Traditional egg waffles, also known as eggettes or gai dan zai (雞蛋仔) are a sweet, crispy-on-the-outside and gooey-on-the-inside treat that’s one of the most popular snacks in Hong Kong. Their origins are unknown, but this street food became popular in the 1950s and has captured the hearts of the young and old alike ever since. The treat has now evolved along with the times at the hands of creative restaurateurs, taking it to the next level in deliciousness: here’s your guide to the best of the traditional and the new.
The perfect batter for the original flavour has a delicate balance of eggs, flour, sugar and evaporated milk. It should be just sweet enough. Traditionally, eggettes are made with a special waffle iron that’s heated over charcoal. Most now use the more efficient and safe electric iron, but one of the few places that still uses the old method is in the fishing village of Tai O on Lantau Island. You will find the super cool Mr. Lei in his sunglasses on the main street in Tai O carefully handcrafting the perfect eggette. Because of the charcoal, the eggettes have a characteristic smoky taste in addition to its aromatic custard taste.
Mr. Lei working his magic. Photo: Laurel Chor
Where you can find this: G/F, 59 Kat Hing Street, Tai O (Google Maps). They are open in the afternoons, but since this is a one-man operation, it’s possible he won’t be open on the day you go!
Can’t make it out to Tai O? Head over to Lee Keung Kee North Point Egg Waffles to get your fix. Although these aren’t made over charcoal, it’s one of the best originals you can find. The original store is on 492 King’s Road in North Point (Google Maps), but they have many other stores now including Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tseung Kwan O, and Mong Kok.
Venturing beyond the original flavour
In addition to the original flavour, Hong Kong joints now serve a wide variety of other tasty ones, such as chocolate, chocolate chip, taro, green tea and red bean, cheese, peanut butter and condensed milk, hazelnut chocolate, black sesame, and mango just to name a few.
The irresistible chocolate chip eggettes from Mammy Pancake
Black sesame eggettes
Green tea and red bean eggettes
Where you can find these: McQ, Shop 6, Keybond Commercial Building, 38 Ferry Street, Jordan (Google Maps)
Now this is when things really start getting interesting. In addition to eating the eggettes on their own, they can be combined with other foods to make a truly unique experience for your taste buds. The “Night Wolf” for instance is described as “Italian low-fat soft gelato twisted with 66 percent dark chocolate served with buttery crumbles, caramelised banana ice cream, passion fruit panna cotta, brownie and chocolate chips eggettes and crunchy flakes”.
Night Wolf. Photo: Annette Chan
Where you can find this: Oddies, 45 Gough Street, Sheung Wan (Google Maps)
If you really want to confuse your taste buds, try one of the savory treats from Eat With Me. This relatively new shop is taking eggettes to a whole new level. Their “Piggy” creation is a pork chop with a sunny-side-up egg, grilled onions, and lettuce sandwiched in between savoury eggettes!
If this brunch-style eggette doesn’t cut it for you, you can try the waffles with curry and garlic too!
Where you can find this: Eat With Me, Shop 8, G/F, Block 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, No. 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok (Google Maps)
A version of this story was previously published on Sam The Local’s blog.
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