) 18 Herzel St., (2) Asuta Hospital on HaBarzel St., (3) Ramat Hahayal, (4) 30 Tagor St., Ramat Aviv, all in Tel Aviv. Kosher. Has vegan options.
4. Piece of Cake (Hebrew website). (1) 46 King George St., Tel Aviv, (2) 17 Yehuda Hayamit St., Jaffa. Has many vegan options.
5. Movieing Bakery (Hebrew website). 25 Yermiyahu St., Tel Aviv. Has vegan options.
6. Bakery (English website available). 13 Yad Harutzim, 72 Ibn Gvirol (Kikar Rabin) and 67 Weizman St. (Kikar HaMedina)
7. Mr. Donut (Hebrew Facebook page) spotted at Agvanya Pizza. HaNechoshet 1, Tel Aviv. Kosher. Completely vegan
And now the beautiful sufganyot in all their glory!
1. Roladin chain (English site available)
This is is the largest bakery chain in Israel with 43 branches throughout the country. I went to the store in Rosh Haayin. The Tel Aviv branch addresses can be found here, but chances are, you’ll stumble upon one wherever you are.
All the sufganyot looked fantastic, but because of the lack of vegan options, I didn’t have any. I took my non-vegan mother on this doughnut tour with me to be fair to all the sufganyot out there. She had quite a few at Roladin and she was licking her fingers.
And this chain never runs out of their sufganyot no matter what time you show up.
Fill: White chocolate vanilla. Glaze: Caramel with Florentine cookies
The more traditional sufganyot:
Left: Strawberry Jelly
Classical strawberry filling
Right: Condensed Milk
Condensed milk filling
Left: Banana cote
White chocolate and banana ganache. Glaze: caramel, caramelized almonds, meringue drops
Right: Pop rocks
Filling: chocolate and pop rocks. Glazing: Belgian chocolate and colored candies
These beautiful creatures are Irish Coffee
Filling: White chocolate coffee whiskey ganache. Glaze: Belgian chocolate, meringue coffee drops and whipped cream.
These beauties look like a strange combination, but my mom had one and said it was fabulous: Crunchy Bunchy
Filling: Milk chocolate and panna cotta ganache. Glaze: Belgian chocolate and caramelized pretzels, chocolate chaser
This is my favorite (to look at)! The absolutely beautiful Pistouche
Filling: Pistacio and white chocolate cream. Glaze: pistachio and amarena cherry
2. Biscotti (Hebrew website)
Located on 67 Hayarkon St., Bnei Brak, right next to the Ayalon Mall. This is not far from the Eastern side of the Hayarkon park and and if you are biking around there, you may do a quick detour for a treat. (It’s also close to the Bnei Brak train station and not too far from Ramat Hahayal). If you do pop in, you are in for a treat! Just look at the photos and you will have a massive graving for this glazed sugary-sweet craziness!
This bakery offers an abundance of sufganyot right until the closing time at 9 p.m.
Strawberry jelly doughnut
Filling and glaze: strawberry jelly
Belgian chocolate cream
Filling and glaze: Belgian chocolate
White chocolate cream
Filling and glaze: white chocolate
Filling: banana cream. Glaze: Belgian chocolate, and caramelized hazelnuts
Filling: strawberry and whipped cream. Glazing: vanilla
Belgian Chocolate Nut Cream
Filling: Belgian chocolate. Glazing: Walnut and hazelnut nougat
Filling: Toffee cream. Glazing: Caramel and toffee sparkles
Filling: Coconut cream. Glazing: Pink coconut sparkles
3. Metuka (Hebrew website)
The chain has three locations, all in Tel Aviv, on 18 Herzel St., at Asuta Hospital on HaBarzel St., Ramat Hahayal and Tagor 30, Ramat Aviv. I went to the one in Asuta Hospital in Ramat HaHayal.
This store runs out of sufganyot before 6 p.m. so get your sufganya fix in the morning or early afternoon.
The sufganyot sold at Metuka are simply works of art. It’s hard to walk part their distinctive style and appeal. They are also slightly more expensive than most sufganyot on the market.
Strawberry Jelly Doughnut – the vegan option
Chocolate M&Ms for kids
Filled and glazed with ‘Shachar’ chocolate and sprinkled with M&Ms.
