You know what an ordinary breakfast waffle looks like: brown, cellular. Maybe there's a square of butter on there somewhere.
Bubble waffles are different. They're spherical, almost three-dimensional, and they often arrive accompanied in some way by ice cream. They look like a waffle from an especially decadent future. Are you craving one now? Here's where to satisfy that craving in the Valley.
Mango Rabbit1250 East Apache Boulevard, #112, Tempe
The tea shop Mango Rabbit is small in size but big on creativity. It's here to champion Asian culture in the Valley, owner Peggy Huang says. “I want to create a place that can bridge cultures. We like to try new, different things. We look at whatever is popular in Asia, integrate this into new items, and bring this to Arizona.” That includes the Ube Bubble Waffles, with ube (a currently popular kind of purple yam) sourced directly from the Philippines, or the Rose Bubble Waffles, cooked with rose petals that have soaked for 15 hours.
Teacup Boba13000 West Indian School Road, Suite A-14, Litchfield Park
Do you believe, as Teacup does, that we should all, “Take Life One Sip At A Time?” Though it specializes in boba, Teacup takes bubble waffles as seriously as beverages. We recommend the Pandan Coconut Bubble Waffle: a pandan coconut bubble waffle with soft serve, strawberries, matcha Pocky, and sprinkles.
Bubbleology1050 South Terrace Road, #112, Tempe
Unlike other bubble waffles piled with ice cream, the London-based Bubbleology comes with gelato (or sorbet, if you’re vegan), and rotates six flavors, like strawberry cheesecake and cookies and cream. If you’re a fruit lover, order the Summer Crunch, which has fresh strawberries and strawberry Pocky. Chocolate lover? Go for The Nutty Professor, which includes some Ferrero Rocher.
Genbu Waffles1350 South Longmore Street, Mesa
This pop-up (now storefront) debuted at the 2018 PHX Night Market. Part of what puts Genbu Waffles a cut above is its sourcing of local and organic ingredients. But there are also some impressive combinations on this menu. For the matcha-obsessed, try the Matcha Green Serpent — matcha waffles, two scoops of ice cream, a drizzle of matcha condensed milk, Oreo cookies, and Oreo cookie crumbs.
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Verdura5555 North Seventh Street, #108
All the food at the alternative music-themed, plant-based Verdura is outstanding, but we’re major fans of its bubble waffle dessert. The Goth Waffle is named for its dark color; it contains activated charcoal. Brighter is the fresh fruit and addicting raspberry sauce that tops it. Even Ian Curtis could have smiled about this.
M T The Boba Bar10720 West Indian School Road, #79
The aesthetic at M T The Bob Bar is so clean and white it almost deceives you into thinking the bubble waffles might be just as plain. They are not. Get the bubble waffle with strawberry cheesecake ice cream, Fruity Pebbles, and a strawberry drizzle.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on March 25, 2019. It was updated on August 24, 2020. See what Valley restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and dine-in services — waffle shops included — in our Phoenix Restaurant Directory.