Making It: Former Hong Kong Journalists Bring Bubble Waffles To Cleveland
MAKER: Aldous Lau and Alice Fung, owners
BUSINESS: Ball Ball Waffle
LIFE MOVES FAST: Lau and Fung moved to Solon, Ohio, two years ago from Hong Kong in search of a better education for their son. They were both professional journalists in Hong Kong but wanted new careers in the United States and to spend more time with their son. They chose something they had never done before – working in the food industry.
“Starting my own business in Ohio or in Cleveland is quite challenging for me. I never thought I would own a waffle shop or something like this,” Lau said.
Before opening up the storefront in Cleveland’s AsianTown, Ball Ball Waffle started as a ‘pop-up’ business, meaning they set up a temporary food stand for their waffle irons and blow dryers on special occasions. Lau and Fung made waffles at the Cleveland Asian Festival in May 2018 and had 10 pop-up dates before opening up their store four months ago.
CATCHING UP CLEVELAND: A bubble waffle is a popular street food in Hong Kong. Lau and Fung are proud to be able to bring this authentic Hong Kong dining experience to Cleveland.
“This kind of snack is quite popular in the West Coast, in New York, in Japan, Korea, London, so I think we need to catch up with the trend,” Lau said.
Ball Ball Waffle is expanding its menu beyond bubble waffles. They offer a selection of teas, coffees and other drinks, and Lau and Fung installed new equipment in their kitchen to make other Hong Kong style street foods.
NOT A SALON: The Ball Ball Waffle experience goes beyond a sweet treat. Lau and Fung, who are currently the only two employees in the shop, make the waffles in the front of the store for customers to see. Each waffle is made extra crispy with the help of a blow dryer.
“When I pop out the hair dryer for the waffles, everyone opens their mouths and says: ‘What? What’s that?’” Lau said. “I can claim that this is the most authentic bubble waffle in Ohio.”