A Taste of New Bedford, Completely by Accident
Spoiler alert: I never tried Ma's Donuts. I missed the opportunity and it is a regret I will carry with me for the rest of my life. However, I heard that this new donut shop in New Bedford was like Ma's reincarnated, so my coworker Tim and I took a little field trip to USA Homemade Donuts today so we could see for ourselves. It's easy to find, at 75 Hathaway Road, right in front of Wonder Bowl.
While I cannot tell you with 100 percent certainty that these were exactly like Ma's, I can tell you that these donuts were 100 percent delicious. Yes, donuts, as in plural. Mind your business.
Honestly, you have to try the honey-dipped because it's a classic. The sugar-raised was almost like a malassada. You cannot go wrong.
We were wondering if the similarity was done on purpose. Did they know the owners of Ma's? Maybe they used to work there? Perhaps they bought the recipe? But we were shocked to find out that neither owner Henry Tang or his mother and co-worker Solynna Taing had ever tasted a donut from Ma's either!
The mother and son are from Worcester and knew nothing of the beloved donut shop that once reigned in New Bedford before they opened USA Homemade Donuts. Henry was just looking to start a business the family could work at together; Solynna's twin sister owns a donut shop in Orlando, and Henry flew down to get trained in the magic of making donuts.
The original plan was to open their new shop in their hometown, but Solynna said the rents were too high in Worcester and so they set up shop in New Bedford instead, bringing their donuts to the SouthCoast.
Let me tell you, these donuts were beyond fresh. An employee said that you could leave one on the counter for three days and it would still taste freshly-baked. I doubt a donut would last that long in my house, but it's worth the experiment.
Oh, they didn't even know what a malassada was until their employee told them about the Portuguese doughy delight.
The Taing family (Solynna explained Henry's last name was incorrectly spelled "Tang" on his birth certificate, making that his legal name) are from Cambodia and South Vietnam. Solynna said she and her husband each moved here to escape Communist rule, her in 1980 and him in 1987, and they later met in New York City.
So when it came time to put together the menu, they wanted to bring a bit of their own culture to their products. Tim ordered a green tea smoothie with lychee jelly. The car ride back to the office was very quiet because Tim could not stop sipping his iced green treat.
We left just before 1:30 p.m. and the place was busier than I expected it to be. One woman said it was the fourth time she's visited since they opened back on Thursday, August 29.
"My favorite is the lemon-filled, but my grandson likes the chocolate-frosted. I'll have to try the buttercream next," she said.
Do what we did and cut them in halves for everyone to try a little bit of everything. Or just eat the whole dozen by yourself. We won't judge.