Cream wafers are a peculiar snack: they’re a little more casual than cake but more refined than a bag of chips; more child-friendly than soda crackers but more grown-up than a chocolate-chip cookie; and they’re great enjoyed both plain or as a garnish for other desserts.

Likely rooted in Viennese Neapolitan Wafers, cream wafers are comprised of alternating layers of crisp, waffle-patterned wafers and a sweet filling, among the possibilities of which chocolate is a popular variant. With multiple brands both local and imported available at the grocery store, which package is the best for stocking up on?
Note: for ease of reference, we denote individual units of the multi-layered cream wafers as “fingers”.

Bissin Cocoa Wafers

Bissin is as light and delicate as you can get. PHP 44.25 / 100g

Bissin contains light brown fingers that are narrow yet relatively tall, with four pairs of layers of wafer and cream in each one. It’s the most delicate of the lot, dissolving quick at the lightest tap of your teeth and leaving behind the lightest crackliness before melting in the mouth. Sadly it’s weak on the chocolate, with but a thin layer of cream that tastes more heavily of fake vanilla; it complements the malty-tasting wafers, but lacks the cocoa that would justify its namesake.

Crispness: 3/5 | Cream-to-Wafer Balance: 3/5 | Chocolatiness: 1/5

Etali Chocolate Flavoured Crispy Cream Wafers

Etali’s, on the other hand, is for those who like their wafers CRUNCHY. PHP 60.75 / 175g

Etali’s comes longer, wider, but slightly flatter, with four thin white wafer layers that sandwich the chocolate cream in between. Though the individual wafer layers and the resulting layered fingers are flatter, you get the best crunch from this Malaysian brand. The cream also comes more generous; and while it’s chocolatey in a fake, palm oil-laden compound chocolate way, it at least offers a decent amount of bitterness we appreciated, followed by a berry-like note that goes well with the cocoa.

Crispness: 5/5 | Cream-to-Wafer Balance: 4/5 | Chocolatiness: 3/5

Goya Quadros (Chocolate)

Goya’s is also on the crunchy side, but offers more lightness. PHP 26 / 60g

The local chocolate brand goes for wafers of a long, wide form, sandwiching three layers of thick chocolate cream in between four layers of thin wafers . Just a touch lighter than Etali’s, you get a good crunch that makes a solid impact at the onset, but feels light on the teeth as you carry on chewing. While its filling still seems to be of the compound chocolate sort, it carries a deep, darkish tune that could use some salt to bring out the cocoa, but satisfies our inner adult nevertheless. It also comes at a just-right amount relative to the wafers that the resulting bite is decadent without being cloying.

Crispness: 4.5/5 | Cream-to-Wafer Balance: 5/5 | Chocolatiness: 4/5

Loacker Cremkakao

Loacker’s wafers come light, too, but the cream within comes potent and thick. | PHP 33 / 45g

Each finger of Italian brand Loacker’s take are a tad shorter and more narrow, around the size of the author’s thumb. With only three layers per piece, it’s thinner and crisper than the other brands on the list, with wafers that are airy and delicate. But it’s the inside that counts, and as you crunch through it reveals its true decadent character, with a filling that comes thin but has thick, dense (almost chocolate paste-like) consistency and deep, dark chocolate flavor. It can feel slightly acidic, and a slight coconut-y aftertaste emerges at the end (which polarizes our team), but it’s by far the most chocolate-packed of the bunch. Heck, Loacker can feel too rich as a snack—keep a glass of water handy when consuming this one—but it’s great savored slowly, as a dessert.

Crispness: 4.5/5 | Cream-to-Wafer Balance: 4/5 | Chocolatiness: 4.5/5

Nissin Wafer (Choco)

Nissin’s takes us back to our childhood—surely it’s not just us? | PHP 52.75 / pack of 11, 22g each

Conveniently packaged in two’s, Nissin’s version (which comes short and especially wide) was a staple for many of us on the team growing up. Objectively speaking, there’s much room for improvement on this take: its  wafers, though tasty with its slight notes of caramelized sugar and crisp as you open the pack, go stale fast upon being exposed to air (and feel like cheap, chewy cake cones once they do). Its filling comes especially thin, barely covering the entire surface of the wafer and hardly tasting of chocolate. But nostalgia is a powerful thing, and we found ourselves enjoying each and every bite—if only for the memories it brings of the carefree recesses of our youth.

Crispness: 2/5 | Cream-to-Wafer Balance: 2/5 | Chocolatiness: 1/5 (but we love it anyway)

Rebisco Wafer Time Rich Cream (Chocolate)

You get a more complex sensation from Wafer Time’s use of two kinds of wafer. | PHP 61.50 / pack of 10, 27g each

Rebisco Wafer Time goes for an untraditional take that combines two kinds of wafers in each finger: plain, softer wafers on the finger’s exterior, and crispier chocolate-tinged wafers in the inner layers that sandwich the chocolate filling. It sounds gimmicky on paper, but a bite reveals it to be more than a novel schtick as you get a wonderful synthesis of its light, delicate outer surface and the more solid, satisfying crunch of the inner wafers. The said filling falls short on the chocolate, but brings forward a milky, malty profile (complete with a touch of salt) that we can’t get enough of.

Crispness: 4/5 | Cream-to-Wafer Balance: 5/5 | Chocolatiness: 3.5/5

The Verdict: Loacker

In spite of the coconut-y hint it comes with, Loacker’s great delivery of dark, cocoa-rich chocolate makes it the wafer to beat. Coming very close is Goya, whose wafers stand out with its balance of crispness and lightness and more or less dark-ish profile (not to mention its relative affordability). Rebisco Wafer Time, though not nearly as chocolatey as the previous two, offers a unique texture that makes it a standout snack. And if you’re after a lighter, more delicate treat, go for Bissin’s featherweight wafers.

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