From February 9 to 17, I visited Hong Kong on a trip sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Here's a look at something I ate during my trip. Make sure to check out my other Snapshots from Hong Kong.
Egg puffs—I thought I knew you. I used to be easily lured in by the sweet and eggy scent wafting from egg puff stands in Manhattan's Chinatown, until I realized the cakes tend to smell far, far better than they actually taste.* At best, they're a lil' bit chewy, pleasantly soft, eggy and sweet, pancake-like nubs, with smidges of crisp around the edges when fresh out of the mold. At worst, they taste like dense, dehydrated sponges.
But thanks to Lee Keung Kee North Point Egg Waffles (LKK), I now know what egg puffs—aka eggettes, egg waffles, or gai daan jai in Cantonese—are supposed to taste like. They're supposed to be feather-light and semi-hollow, with a thin, brittle crust on the outside that gives way to a spot of soft-n-chewy in the center. All the "eggs"—30 pieces in the standard waffle—should be bound by a crisp plane of baked batter, allowing you to pluck the egg-shaped balls off at will or bite 'em straight off the mother waffle. (However you eat them, just do it quickly—the waffle's only good while fresh.) And, of course, they should have a good eggy, not overly sweet flavor. If I lived in Hong Kong, I'd want to eat these all the time.
Sorry I ever doubted you, egg puffs/waffles.
A line/hoard of people formed outside the Tsim Sha Tsui location of LKK before it opened around 11 a.m. To keep things somewhat orderly, everyone in line paid first (one waffle, HK$15; two waffles, HK$28) and was given a numbered token to redeem for their waffle, fresh from the mold.
Or the army of molds.
If you want more than just egg waffles (not that you need anything else), this LKK also sells savory street food favorites, such as curry fish balls, hot dogs, and fish cake siu mai.
LKK's egg waffle is the best I've ever had, but I couldn't tell you if it's the best in Hong Kong (I unfortunately didn't have time to try other places). This egg waffle taste test from CNN Travel has more suggestions. Someday, I shall try them all. Someday. (Until then, I may have to make them at home.)
* I tried three egg puff carts in a row in Manhattan's Chinatown to prep my brain for this post, and they ranged from, "Eh, I guess this is ok, but there are better sweets for $1," to, "Oh god, what is this, no." A major downside was that they were in various states of not-freshness, but even if they had been fresh, they would've still been pretty underwhelming. Kenji has written about a great Hong Kong cake vendor who used to be in Chinatown but closed up in the early 2000s.
Thanks to Rachel Balota for bringing me to LKK. ...And waiting in line for me. ...And being my hand model.
Lee Keung Kee North Point Egg Waffles (利強記北角雞蛋仔)
178 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (map)
Opening hours: Mon. to Sat., available from 11:30 a.m. (during my visit they started around 11 a.m.); Sun., available from 12:30 p.m.
Original location: 492 King's Road, North Point, Hong Kong (map)
Other locations: Visit Open Rice for full list.