Eggette, Gai Dan Jai, (鸡蛋仔)
An eggette is a kind of spherical pancake or ball waffle popular in the Cantonese-speaking regions of China, including Hong Kong and Macau. The food item is also referred to as an egg puff, bubble waffle or by its Cantonese name, gai daan jai (鷄蛋仔), and is made from egg, sugar, flour, and light evaporated milk. They are best served hot, and often eaten plain. They can also be served with fruit and flavors such as strawberry, coconut or chocolate. They are sometimes referred to as "Hong Kong cakes" in Chinatowns across America, especially in New York.
Eggettes are one of the most popular Hong Kong "street snacks" and was ranked No.3 in the 50 most popular HK "street snack". They have been a favoured street snack in HK since their emergence in 1950s and were made with coal fire heating, sold from street kiosks in Hong Kong in the early days.
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 Kongers young and old. "One story says the enterprising post-war generation created the egg-shaped mold to make up for an eggless batter, as eggs used to be a luxury. Another tale points to street hawkers who bought damaged eggs on the cheap to work them into a batter, resulting in the classic golden color of the cake. It also is reasonable to suggest that the special iron skillet used to mold the gai daan tsai is a Hong Kong take on the traditional checkered European waffle press. Today, the two related snacks are often sold by the same stall."
They are made from a sweet batter that is cooked on a hot griddle, a special frying pan with small round "wells" (resembling a Æbleskiver but with smaller and more of the round "wells") and with them set on hot coals in the fire or more commonly, on an electrical heat generator. The egg batter is poured over the special frying pan and heated; the small ovals of eggettes are thus formed. In addition to the conventional "egg taste", they are also available in a variety of flavours such as chocolate, green-tea and ginger, etc. Most pancakes are quick breads, although some are also made using a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Eggettes can be eaten at different times of the day depending on local tradition.
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Hong Kong — Street’s snack, www.kaboodle.com