Date Traveled, February 2013
Gai Daan Jai or eggettes or Chinese cakes or whatever else they are known as are one of my favorite street snacks. These are hugely popular in Hong Kong and among Chinese communities all over the world.
Its a very simple snack, the shops and vendors have a batter that isn't too sweet, almost having just a hint of sweetness. They pour it over a hot skillet that in its most common format has lots of small depressions, kind of like a circular egg carton and in a few moments you have a deliciously crispy and fluffy snack of daan jai or "chicken eggs". Eat it hot and once you start, you simply cannot stop. Simple to prepare but when the batter is done right they taste, absolutely wonderful. If you are in New York, you can find vendors around China Town. Walking across Canal street is a good place to look. They sell this stuff in little carts or stalls that are maybe a third of the size a small hot dog cart and you will typically get 15 eggettes for a dollar.
We had tried a few Daan Jai spots around while in Hong Kong but we wanted to especially try Mammy Pancake in Hung Hom because we had heard they made really good ones. We were flying out of Hong Kong to return home to New York that afternoon and making the most of the few hours we had in the morning by doing what we do best in Hong Kong, eating. For an early breakfast we had the phenomenal Bo Lao Bao at Kam Wah cafe in Mongkok. For brunch we had just polished off a huge Dim Sum breakfast at the new Tim Ho Wan location at the Olympian City mall in Tai Kok Sui. After that we had to check out of our hotel and still had a couple of hours to kill (eat) before our airport shuttle bus arrived and we decided to go to Mammy Pancake because Hung Hom was just a stop away from our nearest MRT station at East Tsim Sha Tsui.
It didn't look like too much of a walk from the Hung Hom MRT station, but it is confusing to get there if you are unfamiliar and we were a bit lost for a while. When you exit one of the exits at the north end of the station, you end up in a Bus depot and are surrounded by large buildings and no real sign of how to get out of there. After a few attempts and some help with the GPS, we ended up going up a footbridge into a mall and exiting the other side. Again you end up on another long Hong Kong elevated footbridge which forks at different points, the key I recall is turn right at the first fork after you exit the mall and if you see signs of Hong Kong Polytechnic University buildings or dorms, then you are going in the right direction.
Somewhere along the footbridge you will notice a stairway down to Whampoa Street and you should be easily able to make out shop 2A Mammy Pancake with its giant Daan jai pancake display on its window and a typical cluster of people waiting outside for their orders. From here it is simple, you give your name, get a number and wait till they call yours out. Note they call out the numbers in Cantonese but even if that's not under your belt I am sure that will not be an issue if you ask someone for help around you or let them know you don't understand it. Just for the record, I speak very little Cantonese but can do numbers, however my partner speaks pretty good Cantonese although even she has some difficulty sometimes in Hong Kong.
We ordered a regular daan jai and a chocolate flavored one for which they are well known. I have to say certainly worth the trouble of hunting this place down. The regular eggettes were good but the chocolate flavored one was better, but obviously much sweeter than the norm. Probably couldn't eat chocolate Daan Jai all the time but once in a while it is nice variation on it and Mammy Pancake is currently on the top of my list for that.