- Lee’s Doughnuts was started by a self-proclaimed “hippie dippy” couple, and their same recipe has been used since 1979.
- Their signature doughnut is the Honey Dip, which locals and tourists alike love for its melt-in-your-mouth quality.
- Only locals knows that you have to arrive right at 10:30am to get the doughnuts right out of the fryer. We’ll learn about the history of the shop and see how doughnuts are made the old-fashioned way.
Herrine Ro: What’s better than a fresh, hot doughnut? Absolutely nothing, that’s what. That’s why, on my trip to Vancouver, I had to stop in the city’s most legendary doughnut shop. I get the doughnut, like, fresh out of the fryer.
Carol Kaesbauer: Just, doughnuts just make everybody happy.
Customer: It’s really good.
Carol: So, our 40th year of operations. It was started by Mr. and Mrs. Lee. We’ve been in, one of the three or four original vendors left in the Granville Island Public Market and just been sticking to the same thing that we always did was homemade, handmade, you know, doughnuts from scratch and just keeping it fresh and original recipe from 40 years ago. It’s just your good old-fashioned doughnuts.
Herrine: The doughnuts are even a favourite for local celebrities, like Seth Rogen. They keep a box reserved for him every day. He’s known to pop in unannounced. Maybe even with a friend. [whispering] That friend is David Chang. I’ve never had doughnut holes fresh out of the fryer and glazed. Cheers. Alvin
Herrine: Oh, man.
Customer: The doughnuts speak for themselves, but we just appreciate the community behind the market and the community behind this business here. It’s a family-run business. And then the honey-dip doughnut speaks for itself. So amazing, the doughnut just melts in your mouth.
Herrine: Head baker Alvin George has worked at Lee’s for over 35 years, and he was even childhood friends with manager Carol.
Alvin: I used to eat, like, four doughnuts a day.
Herrine: [laughing] And then you kinda had to tone it down. Yeah, I feel like if I were working here, half of these would be gone by now. The famous honey-dip doughnuts are fried fresh, and Alvin quality-tests them daily. I wanted to see if I had what it takes, but I learned it’s best to leave doughnut-making to the professionals. Oh, it doesn’t get any better than that. I feel so fortunate right now to try this doughnut, like, so fresh, it’s… it’s, like, steaming still. It’s so fluffy, do you see those air pockets? Like, I feel like I’m just biting into air. OK, I need to stop, ’cause I know that I’m gonna probably have to eat a few more. Then it was time for the big mama doughnut. She’s fried, she’s glazed, and she’s filled with jelly, much like me after this shoot. It is so crunchy! I know Seth Rogen likes his doughnuts filled with this jelly, but has he ever tried this behemoth of a thing? Because I think this will be his next favourite. Best doughnuts in Canada.
Carol: I’ve had kids come in here from when they were really little, and now they’re parents themselves, and they bring their kids in, and it’s really neat to see. You know, we get all ages in here enjoying the doughnuts.
Herrine: Don’t look at me. I know I said I was gonna stop. Don’t look at me.
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