The origins of the eggette or gai daan jai (which literally translates to little chicken eggs) are unknown, despite being ingrained in the memories of Hong Kong people. According to the Kowloon City vendor, Mr. Lee: “Enterprising post-war generation created the egg-shaped mold to make up for an eggless batter, as eggs used to be a luxury.” but Mr. Choo, owner of the most famous Gai daan jai stall in town, just off Jordan underground station (exit D1) says that: “the name takes from street hawkers who buy damaged eggs to work them into a batter, they had the same colour of the cake. Tough the special skillet used to mold the gai daan tsai comes from traditional checkered European waffle press, so i don’t know where they actually come from”
Supposedly is not as old as its supposed to be but for sure is a masterpiece throughout HK street food. Its handy because you can eat it on the go which makes it the best snack for the city who never sleeps. You can make your own by following the recipe below !
Hong Kong-Style Egglet Waffles Recipe
140 g. (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
7.5 g (1 1/2 tsp.) baking powder
1 T. custard powder (instant vanilla pudding will work here, and is MUCH easier to find.)
28 g. (2 Tbsp.) tapioca starch (available at any Asian market for approximately $1 for a small bag)
2 eggs, beaten
140 g (heaping 1/2 cup) white sugar
28 g. (approx. 2 Tbsp.) evaporated milk (coconut milk is also a tasty choice here)
140 ml (2/3 c.) water
2 tsp. vanilla
oil for your pan
1. Sift together your flour, baking powder, custard powder and tapioca starch.
2. Add your eggs and sugar, and beat well to combine.
3. In a small bowl, mix together your milk, water and vanilla. Gradually add to your flour mixture, and beat until there are no lumps.
4. Refrigerate the batter for one hour before using. (This step is not strictly necessary, but I did find that it made a nicer, lighter waffle.)
5. When your batter is done resting in the fridge, pull it out and prepare your Egg Waffle Pan. (Any waffle pan would work, but it wouldn’t make the signature egglet shape that gives these waffle their name.)
6. Separate your pan, lightly grease both sides, and preheat.
7. To make your waffles: pour approximately 3/4 cup batter into one side of the pan, and shut the lid. Wait about 30 seconds, flip the pan over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to get the pan too hot – your waffles will burn before they are finished cooking.
8. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack. Serve warm. These can be pulled apart and eaten as is, or wrapped up with berries and cream.
Daigansai, a set on Flickr.