These might even be the best donuts I’ve ever had. A well-kept secret of the island, Zaomi Fresh Donut is a small roadside shop in a humble part of town. Far from tourist hubs like the Oriental Village or Cenang beach, Zaomi is a locals-only joint. Although very popular with Langkawians, the guaranteed crowd gathering around the shop remains manageable and prices are super cheap.
Zaomi Fresh Donut is located in the northern part of the island, on the roundabout with the fancy decorations in the middle of it. It is on the corner of the Jalan Ayer Hangat prong. There is a tight space in front of and next to the small shop to park your car if you’re driving there. Rest assured, you’ll be competing for parking space with locals hungry for donuts.
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Weekends: 12pm – 6:30pm
Friday: 9am – 5pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Unfortunately, Zaomi Fresh Donut is only open when most tourists are busy sightseeing or enjoying the beach. It’s strange (for a westerner, at least) that a donut shop opens so late in the day, so these will be more of an afternoon snack.
Goods For Sale & Prices
The donuts are undeniably fresh. You will be able to watch them get deep-fried right there from the side of the road. The price on the sign is for plain sugared donuts (70 sen each). There is also a multi-deal of 3 for RM2. If there are any cooling on the rack, you could probably also get your donut unsugared if you like. Many locals buy huge amounts of donuts… we saw one guy buy three dozen of them in one go. Don’t have your heart set on buying that one especially delicious-looking donut in the tray, because the person ahead of you will likely take it and five more. With so much turnover, there’s a good chance you’ll get a piping hot donut fresh from the fryer.
If you’re lucky, next to these will be Zaomi’s frosted donuts (RM2 each) under a plastic cover. There were nine colourful varieties on this day, but stocks of these special donuts are extremely limited. These pictures were taken only a half-hour after they opened (at 12:30 pm) and already you can see that the chocolate flavours are half gone, a couple of which we bought up ourselves. I would wager that the best flavours sell out within the hour. Once these special donuts are gone, I’m not sure that Zaomi restocks them. We came again on another day at around 4 pm, and there were absolutely zero frosted donuts to be had, only plain sugar. You’ve got to get here early for a chance to snag these special donuts.
If you love fried dough but don’t have much of a sweet tooth, there’s the Burger Malaysia (70 sen). This is the same deep-fried dough but stuffed with sambal and anchovies. Think of it as a savoury donut. We saw locals buying quite of few of these, so they are probably just as tasty as the donuts.
The rest of the display table will be piled with an assortment of colourful prepackaged kuih. Most of it will be unrecognizable to a westerner, and the salesgirl is much too busy to answer every single one of your “what’s this?” questions, so you can either be adventurous or stick to donuts. The selection of nibbles is slightly different every day, but we saw takeaway laksas, nasi lemaks, sago pudding, curry puffs, and sushi rolls in addition to all the kuih.
The green donut was likely a green tea matcha donut. It tasted generically sweet, and if there was any tea flavour, it was very subtle. The brown donut had a more overt coffee flavour in the frosting. The edible stuffed into the centre was a white chocolate covered almond.
The chocolate donut was my least favourite. The cereal flakes that were on top were stale. I would not get this again. The pink donut looks like I stole it right out of a Simpsons episode. It had a bit of bubblegum flavour in its frosting.
All of the donuts we got from Zaomi Fresh Donuts were like eating a delightful, fluffy cumulus cloud. On another day, we got the sugared donuts and they were so warm that they were steaming up the bag they were packed in. These are the softest rings of heaven that I have ever tasted. Handling them had to be done with a more delicate hand than usual. There was no dry crust on the exterior like with some other commercial donuts, but Zaomi’s donuts weren’t dripping with oil either. My teeth just sank through the pillowy dough that was puffy and chewy, not cake-like.
Despite the heat, the frosting didn’t completely melt off in the time it took to bring them back to our resort. The frosting is runnier than chain donuts, and it will get all over your fingers and face. I don’t think these donuts would be as good if you tried to put them in the fridge or ration them over several days. Zaomi Fresh Donuts are best eaten as soon as you get them or at the latest before you go to bed that day. We regularly saved a couple of donuts as a post-dinner dessert and their freshness held up well.
If you’re staying in Tanjung Rhu, you’ve got to try this place. Even if you’re not, I’m not going to roll my eyes at you for driving halfway across the island to taste these. These donuts are addictive. Once you’ve come here the first time, you’ll keep trying to convince yourself on later days that making a donut run in the middle of the day isn’t crazy. It seems ridiculous to schedule your whole vacation day around getting donuts, but that is absolutely what we did on several occasions during our holiday. Zaomi Fresh Donut is simply too good.