They look like sheets of large, edible bubble wrap. Made with eggs, sugar, flour and evaporated milk, Hong Kong waffles, or eggettes, are a rather rare sight in Los Angeles.
It's a honeycomb-shaped Cantonese dessert by way of Hong Kong and Macau. Crafted and pressed by an iron-cast mold, they come out to a beautiful golden-yellow hue when done right. The texture is reminiscent of a sponge cake but, with a crispier outer crust, it's almost like a beignet. The taste is sweeter than your run-of-the-mill waffle with a hint of vanilla essence and custard powder. Sometimes a dollop of ice cream is scooped on top and if you're lucky you might stumble upon a place that adds fillings: think chocolate, matcha or a gooey, warm peanut butter.
1212 S Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
This Arcadia staple really sets the bar for the best-made waffles in town. In fact, one may argue that their eggettes are the main attraction of the menu. They're cooked to a perfect color. It's more fluffy than crispy, more golden than brown and sweeter than not. These versions are best plain and naked but the restaurant can dress them up with condensed milk, fresh fruit and ice cream.
308 S San Gabriel Boulevard
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Jimmy Vambam of Fresh Roast has been wielding a waffle iron for 13 years. He perhaps has the most eclectic selections of eggettes in the greater Los Angeles area. They can be stuffed with blueberry, chocolate, cranberry, almond, peanut butter, coffee, green tea, and durian. Mixing and matching is acceptable and if you have a better idea, tell Jimmy. Chances are, he'll make it work.
500 W Valley Boulevard
Alhambra, CA 91803
Café Spot is your typical Hong Kong-style diner, with filet mignon cubes, pasta side dishes and British-influenced Chinese fare. Though service can be a tad lacking, they do carry the eggettes. Deviating from the traditional octagonal shape, Café Spot's version comes in a rectangle. But at $2.95 per batch, it's definitely a steal by all accounts.
i-Sweet Dessert House
17501 Colima Road, Unit F
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
A confectionery stop in Rowland Heights, i-Sweet tacks on the cutesy name to the dessert and calls it an "egg puff." It's a great mix between soft and crunchy, plus they have a chocolate version. At i-Sweet, the waffle comes rolled up and they're $2.99. Eat them fresh first and then pair it with a mountain of coffee-flavored snow shaved ice for an ideal balance of hot and cold.
J&K Hong Kong Cuisine
728 N Hill Street, Ste 216
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Finally, an eggette destination west of the LA River. J&K is a three-year old Hong Kong-style café in Chinatown. The chef has more than four decades of experience under his belt and part of that training includes being able to whip up the elusive waffle. Save ordering the bubble waffle for last and you'll be thankful that you're ending the meal with a warm slice fresh from the kitchen.
Clarissa Wei writes about Chinese food in Los Angeles. Check out her work at www.clarissawei.com.
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