I’ve definitely written about chicken and waffles before (like PDX’s Screen Door, oh my) and Houston certainly isn’t a stranger to this lovely pair. Recently I tried LES BA’GET, a Vietnamese cafe that waffles between charming gray house and neat, cozy restaurant.
The space is a far cry from our favorite sketchy pho diners with the plastic green chopsticks. Think rich, wooden walls and cute red chairs. Sriracha bottles adorning the counter. And what caught my eye on the menu was an exotic fusion of Vietnamese and American Southern–a pandan waffle crowned with twin fish sauce-marinated fried chicken breasts.
Pandan leaves are often used in Southeast Asian cooking. They’re chock full of chlorophyll, which tinted LES BA’GET’s waffle a jovial shade of St. Patrick’s Day green. They mellowed the waffle’s sweetness with a slightly earthy flavor. This dish also achieved the balance of savory and sweet as well as soft and crispy–as I ate, I dunked pillowy waffle wedges into the pitcher of green tea syrup (had a robust, leafy punch) and then dug my hands into the crispy birds.
It wasn’t the kind of meal where I could indulge in both things at the same time, since the chicken breasts were outlined with bones. But that crackly skin with the fish sauce’s tang, steam rising from the meat–oh, that sold me. Props to LES BA’GET for its daring approach to a Southern brunch classic.