Move aside, waffle and pizza chains — Waffle Khan has arrived in town. 

In recent years, South Korean sweets have swept through some of Tokyo’s hippest neighbourhoods, stealing the hearts of the younger generation with their great taste, bright colours and innovative designs.

One such sweet comes from a chain called Waffle Khan, which has about 190 stores in South Korea. Waffle Khan first arrived in Japan in October 2021, where it set up shop in Osaka’s Koreatown, before making its way to Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo a month later.

The chain expanded further in April, opening a new branch in Shibuya’s Shibuya109 building — a shopping complex at the heart of Tokyo’s vibrant youth scene. Our young-at-heart reporter Mr Sato was keen to try the food at Waffle Khan, so he headed down to the first basement floor of 109, where he was greeted by a dazzling array of waffles.

Waffle Khan is known for its sweet waffles, topped with plenty of fresh cream and sweet options like chocolate and fruit. Among them, the most popular is the Nutella Strawberry (980 yen [US$7.02] for a regular size), followed by Apple (730 yen) and then Chocolate Chips (780 yen).

While the sweet waffles looked fantastic, Mr Sato was here to try something slightly more adventurous — Waffle Pizza.

Looking closely at the promo poster for the exclusive treat, Mr Sato was confused. Was it a Waffle Pizza or a Pizza Waffle?

The moniker “Pizza Waffle” seemed a more appropriate fit, but after checking out Waffle Khan’s official Instagram account, Mr Sato became even more confused. There, in Japanese, it was written as “ピザワッフル” (“Pizza Waffle”), but beneath it, in English, it read “Waffle Pizza”.

Whether you choose to call it a Pizza Waffle or Waffle Pizza, one thing’s for sure — you won’t find anything quite like it at any other chain in Japan. With four varieties to choose from — Pepperoni, Combination, Bulgogi, and Bacon Cheese — Mr Sato was stumped for choice, but he eventually settled on the Pepperoni for 1,300 yen.

Waffles are baked to order so you may have to wait around 15 minutes after ordering. Mr Sato was handed a buzzer so he could be alerted once his pizza was ready, but as he began to wait he felt himself becoming strangely nervous and self-conscious.

He was standing in the midst of youth culture, after all, so he became overly conscious of his middle-aged self standing out amongst all the cool young people around him. He wondered if he might escape to the pole dancing equipment specialty store on the first basement level, but the owner there likes to chat so he was worried he might not be able to make it back in time.

In the end, he simply stood around, holding his breath in an attempt to blend into the wall behind him. It was a long 10 minutes, but once it was over, he felt his age wash away as he was now the proud owner of a Waffle Pizza (Pizza Waffle?) and a can of coffee, which he purchased for 450 yen.

▼ Part of the cool crowd now, eh?

He could hardly wait to get home and lift the lid on his beautiful blue box, which, when he took it out of the bag, taunted him with the words, “Pizza Waffle”.

Rubbing his hands in anticipation, Mr Sato lifted the lid and gasped at the sight that lay before him. It looked like a perfect pizza, and with the waffle beneath measuring around 21 centimetres (8.3 inches), it was much bigger than a store-bought Belgian waffle.

It felt a little cold to the touch, as it had taken a while for Mr Sato to get home, so he popped it in his toaster oven for 20-30 seconds. This worked a treat, browning the cheese ever so slightly and crisping up the edges of the waffle for extra crunch.

▼ Pulling out a slice, it felt similar to a regular pizza…

…but upon eating it, the texture was totally unexpected, as it was light and airy, with a crispy exterior and soft interior, which was filled with five grains.

Despite looking decadent, it was surprisingly light and easy to eat. Keeping meals light is one of Waffle Khan’s aims — the fresh cream they use on their sweet waffles is even calorie-reduced — and the lightness was definitely noticeable as Mr Sato was able to finish the whole pizza without feeling heavy or uncomfortably full afterwards.

Despite being an odd combination, the Waffle Pizza made for a flavourful and delicious meal, but after a few slices, Mr Sato did get the impression that the waffle would be better suited to a sweet topping rather than the meaty one he’d ordered. The light and airy waffle was definitely a standout, though, so he’s now looking forward to trying it with ice cream…if he can work up the guts to return to Shibuya109 to order it!

Restaurant information
Waffle Khan SHIBUYA109 / ワッフルカーン SHIBUYA109店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 2-29-1 SHIBUYA109 B2F
東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-29-1 SHIBUYA109内B2F
Open 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. No regular holidays
Website (Instagram)

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[ Read in Japanese ]