Hong Kong

Little chicken eggs

Do you know what little chicken eggs are? I did not. But I did some research and now I know what they are! They are (what I used to call) egg balls or egg waffles. Their Cantonese name ‘Gai Daan Jai’ literally translates as little chicken eggs. Especially as a good egg ball should have a strong egg flavour. They are best served hot and often eaten plain.

The origins of the egg balls are unknown. One story says the enterprising post-war generation created the egg-shaped mould 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 colour of the cake.

They are lots of hawker stalls around Hong Kong that serve the egg waffles. They are made from a sweet batter that is cooked on a hot griddle, a special frying pan with small round moulds – most of them use electric versions, but there are a few that use a charcoal fire to cook the batter. The egg batter is poured over the special frying pan and heated; the small ovals of eggs are thus formed. They are removed from the pan and put on a rack to cool a little (some vendors use small fans to cool them down so you can eat them without burning your tongue). The trick is twist them a little, so they fit better into the paper bag.

We’ve tried a few – above is Patrick in Kowloon tasting normal flavoured ones. Below is my mum, trying pandan flavoured ones, in Tai O. They were nice too, with nutty flavour and a little green colour:

Finally, a short video taking a few years ago (not by me, just found it on YouTube) showing you how these little chicken eggs are made:

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