If you are in Hong Kong and there’s only room left for just one more dish, you would definitely have to spend your remaining dollars and calories on Hong Kong’s most famous local street snack – Egg Waffles.
Egg waffles are also known as ‘Gai Daan Jai or Gai Daan Tsui’ in Cantonese, which literally means little eggs when translated. The snack is actually made up of numerous egg-shape waffle pieces that are conjoined together to form a honeycomb structure.
Gai Daan Jai is an extremely popular street snack amongst the locals and they can be found on almost every street and corner in Hong Kong. You certainly cannot leave Hong Kong without trying it!
Made with a simple recipe of typical baking essentials (baking powder, eggs, flour and sugar), it seems almost effortless to replicate these Hong Kong waffles – but the cooking process is actually far, far from easy.
Specific measurements for these snacks vary across each vendor, which explains the diverse taste and texture you will come across when sampling numerous egg waffles. Skillful techniques of handling the waffle mould are essential in guaranteeing successful preparation, and these skills can only be acquired overtime from experience.
Gai Daan Jai can be easily fragmented, where you can pluck out the eggettes piece by piece for bite-size consumption. While the waffle looks unintimidating and feels light, you will be surprised by how easily it fills you up with its high carbohydrate content.
The egg waffle is crispy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside and it is interesting to note that the they are actually hollow! Charcoal flames were used to cook the waffles in the past but present day hawkers have resorted to electric stovetops for safety concerns and cost-effectiveness.
Hong Kong style Egg waffles are available in many flavours – plain (original), chocolate, strawberry etc. But the original flavour remains the most popular option. Gai Daan Jai was first created in the 1950s as a way to get rid of unwanted cracked eggs but soon became a favourite street food amongst the locals.
In fact, Hong Kong egg waffles has withstood the test of time; the classic treat remains completely unfazed in the face of challenging competition from food fads and increasing surge of celebrity restaurants opening.
It is truly heart-warming to see how much local Hong Kongers love their favourite childhood street snack.