By Amanda Little
The culinary community waffles on whether or not wafers can be waffles, but we say all things waffled are good waffles. From modest beginnings as ice cream cones to the fluffy and well-loved diner breakfast favorites, enjoy a trip around the world, one waffle at a time.
Belgium • Brussels Waffle
While there are many varieties of the internationally popular Belgian waffle, the Brussels waffle is easily among the most well-known, distinguishable by its deeper pockets, fluffier insides, and crisper outsides. Americans usually confuse the Brussels waffle with the Belgian waffle, thinking it's perfect for breakfast and should be doused in toppings like syrup, whipped cream, ice cream, and more. However, a traditional Brussels waffle is only topped with powdered sugar, and occasionally melted chocolate or fruit.
Belgium • Liege Waffle
Liege waffles compete for the title of favorite with Brussels waffles. These pocketed pastries are denser and sweeter, and it's a little more like a doughnut because it’s meant to be eaten with your hands. Liege waffles also have chunks of pearl sugar mixed in, which caramelise when the batter sizzles on the hot iron.
Belgium • Galette
The buttery yet crunch galettes of Belgium are also a contender for the best waffle, but tend to be filled with a savory filling instead of sweet. The most notable galette is the Galled des Rois, or “King Cake,” so perhaps the galette is already the winner of the three.
France • Flemish Waffles (Gaufres a la Flamande)
Straying from the well-known rectangular shape of Belgian waffles, Flemish waffles can be round or irregularly shaped and hail from northern France and some parts of Belgium. The fluffy treat can be enjoyed hot or cold, and is usually served with sugar and orange blossom water on top.
USA • American Waffle
American waffles are thinner, denser, and opt for baking powder instead of yeast. They also tend to be breakfast food, instead of dessert or a snack in many other countries. Sometimes fruit, berries, or chocolate chips are mixed into the batter, and it can be topped with a variety of sweet or savory foods like butter, maple syrup, honey, fruit, bacon, ice cream, whipped cream, fried chicken, and so much more.
Germany • Bergische Waffles
Bergische waffles, or just Berg waffles, hail unsurprisingly from Berg county in the German region of Bergisches Land. The heart-shaped waffles are usually served with cherries and cream, but occasionally are served with rice pudding for big Sunday afternoon feasts.
China • Hong kong waffle
Called Bubble Waffles or Hong Kong Waffles, this incredibly popular street food is known for bubbles instead of pockets that give it the texture snackers love. They can be eaten plain, but toppings such as fruit or chocolate can also be wrapped in a warm waffle. Other flavors can also be mixed into the waffle batter itself, like green tea, ginger, and coconut.
Vietnam • Pandan waffle
Vietnam answered the waffle craze with Pandan waffles, a street food unlike any other. Pandan leaf extract turns the batter green and gives its distinct nutty flavor, while coconut milk is usually used instead of cream or milk. The waffles are intended to be eaten plain, but can be topped with shredded coconut or a light syrup.
Scandinavia • Scandinavian waffle
These crispy, thin, heart-shaped waffles are more like a cookie than a waffle, and can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings. While Americans usually like to pile on the waffle toppings, Scandinavian waffles can be eaten with whipped cream, sour cream, a variety of jams, berries, sugar, ice cream, salmon, and cheese.
Netherlands • Stroopwafle
The sticky and delicious snack hailing from the Netherlands is more dessert than breakfast, and more cookie than waffle. The very thin batter is spread out on the waffle iron, and while still warm, cut in half. Then a cinnamon caramel-like syrup is spread over the insides before it is pressed back together. While difficult to make, it's very easy to find in outdoor food markets and most grocery stores in the Netherlands.
Thailand • Hotdog waffles
Similar to a corn dog, a wonderful street food in Thailand combines lunch and breakfast into the perfect snack. The hot dog is on a stick, which is then dipped in waffle batter. Once the batter has been cooked around the hot dog, you’re on your way, complete with ketchup and mayo as dipping sauces.
Italy • Pizzelle
This wafer thin and crunch cookie pulls from a waffle design, usually with a flower on top, and is flavored with anise, lemon zest, or vanilla. Sometimes the treat is sprinkled with sugar, and the cookie can be curled while still hot to fill with flavored cream. Traditionally, this dessert is served up on Easter, Christmas, or weddings.
Great Britain and Ireland • Potato Waffle
Batter isn’t the only thing waffle irons can cook. Potato waffles are essentially potato pancakes tossed into the iron instead of in a pan. Even though it’s incredibly different from the dough or batter in waffles found throughout the world, the savory waffle is excellent with breakfast, or just eaten as a snack.
Photo via instagram user: sweetexperienceph
Instagram • Waffle on a stick
The food craze that swept through Instagram and food markets was a tall, cone-like waffle on a stick. It could be dipped in chocolate, covered in sprinkles or nuts, doused in caramel or chocolate sauce, buried under whipped cream, rolled in sugary cereal, and more. The toppings were endless, and the photos were gorgeous.
Hawkins, Indiana • Eggo
A niche favorite of a particularly powerful psychic and telekinetic young girl in Indiana, Eggo waffles can be found throughout America in freezers ranging from gas stations to major grocery store chains. Heating them up with the toaster and munching on them with too much syrup while entertaining yourself with Saturday morning cartoons is widely considered the best way to enjoy them.