Eggettes or ji dan zai (in Mandarin Chinese) or gai daan tsai (in Cantonese) are an iconic Hong Kong street food.
The golden cakes that resemble a sheet of bubble wrap can be found all over Hong Kong.
The origins of this street food are a bit unclear, although some say that the sweet treat was started as a way for street hawkers to use broken eggs which could be bought cheaply.
A simple batter of flour, sugar, eggs, and milk is poured into irons with rows of little ovals, resulting essentially in a large, round waffle made up of 30 little “eggs” all stuck together. As a result of the unique iron, the outside “shell” is thin and crunchy; nearly half of the inside is empty, while the other is filled with batter.
When finished cooking, the entire waffle is laid out on a metal rack where it is briefly cooled by fanning, then served in a cheap paper bag. You then break each “egg” off from the waffle to eat it. This is a freshly done batch rolled off the waffle:
Like most street foods (or food in general), they are best consumed hot. (To ensure quality, it’s best to buy them at a place that makes them as your order. There’s nothing worse than a cold and soggy ji dan zai).
When consumed warm, they’re crisp on the inside with a soft and fluffy interior. Pulling off the little “eggs” one by one and savoring it always delivers an odd sense of satisfaction that is akin to popping all of the bubbles on a sheet of bubble wrap.
In addition to the original vanilla flavor, some innovative vendors have flavors such as chocolate and green tea (which I have yet to try but will definitely make room for before the end of the trip)
They may not be fancy or trendy, but they’re my favorite street food. Easily accessible and best enjoyed in its simplest form.
In Wanchai, there is a branch that is quite famous if you would like to try it:
灣仔柯布連道2號地下(G/F, No. 2, O’Brien Road)
Wan Chai, Hong Kong