Once you pop, you don’t stop. You just, erm, die.
Krispy Kreme’s Singapore debut casts a light of optimism for Singaporeans who’ve been buying their doughnuts by the dozens on the sly overseas and flying them in; and for the American-listed company as it grapples with declining sales due to over-expansion and its notoriety of its high fat donuts. In fact, wherever Krispy Kreme went, crowds…and obesity rates followed. But really, why is Krispy Kreme really that popular?
According to a Guardian article, the brand is synonymous with glamorous American mythology, having made its debut in John Travolta’s 1998 film, Primary Colors. It has gone on Ally McBeal, The Sopranos and most famously, Sex and the City where Miranda is seen sharing a Krispy Kreme with her date. There’s also the branding – the personality and marketing of Krispy Kreme screams “old”, “classic”, “traditional”, and subtly, “original”, and that’s exactly what today’s discerned consumers are attracted to.
The “pull” factor gets more sinister: fat and sugar form the crux of comfort food, and Krispy Kreme’s got more of them than its competitors. At the lowest end of the spectrum, the company’s classic glazed donut contains 217 calories and 13g fat, a New York Cheesecake has 340 calories and 20g fat, and…I can frankly tell you, it gets higher and higher. In comparison, J. Co’s…aren’t any better, either, although they don’t reach the 380 calorie highs of Krispy Kreme’s, staying within 220 calories for a glazed, and 240 calories for J. Co’s version of Krispy Kreme’s New York Cheesecake. It really doesn’t sound that bad…until you hear that recommended daily calories for an adult is about 2,500 (2,000 if you’re a woman). But consider this: a local Singapore balanced meal has about 500 to 800 calories with approximately 20g fat each.
As if that’s not enough, there’s a “push” factor. There’s an increasing mentality of the need to “reward” yourself with a sweet treat after a hard day’s work, or a long work-out session in the gym, or a week of eating salads. Such indulgences are ill-advised, and you’d probably not be doing your fitness regime or health any favors if you’re going to stuff yourself with cakes, chocolates, puffs, macarons and doughnuts. Don’t separate your dietary needs by spoiling yourself with treats. Now that you’re all well-informed, know that eating in moderation is very important (that means, consuming one donut per month at most), it’s time to talk about Krispy Kreme!
Doughnuts, it seemed that nobody could ever get them just the way I want it to be. Now, I don’t know what “it” is, but I cannot really recall the one time I was really wowed by a donut. But let me start at the beginning. My interest in doughnuts really began during my second “phase” of my Army life, where I met Wei Jian, an ordinary yet strangely charming individual whom, in my opinion, saw the world in a surrealist, realistic wander, #nohomo, really. I came to see him as a “brother” of sorts, as I do with all my Army mates…except one. One day, Wei Jian came in with a bag of doughnut balls beaming in a pool of rich, icing sugar. He’d have one, then he’d marvel, savor and study the unbelievable sensation of how a neighborhood bakery could make such heavenly treats, then eagerly share it with the rest of us. I know, I made him sound like a retard, but that’s not my intention – he really does possess a truly child-like wander. It was about this time that J. Co and Donut Factory sprang into the scene. They were, nice, as sugary sweets should be. They were light in its weight and strong in its punch, as indulgence should be. But for me, they weren’t donuts, nor were those the donut balls that Wei Jian first shared with us guys. So, my search for doughnuts is as much as the search for the perfect doughnut, as it is about reliving a lost experience of friendship and innocence.
I intended to head to the gym, but alas, late mornings turned into early afternoons, and destiny seemed intent on throwing a spanner on my plans with an elaborate street funeral march which turned the early afternoon into a mid-afternoon. By the time I finally got to Orchard, I was more than peckish. And seeing people carry boxes of Krispy Kreme, I decided, “I’d give it a good queue, just to see what’s the fuss is all about”. I don’t mean I was curious and stumbled onto the line or anything, but I’ve never tried Krispy Kreme. I’ve holidayed in places where there are Krispy Kreme outlets, but I’ve never seemed to ever see it. So, without hesitation, I joined the line.
Make no fuss about it. The wait is long, but the staff are proactive enough to help move the line forward. And one of the methods is offering an “express shortcut” for customers who’re content with a box of dozen original glazed. It’s not a dedicated line or anything – you’ve just gotta stick it out, and then, someone might come offering an “express queue” for a dozen of original glazed. I’m not sure if this is going to be a regular thing, but…don’t take my word for it.
The donuts are, in my opinion, quite expensive, averaging between SGD 2.60 and SGD 2.90 per piece. It’s especially infuriating considering Krispy Kreme’s charges internationally. For an original glazed, you could get it at SGD 2.02 in Japan; SGD 1.61 in Hong Kong; SGD 1.23 in the States and SGD 0.98 in Malaysia; versus SGD 2.60 in Singapore.
I purchased two each of the original glazed, blueberry filling and the New York Cheesecake. The blueberry one was far worse than I thought it’d be – it’s really, just a blueberry jam filling, and the jam doesn’t even taste good or anything. The original glazed was lovely, as all sweet things are, but if that’s what you want, and you’re closer to a J. Co, my advice would be to go to J. Co and avoid the 1.5 hour queue. The New York Cheesecake doughnut was fucking awesome – it’s not even a cake, but it’s by far the best cheesecake I’ve eaten in Singapore. For me, that could be a treat every month or so.
Did I find the perfect doughnut? No, but it comes pretty darn close.