The coolest treats in South Florida will soon be getting even better, as Puffles dessert shop on Hollywood Beach, which specializes in Hong Kong waffles with ice cream, adds new products this year.
Puffles, conveniently located just off the Broadwalk at 349 Johnson Street near the Margaritaville Beach Resort and the band shell, introduced one of Hong Kong’s most popular street snacks, gai daan jai, or spherical egg-based waffles, to the area last April.
Crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside, Hong Kong waffles are traditionally served in just one flavor, broken into pieces in a baggie and eaten plain. Puffles has put its own spin on this cultural phenomenon with a choice of three flavors – original, chocolate or matcha (Japanese green tea) – and the waffle folded into a cone to hold ice cream and toppings.
The 1,300-square-foot shop features a cornucopia of offerings, including a dozen different flavors of ice cream, from vanilla to Sea Salt Caramel Truffle, that doesn’t melt in the warm waffle. There are 19 toppings ranging from Fruity Pebbles cereal and Japanese mochi to Pocky sticks, condensed milk and syrups. Puffles also carries a variety of slushes and bubble teas, with toppings that include boba (tapioca pearls), popping boba and fruit jelly balls.
"We have a lot of options here," said Puffles co-owner Caleb Deng, who is hands-on in the business making waffle batter, which requires 800 eggs a week.
Puffles staff are trained on which ingredients go well together and will make suggestions for patrons who can’t decide on a flavor combination.
"We want something that tastes as good as it looks. Everything is made to order and goes well with the ice cream," said Deng, a fan of the waffles in New York’s Chinatown since childhood.
"There is nothing like this in South Florida," added Deng, whose family owns numerous service and restaurant businesses in New York City and South Florida. "I was always into baking when I was a kid and wanted to open a café-style dessert place."
Savory waffle flavors such as pizza and red bean will be added to the menu, as well as ice cream cakes and acai bowls with fresh fruit and granola. Given Puffles’ popularity and uniqueness, the owners are already eyeing a second location, in Downtown Miami.
"We’re really interested in expanding to other states and possibly franchising," Deng said.
As for the original Puffles location, "We chose Hollywood Beach because it’s a mix of locals and tourists, and it’s right in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale," Deng said.
Puffles opens daily at noon and closes at 10:30 pm Sunday - Thursday and 11 pm Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 954-367-2353 or visit PufflesFL.com.