Tasty waffles, pancakes served up at CC's in Chatan, Okinawa
“Why, American people!!??”
Much like Atsugiri Jason’s sentiments about Japanese people, I found myself questioning Americans and their desire to mix fried chicken with waffles - a breakfast delight.
It’s mind boggling to see a fried main dish with a dessert, and if you ask me, whoever came up with the combo must have been either quite open minded about bending the food rules or just very indecisive.
Whatever the case is, CC’s Chicken Waffle has taken the duo and made it their signature dish.
Not only has the establishment, located just five minutes from Kadena Air Base, made it their signature dish, but the taste blew my mind.
Unlike the typical Belgian waffles I find at convenience stores, the waffle I had at CC’s was very soft and fluffy with a subtle sweetness. After topping it with crispy fried chicken and syrup, the combo hit the sweet spot in my taste buds. The salty flavor of the chicken and the sweetness of the waffle with the aide of the smooth syrup made perfect sense.
“The chicken waffle is obviously the most popular item,” said Cody Daggett, the owner of this restaurant as he explained the reasons why the food tastes so good.
“Everything is homemade here. We cook chicken after taking orders, so it takes a little longer to make. And I adjusted the recipe to make the fried chicken crispier.”
One bite was all I needed to taste the freshness of the chicken that Daggett talked about. It was a textbook example of being “crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.” Gripped by the perfect balance of salty-sweet and crispy-soft, I could not stop eating.
Then there was the syrup.
“The biggest thing people are surprised by liking here - that’s our homemade syrup. We have a special recipe for that, but the ingredients are not secret ingredients. It’s about being able to make them in the right order; being able to see when it’s ready,” said the owner. The syrup tasted sweet and had the color of gravy, but with a much lighter and delicate feeling. Some customers like the syrup so much, they ask to purchase it as take-out. It’s the kind of taste that you would like to try with other dishes.
When Daggett said that everything was homemade at his place, he literally meant “everything”, because it’s not just the food that is homemade there. About 6 years ago that the restaurant owner moved to Okinawa, the hometown of his wife, from San Francisco. After working at a local restaurant for four and a half years, he launched this place from scratch.
“I worked in restaurants since I was 14. After 21 years, I was planning my own restaurant. I was trying to think of what I could make that would appeal to the taste of both Americans and the local community,” said Daggett explaining how he started his restaurant.
One day he saw people eating pancakes at a restaurant, and it gave him the idea that waffles would be something that Americans and Japanese would like. Daggett spent the next couple of months creating his own menu and recipes. He even made tables, walls, and a bar on his own.
“This is just an empty box when I started,” said Daggett.
The restaurant has a cozy feel, and the fact that it is handmade likely has a lot to do with the warm atmosphere.
CC’s also makes homemade macaroni and cheese or gumbo to go along with the chicken.
Between the food and the mood, or maybe a friendship with the owner, CC’s keeps the people coming back.
So, in the case of the chicken waffle ... question asked ... and question answered. Nonetheless, the combo is still a surprise to me.