Pancakes are great and all, but sometimes you need a waffle. A crispy, crunchy waffle that stands up to drippy toppings. A hot, steaming waffle with a pat of butter melting at its center. A waffle that makes getting out of bed worth it.
But a waffle is not waffle is not a waffle. You have choices. Different versions of this breakfast (and sometimes snacktime) treat abound, and we’re not even including those fast food abominations.
So which is waffle is right for you? Read on and decide for yourself.
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The distinguishing feature of an American waffle is its batter, which is fairly simple: the recipe normally contains just baking powder, milk, butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it’s the baseline against which we judge all other waffles.
Although waffles have been popular in Belgium since the 19th century, Belgian waffles really took off in 1964 when restaurateur Maurice Vermersch sold something called “Brussels” waffles at the New York World’s Fair. When his customers didn’t realize Brussels was in Belgium, Vermersch changed the dish’s name to “Belgian” waffles.
Chinese Gai Daan Jai, or Eggettes
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A popular Hong Kong street food, gai daan jai are essentially waffles that look like fluffy eggs strung together with crunchy batter. (That’s why they’re also called eggettes.) They’re made with a sweet, egg-based batter and baked in a griddle with egg-shaped indentations. And they’re adorable.
Vietnamese Pandan Waffles
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These Vietnamese pancakes get their signature green color from pandan, a non-flowering plant native to Southeast Asia that boasts a nutty flavor. The batter is usually sweetened with coconut milk and thickened with both all-purpose and rice flour.
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Dutch stroopwafels are really more like cookies than waffles: two crispy, cinnamon-spiced wafers sandwich a smattering of thick syrup. The first stroopwafels were made in Gouda in the Netherlands, also known for its cheese.
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Liège waffles hail from Belgium, but they’re distinct from Belgian waffle on several counts. The former are immediately recognizable for their irregularly shaped edges, which are quite unlike the rigid angles of a Belgian waffle.
German Bergische Waffles
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Bergische waffles originate from Bergisches Land, a woodsy region in Western Germany. They’re usually made in the shape of a heart, they’re crispy, and they’re often served with cherries and cream or rice pudding. Yum.
So, which looks best to you? Quit waffling and eat a waffle already!