Trader Joe's Is Launching Its Version Of A Popular Hong Kong Snack

Trader Joe's Bubble Waffles
Trader Joe's Bubble Waffles - Instagram

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While Trader Joe's offers fewer items than most grocery stores, it sells a wide range of products inspired by Asian cultures. These offerings include its "Ube Spread," a purple yam jam known as ube halaya in the Philippines, an "Indian-style garlic achaar sauce," and a rendition of the popular Japanese seasoning blend, furikake, its "Nori Nori Furikake." Continuing this trend, Trader Joe's is launching its vegan and mochi-like "Bubble Waffles" for $4.49 a box. You'll likely find these waffles with other frozen boxed foods when they're available.

Bubble waffles or gai daan jai (鷄蛋仔) are Hong Kong-style waffles that originated as street food around the 1950s. Hong Kong street vendors did not want to waste their leftover eggs, so they repurposed broken eggs, used a special waffle maker, and invented bubble waffles. In the 1990s, we grew up eating bubble waffles from New York City Chinatown street vendors, and they were always hot, eggy, and inexpensive, about $1 for 20 freshly cooked-up pieces. Today, bubble waffles are available worldwide, from Tokyo to London and Seattle to Ukraine, and are often sold across bubble tea shops in the U.S. as a snack.

While in the past, one would eat bubble waffles plain, these days, bubble waffles serve as a vessel for various sweet and savory toppings. They're similar to the portable, stuffed Japanese crepes, also gaining popularity across the U.S.

Read more: 30 Absolute Best Snacks From Trader Joe's, Ranked

Trader Joe's Bubble Waffles Are Mochi-Like, Vegan, And Egg-Free

stuffed bubble waffles
stuffed bubble waffles - Christian Schwier/Shutterstock

It feels a little surprising that Trader Joe's "Bubble Waffles" product significantly departs from the traditional Hong Kong bubble waffles that inspired them. Traditional bubble waffles from Hong Kong are not vegan, often made with eggs, milk, and flour. Marketing a vegan version of the bubble waffles would mean there are no eggs in Trader Joe's product. And while bubble waffles often have a bounce and a chewy mouthfeel, they are not made from mochi or glutinous rice flour but tapioca starch. One can argue traditional bubble waffles have more of a boba texture than mochi. It remains to be seen how popular Trader Joe's new product will be, but early reactions across social media appear positive. Commenters on Instagram appreciate the product is vegan and egg-free, making it accessible to consumers with dietary restrictions and food allergies. And, of course, Trader Joe's knows exactly what's trendy and what will make a good profit.

If you're impatient and can't wait to try Trader Joe's "Bubble Waffles," fret not. Tasting Table has you covered. You can make bubble waffles at home with a Hong Kong bubble waffle maker, and check out our 15 tips to make the best homemade waffles.

Read the original article on Tasting Table