Lotte Waffle Mate

The first thing that struck me about Lotte’s Waffle Mate (와플 메이트, literally ‘waffle mate’) was that they bore a striking resemblance to the Dutch stroopwafel, or ‘syrup waffle’. That is, at least in appearance. My original assessment was only half right, and there was much to discover about this delightful little snack than I had originally envisioned.

First of all, these aren’t really waffles – at least how most people know waffles. Most people in the U.K would define waffles as the grid-like shapes made out of potato that are traditionally served hot; the Americans however would define them as those big things they have at breakfast, heaped in sickly-sweet syrup and god knows what else. But these are neither here nor there. They’re not bad, of course; but very different.

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Each box comes with two foil-sealed packets, each containing three waffles. It’s most definitely a lunchbox food, and similar in portion size to many savoury breakfast bars easily bought here. I speak from personal experience when I say that each packet is very short-lived. One is certainly enough; though if you’re especially hungry, you may find yourself destroying the entire box…

So what are they like, you might ask? It may sound strange, though I’d like the texture to biscuits that have gone just ever so slightly stale. I personally love stale biscuits, so that’s all good news to me. They’re soft, though retain just a smidgen of crunch to them. The taste is definitely waffle-like. I can’t say much more on that front, as describing the taste of waffles without using waffles as a means of comparison is surprisingly difficult. To put it this way: if you like waffles, and are very much in the waffle crowd, then you will love these things.

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I still have one packet left to go in my batch, so will test these out with a pot full of tea and coffee. Something tells me there’s a great deal of extra flavour to be gotten when combined with that good old English addiction…

For those of you that have tried these any other way, either by experimentation or otherwise, please let me know! I’m always looking for novel ways to stuff my face!

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Haitai Original Egg Snack

It’s cookie time again! Well, sort of. As a dyed-in-the-wool filthy tea drinker and red coat, I’d have to describe these more as biscuits; though my girlfriend calls them cookies. Whatever category you want to put them in, these are known to Koreans by the name of ‘계란과자’ (kyeah-ran gwa-ja – literally ‘egg snack’). It’s original, too. This delightful product comes from Haitai, or as is written on the packaging, ㅎ태.

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I had an unusual attack of nostalgia whilst I eating these, which I still haven’t been able to identify exactly. It immediately called to mind those small, somewhat hard biscuits they sell here under the Farley’s brand, rusks. They’re not quite as hard, though there was a scarcely perceptible similarity. Aside from that, these are in a league of their own, unlike anything I’ve tasted before.

Inside the box is a small foil bag. Admittedly, these do tend to suffer from ‘air-packing syndrome’, as I shall now to refer to the phenomenon (totally just made that up): the ability for a foil or plastic snack bag to be seemingly bursting with contents, but in reality is scarcely halfway full. These have that, unfortunately. I didn’t count how many, as the biscuits themselves are very small; but there certainly weren’t as many as I was expecting.

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That said, they’re delicious. Something of a halfway house between a regular cookie and a soft mallow-type snack, they go down pretty easy. Owing to their small size, you need to take two or three at a time to really feel like you’re getting the most potential out of the flavour. The flavour, by the way, I thought was conspicuously un-eggy. Not in a bad way; though if I were handed these in a blind test I certainly wouldn’t put egg at the top of the list. There’s a certain creamy, ‘fresh’ flavour to which no words can do justice – you’ll simply have to try them to know what I’m talking about.

Despite being sweet, I feel these are very much the ambassadorial types of the Korean snack world: fairly simple, small in portion size, and inoffensive insofar as wildness of taste, texture and whatever else is concerned. In plainer terms, these are definitely the ticket when it comes to introducing your elderly or otherwise unassertive family members to foreign snack foods.

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Additionally, I’ve always thought these would make a good movie snack. Take a box with you, and gradually run through them as you watch. Not that I’m promoting avoiding the stinging prices of the concessions… but… yeah, well.

I was told after the fact by my girlfriend that these are heavenly to eat with a glass of milk, chocolate chip cookie style. Alas, I polished off the box before any such research could be undertaken; but that’ll definitely be my next venture.