Do you want to know what a truly international house of pancakes looks like? It doesn’t limit itself to flapjacks, that’s for sure. No, it lives up to its name by taking a spring breaker’s tour through Europe, picking up Irish boxty and French socca as souvenirs. But it doesn’t stop there—it gains a worldly air by spending a semester in Asia, learning the ways of Korean jeon, Japanese okonomiyaki, and Chinese bing. Feeling a little homesick, it brings it back to the States, spending the weekends seeking out under-the-radar specialties like Rhode Island’s johnnycakes and the German-American Dutch baby. That, my friends, is what a well-traveled, fully globalized house of pancakes is.
In an ideal world, the 24/7 breakfast chain in my neighborhood would serve all of the above pancakes in addition to their menu of bacon ‘n eggs combo meals. Until then, here are 13 recipes that make it possible to travel across continents from the comfort of your kitchen, one pancake at a time.
Before we go hopping around the world, let’s start with the fundamentals. Everyone should learn how to make basic pancakes—your weekend mornings will be all the better for it. Get our Basic Pancakes recipe.
Dutch baby pancakes are actually a descendant of Germany’s pfannkuchen—legend has it that their name came about through a mangling of the word “Deutsch.” Wide and thin, they resemble a big popover, puffing up in the oven as they bake inside the skillet. Get our Dutch Baby Pancake recipe.
3. Johnny Cakes
Johnnycakes are a dense, cornmeal pancake that take incredibly well to a smothering of butter and syrup. Although they were a staple food during colonial times up and down the Atlantic coast and across the Caribbean, nowadays, they’re known as a specialty in Rhode Island. Get the Johnny Cakes recipe.
Think of these as deconstructed fruit pancakes put through the shredder. Hailing from Austria, Kaiserschmarrn involve cooking a pancake the usual way, then tearing it to pieces and serving it with fruit and/or preserves. Get the Kaiserschmarrn recipe.
These famed Russian pancakes (also spelled bliny) are a great topped with sour cream and caviar, for sure, but they can do so much more. Try them with farmer’s cheese, honey, or preserves. Get the Blini recipe.
Latkes are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, but they do something for potatoes that makes them craveable year round. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, they’re pretty much the ideal of what any potato should be. Get our Latkes recipe.
In southern France these pancakes are known as socca. In Italy, they’re called farinata. Either way, they’re plain delicious. Made from chickpea flour, they have an intense earthiness that tastes best straight from the griddle. Get our Socca recipe.
Korea actually has a pancake repertoire that runs deep, encompassing the both the sweet and the savory. But the greatest Korean pancake of them all might just be haemul pajeon, a scallion and seafood pancake that can include shrimp, scallops, or squid. It doesn’t embrace the phrase “flat as a pancake.” Rather it lets its chunky fillings take it into the third dimension. Get the Korean Seafood and Green Onion Pancakes (Haemul Pajeon) recipe.
Savory Japanese okonomiyaki literally translates to “as you like it”—you can throw in toppings as you please. If you ever wanted an excuse to eat pancakes for dinner, this is it. Get the Okonomiyaki recipe.
Scallion pancakes are the most famous form of bing—a general Chinese term for cakes made from wheat. The best ones are rolled into a coil and then flattened out, resulting in flaky layers that just beg to be torn apart. Get the Scallion Pancakes recipe.
Kanom krok lure you in with their beautifully browned, crispy exterior. But it’s the pudding-like insides made with coconut cream and rice flour that take you to creamy, custardy heaven. Get the Coconut Rice Custard Pancakes (Khanom Krok) recipe.
Arepas, the South American cornmeal pancakes, can be a vehicle for numerous fillings and mix ins. But ultimately it’s about the cake itself: crackly on the outside, slightly airy on the inside, and rich with corn flavor throughout. Get the Shredded Beef and Black Bean Arepas recipe.
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