Whatcha Fillin’s Got Sweet and Savory Waffle Cakes
We never expected to find these treats inside a Kaimukī arcade.
Nuts About You oozes Nutella, peanut butter and banana.
Photos: Katrina Valcourt
Funnel cakes and corn dogs are the unofficial foods of amusement parks, so it makes sense that waffle cakes with sweet and savory fillings—the best of both worlds—have taken up residence in an arcade on Wai‘alae Avenue. Sort of.
You may remember Whatcha Fillin’ as a purple and gray food truck that roamed the city in 2013, slinging provocative-sounding, hand-held munchies to patrons of Eat the Street and Honolulu Night Market. Now you can get your French Kiss and Nuts About You inside the WZ Entertainment Center in Kaimukī, a fairly new (i.e., clean) arcade at Lafite Plaza (formerly Harry’s Music Building). It’s one more in a sea of sweets surrounding Kaimukī Community Park, but Whatcha Fillin’ brings something new, and exciting, to the dessert table.
When we went on a recent Friday evening, the menu featured two sweet waffle cakes, two savory waffle cakes and two rice cakes, so, of course, we ordered them all. Friendly staff gave us free $5 charge cards to pass the time on some games while our cakes griddled—a deal, considering each cake is only $4.
Now, waffles in general are usually a bit dense, which helps you sop up sticky syrup and melting ice cream, exploding gooeyness when you bite into them. That’s sometimes the case here, but the savory fillings are too thick to soak into the waffle cakes, and you’re left with something more like a moist sandwich. Not that that’s a bad thing: We especially loved Hot Stuff, a cheesy amalgam of cheddar and cream cheeses, peppered with spicy chunks of jalapeño. Combined with the sweetness of the waffle batter, it feels indulgent but balanced.
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with either Nuts About You, filled with peanut butter, Nutella and banana, or Baby Cakes, cheesecake with liliko‘i. Just make sure you have a glass of water nearby.
A rice cake, topped with furikake.
The shoyu-glazed mochi rice cakes, filled with salmon belly and a choice of two sauces, are a bit of a hot mess. The chili oil sauce is, well, oily, and flavorless. The ginger miso sauce is mildly pleasant, but is the rice cake better than a salmon roll? Not really. It’s certainly stickier.
The rice cakes notwithstanding, the waffle-to-filling ratio at Whatcha Fillin’ is just right, the prices are good and the atmosphere … quirky. You don’t have to venture deep into the arcade to get your waffle fix, but if you’d like to, play a round of Marine Treasure for us.
$4 per cake, 3457 Wai‘alae Ave., open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. daily, 389-0205, whatchafillin.com