Kripsy Kreme Doughnuts, the 76 year old yeast-raised doughnut legacy, has finally opened in Singapore at Tangs Orchard. This is a long wait, considering Singapore wants to be 1st in everything, and there are Krispy Kreme outlets in almost all our neighbouring countries.
The marketing cards were played right, and the queues were not unexpected. Lots of news covering the guy who won a year supply of Krispy Kreme. I hope he shares the donuts, because 624 Krispy Kreme could be 124,800kcal (200 calories for 1 original glazed) or a possible 16.2 kg weight gain.
As with all things with hype, there are lovers and there are haters. (Read: Dear Singapore, Why Are We Queuing For Donuts, Fried Chicken & BBQ Buns?)
To get the record straight, I like Krispy Kreme – falling in love with it I took my first bite at Sydney years ago. The softness and fluffiness is quite irreplaceable by other donuts (or cronuts). I had Krispy Kremes in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Turkey, Malaysia, Korea and London.
Crazy as it sounds, I got the media invite and free boxes, but I chose to go down to queue instead. Because I wanted to know how it feels to queue for one.
The Original Glazed ($2.90 for one, $23.40) remains the favourite of many. Assorted flavours are available ($2.95 each, $26.50), which includes Chocolate Iced Glazed, Almond All Over, Cookie Crunch, Chocolate Iced Custard Filled, Red Velvet, Chocolate Dream Cake and Cinnamon Apple Filled.
For the best taste, eat it hot and fresh, like almost immediately when you get it on your hands. Somehow, the original glazed’s dough is not as pillow soft when I tried it back home. I remembered the texture felt way better. (Some people’s secret is to microwave for 8 seconds.)
The common complaint is that the donuts are way too sweet. I have to agree with that, and couldn’t get past the sweetness of half the donut. Is it psychological? It does not taste as sweet as I had it overseas. (Scientist did reveal that food is generally sweeter when consumed warm.)
Another factor that consumers are not too happy about is its price tag of $2.60, considerably more expensive than Malaysia’s RM2.90 ($1.14), Thailand’s 27 Baht ($1.10), Japan’s 160 Yen ($2.00) and even UK’s 1.20 pounds ($2.40). I can understand it due to the franchisee fees and Singapore’s high retail rental and labour cost.
The queue was not an entirely pleasant affair, partly due to the underground works at Orchard which affected most of the tunnels which would have led to Tang’s basement. People were confused between the Normal and Express queues. The Express queue would allow you to pick up boxes of original or assorted without choosing, but there were no clear directions given by some staff.
The consolation. People in line had one free original glazed which is a nice gesture, and some of the service staff still remained friendly and chirpy (except for some standing around who were really black-faced.)
It took me about 20 minutes to get my donuts even though I was about 15th in the queue. The person queuing in front of me bought half a dozen boxes – for aunties, neighbours and friends “just in case”, while the person behind confessed he joined the line because he is “typical Singaporean”.
How long would this “typical Singapore” mentality last?
Unlike Tokyo’s flagship branch which had a 2-storey store with lots of comfortable seating area, the tight space and a couple of seats at this 1st branch meant the ‘café aspect’ is lost – I can’t really sit down to enjoy my donut with a chiller.
Donuts are not every day food, rather diabetic-inducing sweet, and something I would never feed children. Though an occasional indulgence does make you happy.
The challenge for Singapore’s franchisee is really what comes next, bearing in mind Hong Kong’s Krispy Kreme closed down in two years, and Krispy Kreme Australia went into voluntary administration with half of its underperforming stores shutting down for good.
They all had that initial hype.
Krispy Kreme Singapore
Basement 1, Tangs Orchard, 310 Orchard Road, Singapore 238864
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm Daily