On July 28, Tom San and Kim Taing San opened “Blanco Donuts” across the street from the Bowling Club Café on Fourth Street. Besides serving up a delicious array of glazed, cake and cream-filled donuts, they also provide twists, cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, bear claws, and donut holes. You can add to that great-tasting sausage, bacon and egg biscuits, along with a variety of kolacheQs featuring cheese, sausage and even jalapenos.
“You’re probably wondering,” said Tom, “How can Asian people do donuts?”
In 1863, Cambodian King Norodom signed an agreement with the French to establish a protectorate over his kingdom. The state gradually came under French colonial domination and was ruled by a series of “Resident-Generals” who held considerable power. In 1897, they even assumed the power of the king.
“The original French Resident-General,” said Tom, “brought donuts to Cambodia, along with a top chef to prepare them. Those recipes were passed down to my grandmother. When she passed away, they were passed down to me. I have brought them back to life.”
“People are so happy that there is a donut shop in Blanco,” grinned Tom. “We sold out the first day we were open. Last Sunday we ran out of donuts before closing time. I have had twelve years’ experience to help me determine what and how many of each thing to make,” he said. “I’m sure we’ve made over six million and counting,” he chuckled.
Tom legally immigrated to this country at age seventeen. He found work in Austin as a mechanic and salesman at a used car dealership. “There were too many headaches selling used cars and I decided I needed to do something else.” He opened up a donut shop in Kyle and signed an agreement with a mini-market chain to spread donuts throughout the Austin area. “I had to invest way too much for the return I was getting, so I moved my business to Wimberley. When people from Blanco tasted our donuts, they begged me to open a shop here. So, here we are.”
Tom was introduced to his wife, Kim, by an uncle in Cambodia and they nourished a relationship via telephone. They are now co-owners of the business. Her bright smile and friendly manner enchant customers at the counter, while he spends most of his time in the back room cranking out the habit-forming confections.
One customer with two little ones in tow said emphatically, “I thought all donuts tasted the same but after eating these, I don’t want any others! They are really, really good!”
Another customer said, “I work at Uptown Blanco and we buy lots of donuts. They’re better than those made by the well-known national brand.” When asked about their most popular products, Tom replied that he was surprised by the way Blanco residents go for the crème-filled donuts. “That surprised me,” said Tom. “We sell lots of vanilla, lemon, strawberry and raspberry-filled chocolate and maple-covered donuts. They’re going like crazy!”
“With a day’s notice we can fill special orders and we will also consider helping out community groups that might want to have fund-raisers,” said Tom.
Tom and Kim have moved their residence to Blanco. Getting to the store by 3:30 a.m. has become routine for the couple. They open the doors for business at 5:00 a.m. and often stay past closing time at 12:00 noon.
“I like living here better than in the big city,” said Kim. “We are very happy to be here and hope to become an important part of the community.”