A Macao and Hong Kong favorite for years, egg waffles are made from eggy leavened dough that is prepared using two semi-rounded plates. While the waffles can be eaten without any accompaniments, they can also be served alongside fruits and flavors including coconut , chocolate and strawberry. Also known as “gai daan jai” in Cantonese, waffles go by a number of names such as the bubble waffle, eggette , puffle and egg puff. In New York, an egg waffle is known as the Hong Kong cake.
The residents of Hong Kong cherish egg waffles to a point of nicknaming them as “street snacks”. In fact, waffles were classified as Hong Kong’s most loved street snack in a poll that involved that involved 100 other snacks. The love for egg waffles started in the mid-50s when they first hit the streets. Back in the day, they were heated using coal fire and were sold in Hong Kong’s street kiosks.
The source of egg waffles can be traced to Hong Kong. The local name “gai daan jai” means “little chicken eggs”. It is said that the waffles first came into being after the World War II. This was after eggs became scarce and the residents invented an egg shaped mold to replace the eggless dough.
Another story says that hawkers selling wares on the streets would buy damaged eggs and prepare the waffles. Whichever the case, it is quite accurate to imply that the gai daan tsai was made, in the same way, as the checkered European press. In other words, the maker’s Hong Kong egg waffles borrowed a leaf from their European counterparts. So similar are the two waffles that they are sold beside each other in most stalls.
Preparation of egg waffles involves use of sweet, eggy dough. A hot grill is used to cook the dough. Once the waffles are molded, they are set in a special frying pan that has small spherical round cells. The grill is then placed on hot coals. An electric heater can also be used to heat the grill.
After setting the griddle on fire, the dough is dispensed over the special frying pan and heated. During the cooking process, small oval shaped egg waffles are formed. To enhance the flavor chocolate and ginger are added to the dough.
The waffles can also be prepared using quick breads , fermented and yeast -raised dough.
Types of Egg Waffles
The Hong Kong waffles might be one of the most popular egg waffles, but there are other types including:
• The American Waffle – These are leavened with yeast. They can be sweet or savory and can be served with fresh toppings, chicken, gravy or smoked salmon.
• The Belgian Waffle – The Brussels waffle is rectangular in shape and is much bigger than the American waffle. This waffle is dressed up using whipped cream, nuts and bananas.
• The Liege Waffle – This waffle is arguably the “original waffle” as it was first made close to 600 years ago. Invented in Liege, a city in Eastern Belgium, it is served with a sweet topping and eaten using knife and fork.
Egg waffles can be eaten at any time of the day, but there might be a variation in time depending on the culture.