It comes as no surprise that waffles are a huge deal for Americans during breakfast time and even brunch. This light, fluffy wafer with a chewy center and crispy exterior has been a classic breakfast choice for several centuries now. The most commonly known way to eat a waffle to serve it with butter, syrup, and sometimes topped off with sauces like strawberry, or whip cream. Such toppings are for the enhancement of the waffle’s natural properties, while adding a sweet flavor to it. This combination of doughy and sweet goodness is a duo that is savory enough to make the mouth melt, and leave the stomach warm.
However, there is a newer take on the classic golden wafer that is starting to gain popularity and widespread success from abroad to North America. This fairly foreign waffle is known as the “Pandan waffle”. The Panadan waffle is more commonly referred to as the “green waffle” In the United States due to its unusual green coloring. The Pandan waffle originated in Vietnam, and is referred to as “banh kep la dua” by the Vietnamese. Pandan waffles continue to be a popular food of choice in Vietnam, especially among children. The waffle is also making a name for itself in North America, where several recipes have been introduced, and are widely accessible.
America has embraced this new alternative as a phenomenon in comparison to the traditional waffle, which requires adding syrups and/or toppings to provide it’s sweet flavor. Pandan waffles are naturally sweet, due to the Pandan and coconut milk added within the batter, so no syrup, butter, or other toppings are necessary. This Vietnamese tradition is derived from their cultural tradition of using the Pandan herb as their staple ingredient for many of their local dishes. Pandan waffles are created in a process where the Pandan leaves are tied in a tiny knot and steeped with coconut milk. Next they are placed in a saucepan and boiled for up to 19 minutes. This process is to set in the flavors in marination to prepare for the Pandan waffle mix/batter. Then other traditional waffle mix ingredients such as eggs and flour and incorporated into the batter. There is also a green food coloring that is added into the batter to enhance the green color from the Pandan, giving the waffle its distinctive and infamous “spring green” hue.
When cooked, the Pandan waffle has a pleasant aroma of vanilla (from the Pandan)and coconut. The flavor of a Pandan waffle is just as sweet as its fragrant smell. As this breakfast dish continues to gain more recognition in the U.S., the Pandan waffles is not only a recipe that is passed throughout household to household, but continues to become a menu item in various restaurants within several states.