Donuts, or more formally known as doughnuts, look different around the world. From jelly-filled to glazed, fried to baked, filled vs. stuffed, it's almost more of a challenge to pin down what a donut is rather than what it isn't. Food is entirely subjective to the country and culture that adopts it and just like many other popular dishes, donuts are one food that has been transformed into something unique by each country that has taken them in as their own.
While it would be easy enough to make a trip around the world via donuts alone, there are far too many - so here are the most popular types by country, including one that eats more of the sweet treats than any other in the world.
As it turns out, the country that enjoys the most donuts per capita is Canada. The country that most people probably thought would earn this title is the U.S. considering the rise of Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme, but nope - it's actually their neighbors to the north.
There, the most popular donut choice by far is known as a BeaveTail and it's pretty obvious as to why this fried dough was given its name. With the shape of an actual beaver tail, these are often filled with any number of things from sweet to savory but, in this case, it's the savory fillings we're here for.
Germany: Berliner Pfannkuchen
Often referred to as just 'Berliners,' these donuts from Germany are quite the sweet little treat. Although, in full disclosure, since fillings can vary in color and type, it wouldn't be all that unusual to be tricked into eating a Berliner that has been filled with mustard instead of fruit, according to Matador Network.
Other than that, these jelly donuts are perfectly sweet! Regular fillings (when jokes aren't being played on people) range from chocolate to any kind of fruit and even cream.
Many people know of the zeppole thanks to the carnivals and fairs are which they're served. In the U.S., these little balls of fried dough are usually topped with powdered sugar and served hot out of the fryer.
In Italy, however, they differ just a bit with many recipes calling for fillings as opposed to just powdered sugar topping. Fillings can range from sweet ricotta to savory fillings like anchovies but hey, to each their own.
The an-doughnut is singlehandedly responsible for nearly putting Japan at number two in the running for the most donuts consumed by any one country. These donuts are truly unique and don't resemble any others on the list but that doesn't mean they're not as much of a donut as any others.
Similar to the filling that one would find in a mochi, the filling that one will find in an an-doughnut is also red bean paste. It might be an acquired taste for some but it's quite delicious and very unique to Japan, especially in Tokyo.
Rather than being made with wheat, these donuts are made with a unique blend of sweet potato and fried squash which gives them a texture that's altogether different from other fried doughs. The flavor of these donuts, though, is quite divine thanks to the sweet syrup that's poured over them after they've been fried.
Often eaten as a street food treat or an after-dinner dessert, picarones are a must-try for anyone visiting Peru.
For those who are fans of that delicious crunch that you get from traditional glazed donuts, then imagine balushahi exuding the same thing but on a grander scale. These donuts are deep-fried in ghee or clarified butter which gives them a decadence that's far more indulgent than a typical glazed donut.
When they're done frying, they're immediately dipped in sugar syrup that's been heated to just the right temperature. As they cool, the syrup forms somewhat of a sweet crust around the outside of the donut, giving it that classic texture with all of the flavors you know and love about a glazed donut. Occasionally, the donuts are topped with chopped pistachios and slivered almonds for even more crunch and a salty bite.
The Netherlands: Oliebollen
In the Netherlands, Oliebollen can be translated as 'oil bulbs' which, although they do resemble that in appearance, does not accurately describe how delicious these fried donuts really are. Oliebollen are most commonly found during the winter months in the Netherlands in accordance with the holiday season.
These Dutch donuts are fried before being topped with powdered sugar and although they're simple, they are mighty in flavor. But it's perhaps the simplicity and comforting nature of the donuts that make them such a beloved specialty in the Netherlands, as they're traditional during New Year's Eve and most homes will make them in celebration of the new year.