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What is a bubble waffle?


Photo by Ceeseven licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia

Ever wanted to try something delicious and fun? You don't have to wait for breakfast to enjoy this sweet treat!

Check out the bubble waffle! A bubble waffle is a Chinese sweet snack made in a special waffle iron. It includes eggs, flour, milk and sugar. 

Read on to find out why you may want to sink your teeth into one!

Where were bubble waffles invented?

Bubble waffle batter poured into mold over charcoal fire
This is how bubble waffles were traditionally made over a charcoal fire! Pouring the batter into half of the iron, the other half of the iron sits on top of the charcoal fire. Photo by Thomas Lu licensed CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia

These treats were invented by shopkeepers in Hong Kong during the 1950s. The shopkeepers didn't want broken or unsold eggs to go to waste. So they mixed the eggs with a little milk and flour, and cooked the batter in molds. They sold the snack, one bubble at a time.

Later on, little food carts popped up on the sidewalks of Hong Kong. And bubble waffles were baked over charcoal stoves while customers waited.

Bubble waffles are called gai daan jai (say "guy-dan-jigh") in Cantonese, which literally means little chicken eggs. Not only do they look like little chicken eggs, but they are also made with eggs!

How are bubble waffles made?

Bubble waffles in warming oven; waffle irons on display
Can you tell which waffle comes from which waffle iron? Hint: look for the bubbles of the waffle that match the bubbles on the waffle iron! Photo by Yatadeihom licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia

Today bubble waffles are made in electric bubble waffle makers. But customers don't mind waiting for their orders because they are best eaten hot off the iron!

The waffle maker pours the batter to coat the iron on one side. Then they close the other half of the waffle iron on top. Finally, it gets flipped so the batter coats the other side of the iron, leaving a pocket of air inside each bubble.

How are they eaten?

Closeup of bubble waffle
A bubble waffle is sometimes curled up after it comes off the iron, making this cool cone shape! Photo by Joybot licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

These days, you buy the whole waffle. Most people eat the waffle one bubble at a time, making it the perfect snack to share with others.

What do bubble waffles taste like?

Oreo cookies, sprinkles and chocolate sauce drizzled over ice cream wrapped in bubble waffle
A bubble waffle with ice cream and loads of toppings on top! Photo by bhupendra singh licensed Public Doman Mark 1.0

The best bubble waffles are slightly sweet. They are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with an air pocket in the middle.

Now there are lots of different flavours and ways to enjoy your bubble waffle! Chocolate, green tea (matcha), strawberry and even cookies and cream. You can even find sweet bubble waffles wrapped around scoops of ice cream, like a waffle cone.

For those that like salty snacks, there’s cheese, Chinese BBQ pork and even seaweed flavours!

Where can I find bubble waffles?

Bubble waffle stand at Pacific Mall in Markham, Ontario
A bubble waffle stand in a mall food court in Markham, Ontario. Photo by Enoch Leung licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

In Canada, bubble waffles are found in small cafés that sell bubble tea and other Asian snacks.

If you live in a city where a lot of Asian-Canadians live, you'll probably find bubble waffles made in food courts at local malls.

Bubble waffles can be found all over the world now. Including in cities like Moscow, London and Johannesburg!