Photo: Shutterstock / Alena Haurylik
The essential difference between a traditional waffle and a true Belgian waffle is in the pockets. Traditional waffles are thin, with shallow pockets. Belgian waffles are thick, with deep pockets. And no one knows that better than Wafels & Dinges, purveyors of true Belgian waffles via food trucks, carts, and signature cafes in New York City, whose stated mission is to give America’s notion of Belgian waffles a “serious upgrade” by filling up those light and crispy deep waffle pockets with…dinges.
Wait, what’s a dinges (pronounced DING-iss), you ask? Why, it’s a Flemish word Belgians use for “thingies” or “thingamajigs” or “whatchamacallits.”
Quite simply—and literally—Wafels & Dinges has been putting the dinges in the waffle (sorry, “wafel,” as it’s spelled in Dutch), and they’ve been doing so since 2007. That’s when the King of Belgians, Albert II, got word of the sorry, soggy state of Belgian waffles in America. He then commissioned the Special Forces from the Ministry of Culinary Affairs, Department of Wafels, knighted Thomas DeGeest to Special Envoy for Wafels, and crowned Rossanna Figuera as Ambassador of Good Things. Or so the story goes on the Wafels & Dinges website.
The three most popular dinges are the “legendary” spekuloos spread, dulce de leche, and Belgian chocolate fudge, but dinges can be sweet or savory. “Our first glance at the menu had us floored; we hadn’t expected so many different variations and possibilities,” John Simon wrote on his lifestyle blog, XOJohn, especially surprised by the savory choices of dinges. In particular, John and his dining companions raved about the wafels with sausage gravy and cheese, as well as the hash brown wafel with “liege syrup” and “copious amounts of bacon.” Other popular savory dinges include:
- pulled pork, coleslaw and sweet barbecue sauce
- chili, sour cream and cilantro
- ham, raclette and scallions (dubbed the “Volkswaffel”)
- sour cream and prune syrup (the De Bastogne Wafel).
But even if you’re not in New York City, there’s no need to suffer FOMO (fear of missing out), because we’ve got your go-to guide for all the best waffle toppings, including recipes you can make at home, both savory and sweet.