I confess that I am not much of a waffle girl. Waffles seem a little too fussy for the morning; I prefer straightforward pancakes that require no more gadgetry than my trusty skillet. But I may have been swayed over to the waffle side by this new pan, which bakes up a crisp, honeycomb waffle quite unlike traditional American waffles. Whether you call them egg waffles, eggettes, egg puffs, or gai daan jai (literally, "little chicken eggs") these waffles are one of the most iconic and beloved Hong Kong street snacks. And thanks to Nordic Ware we can all make them at home. Here's how it went for me.
These waffles are sold throughout Malaysia and Hong Kong, and my own friends from Malaysia say that these are their favorite street treat when they go home. They are often sold rolled into a cone and filled with fruit. You could even use them to hold ice cream! They're cooked by street vendors in heavy cast iron pans, and they are made from a sweet, eggy batter.
The waffle pan that Williams-Sonoma and Nordic Ware sent me had the right shape and look, but it's made from cast aluminum with a nonstick finish. It came with a box of waffle mix, and I decided to use that for my first endeavors.
I tried the pan out twice, and both times it worked fairly flawlessly. Here are my thoughts on the pan, and on the mix.
The Egg Waffle Pan
• It is easy to use. Just heat both sides on separate burners, then pour in a little batter and clap them shut. Five minutes and one turn later, and you have a fairly perfect egg waffle.
• The one challenge comes with moderating the heat. I struggled with keeping the waffles from getting too burnt. This isn't a huge deal, but it does take some trial and error.
• The waffle always released easily and smoothly, and it always looked just how it should. I was dubious about how this would work, but it worked just as advertised.
Conclusion: This thing is seriously fun. I don't really need one more pan in my cupboard, but I've already decided to think of more ways to use this one. It only takes about 5 minutes to cook a waffle, and the pan works beautifully. I want to try more recipes — Belgian waffles, and yeasted waffles, for sure. Reviews of the pan at Williams-Sonoma say that they have successfully cooked other sorts of waffles in it.
The Egg Waffle Mix
• The mix, according to reviews at Williams-Sonoma, is not so authentic. It's too sweet, they say. I did find it a little too sweet. But it had a light, pleasantly eggy taste, and a quite strong fragrance of nutmeg.
Conclusion: The mix was helpful at first, since it took some guesswork out of learning to use the pan, but from now on I'll try the recipe that comes with the pan and dial down the sweetness. I also want to try other sorts of waffles and pancakes in the pan.
Well, How Did They Taste?
How did they taste? Well, the waffle has such an interesting texture. It is made of these eggy bubbles, nearly hollow inside, but soft, and joined by a lacy, crispy honeycomb structure. Eating one of these waffles is terribly addictive. They shatter into pieces after they've cooled (they're very soft at first, but then quickly harden into a crisp structure with the soft bubbles in between). It's so fun to break off pieces and eat them one by one, or dip them into powdered sugar or marmalade. The crispy bits shatter, and the soft bubbles melt on your tongue.
• Find it: Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan, $49.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Have you ever eaten a Hong Kong egg waffle?
More on Waffles:
• From Wafers to Cones: A Short History of the Waffle
• Difference Between a Waffle Iron and Waffle Maker?
• The Best Waffle You'll Ever Eat: Gaufres de Liege
Thank you to Marisa of Food in Jars for the absolutely delicious Meyer Lemon Marmalade seen with the waffle! Yum yum.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Faith Durand)