And of course, my daughter Maya would not calm down until I got her this sufganya (candy does appeal to kids, and especially if it’s embedded in chocolate). I had to fight my way to the register through a long line of customers sweeping the last of the store’s doughnuts and just handed NIS 10 to the cashier saying “Keep the change,” my Israeli chutzpah on full display.
Filling: pink merengue and raspberry cream. Glaze: powdered sugar.
Other options included (at earlier hours):
Irish Chocolate (dark glaze in the photo below, left)
White Chocolate and Nugat Cream (white glaze in the photo below, left)
Saverina Strawberry (the strawberry sandwich in the photos below)
Kicking Tiramisu (top sufganya in the left-hand photo)
Alfajores (Can be seen underneath the Saverina strawberry in the left-hand photo, toward the back)
Chocolate Freilina (the gorgeous ‘sandwich’ all the way to the right)
4. Piece of Cake (Hebrew website)
This chain has 2 shops, one on 46 King George St., Tel Aviv, and one on 17 Yehuda Hayamit St., Jaffa.
The specials include Chocolate Florentine, Vanilla Shell, Nutella and Strawberry Jelly
(NIS 20 for 4 sufganyot, NIS 40 for 9 sufganyot)
Dulce de Leche
What’s really cool about the Piece of Cake, besides it’s awesome name, is its vegan menu (it has received Vegan Friendly stamp of approval). There are four soufganyot that are vegan on the menu!
(Explanations in English below)
Chocolate and Candy Ganache
Double strawberry jelly
Vegan sugar glazing
In the morning hours you can also find vegan soufganyot with halva glazing for NIS 6.
5. Movieing Bakery (Hebrew website).
The bakery is located on 25 Yermiyahu St., Tel Aviv, adjacent to the Movieing Restaurant and Bar. What is amazing about this place is that it’s open 24/7 – the classic Tel Aviv establishment. If you have an early craving for a doughnut after, say, holiday-inspired bar-hopping at 2 a.m., you can show up at Movieing to satisfy your sweet tooth.
There were some impressive vegan options: two pretty cool vegan sufganyot. The dairy sufganyot looked different from the ones in all the other shops – definitely in a ‘Moveing’ style.
Yogurt White Chocolate and Granola
Dolce de Leche
Glazed with white chocolate and caramel and and dolce de leche
“Prili” Strawberries with Sour Cream
Left top & right bottom: Dark chocolate ganache and nugat
RIght top & left bottom: Strawbelly jelly
6. Bakery (English website available)
The chain has 3 locations, all in Tel Aviv: 13 Yad Harutzim, 72 Ibn Gvirol (Kikar Rabin) and 67 Weizman St. (Kikar HaMedina).
Even though Bakery only offers two kinds of sufganyot for the holidays, strawberry jam and salty caramel, the line of customers stretches all the way into the street. No wonder – Bakery boasts a huge fan base in central Tel Aviv.
Strawberry Jam Doughnut
Salty Caramel Doughnut
Photo credit for the Bakery photos goes to my friend Donna Griffit
7. Mr. Donut (Hebrew Facebook page) spotted at Agvanya Pizza in Ramat HaHayal. HaNechoshet 1, Tel Aviv.
The Agvanya pizza establishment is notable because it is a part of a large pizza chain, which offers a really good healthy pizza place with a tofu-based option for a cheese topping, as well as many other vegan products.
This particular store decided to offer products by Mr. Donut, a company producing American-style ‘donuts,’ not unlike those enjoyed by Homer Simpson. Mr. Donut sells at a variety of locations, including at stands at certain shopping malls on Fridays. See their Facebook page for details.
For purchase of 6 or more, each sufganya will cost NIS 5 while a single sufganya will cost NIS 7. If you are having a Hanukkah party, I would say this box is a winner.
From top to bottom and left to right:
Vanilla and Creme Patisserie
Strawberry and Sprinkle Glaze
Chocolate and Creme Patisserie
Vanilla and Sprinkle Glaze
Dulce de Leche and Granola Glaze
The following are varieties of the above with an addition of special filling of chocolate, strawberry jelly, etc., inside the donut (all for the same price).
Besides looking super cool, they are also vegan and ‘almost’ low-calorie (they claim their average doughnut is between 180-240 calories, and they are also much smaller).
So what’s YOUR favorite sufganya?