What better way to start the Chinese New Year than with new food?
Eggloo, a new Hong Kong egg waffle spot, opened its doors at 61 Mulberry St. just past 11 a.m. on Monday. Teenagers out of school for the holiday crowded the narrow entryway, blaring Taylor Swift, and eagerly ordered matcha waffles griddled to order, stuffed with a plush scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream, topped with mochi, colorful cereal and more. At $8 for a stuffed waffle with two sweet toppings, this was a good use of Chinese New Year money, according to more than one customer.
Ice cream rolls and majestically massive milkshakes have both enjoyed their time in the spotlight: It's time for Hong Kong waffle cones.
Mike Tan, one of the co-founders of Eggloo, grew up just around the corner on Mott Street. He and his mom would stop by Chinatown's only egg waffle cart run by locally famous waffle-maker Cecilia Tan on hilly Mosco Street pretty much daily.
"One day, she didn't show up, and that was it," Tan said. He speculates she either made enough money or was just done making waffles, but the absence of his favorite treat "left a void."
Years later, Tan was walking down Canal Street with his friend David Lin, who works in finance, and reminiscing about his childhood egg waffles. They thought of all the fun flavors they could bring into the street food and began collaborating on a food business. Tan, who owns a doggy day care in Brooklyn with his mom, had no restaurant experience, and brought on friend Jessica Tam, who works at Momofuku as a wedding cakes specialist. Exactly the type of person you want in your Instagram-gold food business.
Over the summer, the three friends tested their creations at street fairs. The vendors got good reception from their customers, attracted to a street food not so common to New York, and perhaps even more intrigued by the Hong Kong waffles' Instagram-ability.
"People loved us on social media," Tan said.
And with a few hashtags of approval, the trio set out to start the brick-and-mortar Eggloo.
On the menu: three flavors of waffles, three homemade ice creams and a slew of colorful, sugary toppings. Warm and fluffy and sweet and summery in one bite, Eggloo's waffle ice cream creations are surprisingly perfect for the season, even amid a winter weather advisory. The steamy comfort of the waffle perfectly blankets that tease of summer, or spring break -- so close you can really taste it.
Eggloo is also experimenting with savory egg waffles, including one with Chinese sausage and another pizza-stuffed waffle.
"We're planning to experiment a lot more," said Tan.
Eggloo's grand opening is Saturday, Feb. 13, but for a sneak sample of waffle goodness, stop in on Feb. 8, when all orders are topped with a special fortune cookie!
Here's what to expect:
Mike Tan at the former site of his childhood favorite egg waffle cart
Waffles are griddled to order
Every Eggloo creation is a beautiful, tasty masterpiece