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News / Life / Clark County Life

Short and Sweet: Vancouver boba spot’s new mochi doughnuts a hit

Doughnuts are only available Saturday and Sunday at the downtown Vancouver eatery

By Rachel Pinsky, Columbian freelance food writer
Published: April 26, 2024, 6:08am
6 Photos
A selection of Pon de Ring mochi doughnuts from Short and Sweet. (M.
A selection of Pon de Ring mochi doughnuts from Short and Sweet. (M. Reid) Photo Gallery

In the early 2000s, Mister Doughnut employee Masaaki Nakamura created a garland of fried dough rounds for the Japanese chain in response to a customer survey that requested a doughnut with the chewy texture of rice mochi. Inspired by Brazilian bread pão de queijo, small ball-shaped bread that’s chewy on the inside with a crisp exterior, Nakamura created his iconic Pon de Ring mochi doughnut. Bright photos of these colorful rings fill social media and sell in shops throughout the world. They recently arrived in downtown Vancouver at boba and banh mi spot Short and Sweet (1101 Main St.)

Owners Sonny and Linda Mouy always intended to serve Pon de Ring doughnuts at their adorable, Instagram-friendly business but realized their dream of offering these coveted treats took some work.

Mochi doughnuts are a combination of a traditional chewy Japanese rice cake called mochi and the classic fried doughnut. Linda Mouy fell in love with this fused sweet in Hawaii. When Dochi, the Florida-based Pon de Ring purveyor, opened an outpost in Seattle, the couple packed up their infant daughter and made the journey. They wanted to sample these popular ringed fried dough balls covered with glazes and toppings that combine Asian ingredients like ube and pandan with sweets from the United States like s’mores and Fruity Pebbles.

Dochi was the Mouys’ inspiration for doughnuts at their shop, but Sonny Mouy got recipes and instruction from their friend Gianni Singharaj of Tochi PDX in Portland. It took some time for the Mouys to save money for the expensive equipment necessary to extrude and fry the doughnuts. Business for banh mi and boba hasn’t been steady. They also had to get a variety of permits to use the new equipment.

Their hand-cranked machine makes a dozen doughnuts at a time. When the mochi doughnut menu launched April 6, the Mouys began making the doughnuts at 1:30 a.m. to form and fry 67 dozen. They added glazes and toppings as customers ordered them. When the shop opened at 11 a.m., a line had formed around the building and down the street.

“We knew we were going to sell out,” said Sonny Mouy, “but we didn’t think we’d sell out by 1 p.m.”

That Sunday, they arrived at their business again in the early hours of the day. This time, they glazed and topped the doughnuts before customers arrived to help keep the line moving. They’re pleased by the popularity of their doughnuts and working to add employees and equipment to be able to serve mochi doughnuts beyond just weekends starting in May.

For now, mochi doughnuts are available on Saturday and Sunday only. Matcha Oreo, sea salt lemon zest, strawberry shortcake, Hello Panda milk chocolate, dino (ube glaze with Fruity Pebbles) and elephant ear (cinnamon brown sugar) were the six flavors they offered for the first weekend. The shop limits customers to a dozen each. Prices are one doughnut for $3.75, three for $11 and six for $21. The doughnuts aren’t gluten-free. They’re made with rice flour, but there’s some wheat flour mixed in to keep them light and airy after frying.

Despite the difficulty of bringing their dream to life, the Mouys are happy to share their favorite treat with their Vancouver customers.

“We didn’t have a lot of funds jumping into this, but we want to encourage other people to start small businesses,” Sonny Mouy said.

Short and Sweet

Where: 1101 Main St., Vancouver

When: Mochi doughnuts served on Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 a.m. until they are sold out.

Information: www.shortandsweet360.com; 360-931-3759

Columbian freelance food writer