Waffles are a huge food trend in Seoul. I saw them at coffee shops, restaurants and at stands on their own. I would say that they’re more of a snack or dessert item in Seoul than here in the US, where they’re more often served for breakfast. I even had difficulty finding places to serve them in the early morning in spite of the fact that they offered maple syrup as a topping! I noticed two types of waffles: small and thick Belgian waffles and thinner, flatter waffles. The Belgians looked much tastier (some of the others looked a bit like Eggo-type waffles) and I made it a point to seek some out.
I got this waffle at a place called Waffle Lab, which was basically a counter that specialized in waffles. They were located in an office building in Myeongdong and opened pretty early – a plus for me since I had my waffle as a post-breakfast dessert after eating at a nearby Korean restaurant.
There were many waffles to choose from, all in the Belgian-style and about 6-inches across. They pre-made some of the waffles to stock their display case, and when you ordered one, they would toss it back on the waffle iron for a minute to crisp it up for you. There were plain waffles, of course, but I ended up going with a matcha, or green tea, waffle. The waffle was slightly sweet and had a nice, mild matcha flavor. The green tea waffle had a nice texture, not too light and not too dense, and was enough to hold up to the whipped cream and strawberry sauce topping I picked out. I actually chose strawberry for the color, but the flavor was great with the green tea of the waffle. The waffle was sliced in quarters before topping to make it easier to eat.
Many Korean, Japanese and Chinese restaurants display plastic models of the food they sell in their window displays to try and entice customers in to eat. Many other restaurants follow suit with plastic models and waffle shops are no exception, especially if they offer special toppings for their waffles. Here is the plastic model of the waffle topping I ended up getting. Pretty, but mine probably had a more balanced ratio of whipped cream to waffle.
I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more Belgian waffle shops open in my neighborhood. Many shops used these as a base for ice cream sundaes, and I think they’re a great alternative to a waffle cone!