The Big Felafel

The New Hannuka Miracle: American Doughnuts in Israel

Normally this time of year, starting about a month before Hannuka, the bakeries place their finest, sweetest and most oily sufganiyot in the window display so that passers-by have no choice but to indulge in the million calorie treat…several times. However, this Hannuka there is a new market on the oily goodness, in the form of real American doughnuts.

It seems that the already successful Jerusalem based Aldo ice cream shop on Emek Refaim is now cornering in on the doughnut world. With a huge sign at the front door, the store invites people to their new display of doughnuts, which happens to look exactly like Dunkin Donuts. In fact the company behind this year’s Hannuka miracle is Mr. Donuts, which have already been selling doughnuts in their Alonit stores.

The doughnuts come in all different flavors, sugar coated, chocolate with sprinkles, strawberry, and banana (really not a fan). A single doughnut is NIS 6, but Aldo is currently running a deal, six doughnuts for NIS 30 (that’s almost a doughnut for each day of Hannuka, if you can really pace yourself). I’ve already bought a box full and I won’t tell you how many are left as I write this post!

The man behind the doughnut vision is Zohar Norman, owner and CEO of Cocoa Mr. Donuts. The business guru has been back in Israel for 3 years after conquering the hummus market in America with Sabra Salads. His bakery in Yavne is behind the real doughnuts, using an American style recipe which fries the doughnuts at much higher speeds and best of all are only 180-240 calories a doughnut (another Hannuka miracle). If all goes well, Norman plans to also import American style pizza and muffins, OMG!

And in an exclusive report to The Big Felafel, a source at Holy Bagel has revealed that they are also going to begin selling doughnuts in their Jerusalem stores. I can already smell the doughnut sale wars! Now, we just have to get Norman to buy into Mexican food. How about some burritos and tacos in time for Purim?

Beautiful Sufganiyot

We may not have Dunkin Donuts here in Israel, so Chanukah time and Roladin bakery’s sufganiyot (Israeli version of donuts)  are the closest we can get. Most sufganiyot could be confused with a roll – a big round piece of cakey bread, with a dot of filling which could fall off if you’re not careful. However,  I think there are a few bakeries that really put in the extra effort (read: filling)

  • Cafe Ne’eman – King George St. I recommend the white chocolate
  • Marzipan Bakery – Mahane Yehuda Market & Rahel Imenu St., Jerusalem
  • Roladin – Mamilla Mall [featured below]

Is it wrong to frame this picture and hang it over my couch? I think it’s beautiful.  I recommend the chocolate chocolate flavor. Pure heaven.  I think I’m gonna have to keep going back until I’ve tried every flavor.


Flavors include macchiato, halva, pistachio, vodka melon, banana, with all sorts of goodies sprinkled and added on top. For more sufganiya goodness, read Haaretz’s writeup.