If you made it a hobby to look at food photographs on the internet, chances are you’ve probably seen pictures of unusual pancakes and bubble waffles served in a cardboard tube and sometimes loaded with ice cream, but these egg waffles aren’t a new invention. They’re actually gai daan jai, a traditional Hong Kong street snack. It’s one of Hong Kong’s most popular street foods. It’s most likely ranked first.
Nobody knows the exact origins of these Hong Kong egg waffles, other than that they appeared somewhere in the 1950s, but they indeed spread like wildfire. These egg waffles may be found throughout the city, either cooked on an electric waffle iron or traditionally over a charcoal stove.
The most noticeable distinction between a Western-style waffle and a Hong Kong waffle is the bubble wrap-like pattern. That’s all thanks to the machine, molded with approximately twenty circular divots to form the semi-spherical bubble shape. You can buy an egg waffle maker online, and you’ll need one if you want to make these at home.
The batter fried in the deeper, spherical indentations generates those puffed waffle balls, but the batter cooked on the machine’s flat surface is thin and crispy. It has a unique form, and the texture is soft and sweet on the inside and considerably crisp on the exterior. The main difference between this and a Belgian waffle is the texture.
Making the appropriate batter also contributes to this texture, although there’s considerable disagreement regarding the recipe for bubble waffles. There usually are eggs, milk, flour, and a leavener such as baking powder. Vanilla extract is also used in many recipes.
Some recipes call for custard powder to make the waffles taste egg-y, while others call for condensed milk to thicken the batter. These sweet waffles don’t require maple syrup, either, making them far more palatable as a street meal that you could have on the fly.
How to Make Bubble Waffles
- egg waffle mold
- wooden stirrer
- baking brush
- one large measuring cup
- a few large bowls (or mixing bowls)
- electric kitchen scale
- cake cooling rack
- flour sieve
140 gm plain flour
- 7½ gm baking powder
- 1 tablespoon custard powder
- 28 gm tapioca starch
- 2 eggs
- 140 gm white sugar
- 28 gm evaporated milk
- 140 ml still water
- 28 gm vegetable oil for making the egg batter
- a small quantity of vegetable oil for greasing the mold
- 2 drops of vanilla essence
- First, combine and sieve the plain flour, baking powder, custard powder, and tapioca starch, then set aside.
- Using a wooden stirrer, combine the eggs and white sugar. Gradually add in the evaporated milk and still water. Thoroughly combine.
- Stir the sieved wheat mixture into the egg mixture. Mix everything together until you produce a smooth batter. It’s essential that no lumps must form.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and combine thoroughly.
- Finally, incorporate the vegetable oil.
- Refrigerate the batter for at least one hour, covered with cling film.
- Remove the egg batter from the refrigerator half an hour before using it to allow it to recover to room temperature.
- Warm-up each side of the mold and brush each side with a thin layer of oil.
- Put the egg batter into a big measuring cup to make it easier to pour into the mold.
- Fill the waffle mold to the brim with the egg batter, about 80 percent full. Close the mold and firmly grip the handle to keep the two sides tightly closed. Then, flip and turn the closed mold to ensure that the egg batter is equally distributed inside the mold. Place the waffle mold on top of the stove, facing the other way. Cook each side for one to two minutes over medium heat until the bubble waffle is done and can be easily withdrawn from the mold.
- Remove the egg waffle from the mold with a fork and lay it on a cooling rack to cool.
- Steps 8–11 must be repeated until all of the egg waffles are ready.
Where Were Bubble Waffles Invented?
Shopkeepers in Hong Kong invented these sweets in the 1950s. The retailers didn’t want unsold or broken eggs to be thrown away. So they combined the eggs with a bit of flour and milk before baking the batter in molds. One bubble at a time, they sold the snack.
Later, small food carts began to appear on Hong Kong’s sidewalks. While people waited, the cooks prepared bubble waffles over charcoal fires.
In Cantonese, bubble waffles are known as gai daan jai (pronounced “guy-dan-jigh”), which translates to “small chicken eggs.” They not only resemble small chicken eggs but they are also made of eggs!
What Do Bubble Waffles Taste Like?
The best bubble waffles have a bit of sweetness to them. They’re soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and have an air pocket in the center.
There are now numerous ways and flavors to enjoy your bubble waffle! Strawberries, green tea (matcha), chocolate, and even cookies and cream are all options. Sweet bubble waffles wrapped around ice cream scoops, resembling a waffle cone, are also available.
Chinese BBQ pork, cheese, and even seaweed flavors are available for individuals who enjoy salty snacks.