We love them with lemon and sugar; or a smear of Nutella. We lap them up with bananas, or golden syrup, or ice cream, or all three. I can only be talking about one thing, and that’s right, I’m talking about the humble pancake.
Flat. Round. Simple. Tasty. There can’t be that many way to reinvent the pancake, can there? Bring your frying pans this way, people, I’m about to take you on Pancake Day tour of batter-powered goodness, as we wade through a world of pancakes.
The world's tiniest pancake chef. | Original photo by jonathanb1989
Whatever you thought you knew about pancakes, scrub it. Whatever you thought you liked about pancakes, scoff it. Whatever you thought was your grandmother’s secret recipe for making the perfect pancake, scrap it. Because, coming up is a round up of pancakealicious pancakes, that will toss your perceptions of pancakes into the air.
A World of Pancakes!
Grab your favourite condiments, pick up a plate, and stack yourself a pile of pancakes from all over the world! But wait! It’s rude to eat and run, so before you carry on with your day, consider flipping a comment below, and let me know how much you enjoyed today’s post.
Visit most of Eastern Europe and you’ll be trading pancake batter for the humble spud, as you tuck into a feast of potato pancakes. Jewish people love them as latkes, with a spoonful of spiced apple sauce. The people of Poland enjoy them as placki ziemniaczane, and top them with a ladle of ghoulash, or a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon. The beautiful people of Belarus love potato pancakes so much, they made their draniki their national dish and serve them up with a dollop of sour cream.
Latkes are the perfect snack, and popular around the world! | Photo by kthread
German pancakes are one of those beautiful duel-purpose foodstuffs, whereby not only do they taste good, but they also serve as a receptacle for the sugary (or savoury) goodness that goes on top!
Do you think of pancakes as a dumpy stack of stodgy celebration? You’re thinking of the all-American pancake, best served with crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Don’t expect any thin, frilly show-offs here: these discs are thick enough to hold the sturdiest of toppings, and if you’re game enough to take on an entire stack, hit up your local diner for an iconic breakfast treat.
The humble crêpe is the most dainty pancake you’re ever likely to come across; it’s thinner than a nun’s slip, and often found topped with a dusting of sugar and strawberries. The famous Mille crêpe is an ode to that most famous of French pancakes; taking it to a new level by stacking it higher and higher and higher, until slicing it up into wedges. Crêpes disguised as cake. Fantastique!
Say it with me — oko-nom-i-yak-i. I know, it’s a mouthful just saying the name of these tasty rounds. They’re layered with tasty goodness and will keep you fuelled for the entire day. Okonomi comes from the Japanese for “to one’s liking”, so, in keeping with the mantra of all good pancakes: you make it what you want. Cheese and wasabi? Done. Seafood and fresh veggies? Have it your way! Finish it off with lashing of mayonnaise, dried seaweed, and fish flakes. If you’re in a specialist okonomiyaki restaurant, you’ll be snacking straight from the griddle!
Japan's favourite pancake, the Okonomiyaki is commonly found in the Kansai or Hiroshima regions of Japan | Photo by Yakinik
Ethiopia’s tasty injera could be mistaken for a flatbread, but we can see its inner-pancake trying to break out. Made from a local cereal grain called teff, these deep brown rounds provide the perfect base for some tasty stews and salads, which are usually consumed, before the plate-like injera, that has sat patiently soaking up the flavours, is eaten.
These Vietnamese pancakes are bursting with flavour from the inside out, and should definitely form a large part of your dining experience in Southeast Asia! Known as Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes, this is fast food with a kick. The pancakes are flavoured with turmeric and coconut milk, and traditionally filled with pork, shrimp, onions, mung beans, and bean sprouts. Grab your bánh xèo with a piece of lettuce, dunk it in a nuoc cham (mixed fish sauce) dipping sauce and devour! For a smaller variety, look out for the banh khoai.
No doubt you’re well-versed with these tasty treats! That’s right; those small, pale, and wafer thin pancakes that play host to a thin smear of hoi sin sauce, a few strands of cucumber and spring onion and a fork full of Peking duck, before being wrapped up for a one-way ticket to Hungerville. This fodder has been ejoyed in China since the 14th century, and while your local Chinese restaurant indubitably serves a sterling replica, there is simply nowhere like Beijing to sample the real deal.
Over to Indonesia and get stuck into the plump serabi variety of rice pancakes that are enjoyed by over 200 million Indonesians. The serabi sellers are loved by travellers the world over, as they peddle their wares throughout the island nation. Drowning in kinca (sugar) syrup and cocunut milk, these are a sweet treat any time of day.
South India’s dosa’s are as revered as its temples, and you can spot these pancakes from a mile away. Not least because they are huge, often folded into quarters, a cone, or rolled into a tunnel of hunger. The boastful dosa is usually served up with sambar and chutneys, and comes available in several varieties, including the popular masala dosa, stuffed with spiced potatoes.
Dose up on South Indian dosa's, the perfect start to the day | Photo by Ewan-M
Eaten as a starter, or simply as a side with drinks, Korea’s jeon pancakes take on that wonderful Asian approach to pancakes, whereby anything goes for the topping. Meat, vegetables, seafood, you name it — it goes with a jeon! Another curious fact, is that many people prefer to make their jeon from a packet mix, as appose to whipping up their own batter. What’s your stance?
Malaysia’s bite-sized pancakes are a sneaky treat, but catch them when you can — this is street-food on the fly. People know where the hawker will be, on what day, at what time — it’s your job to find out! If you do get lucky, you’ll be feasting on saucer-sized pancakes topped with crushed nuts, bananas and often sweetcorn. The most famous place to catch an apom chooi, is Penang’s Burma Road.