Good news: For all those who need an excuse when stuffing their face with plate after plate of round, griddle-based cakes, Pancake Day is finally here. Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, is the time to feast before fasting for Lent.
Or purely a celebration of the humble pancake enjoyed by people all over the world. Nader Kaddour looks at the international diversity in pancakes, which is mouth-wateringly awesome. Celebrate Pancake Day properly this year with these delicious creations from around the globe, and learn where to eat them in London.
Reporter: Nader Kaddour
Sub-editor: Edward Lauder
- Pancakes/Flapjacks USA/Canada
Chocolate chip, bananas and peanut butter, blueberry, or bathed in butter and maple syrup, if you can imagine it, it probably exists as a pancake. Found in diners and on breakfast tables all over North America, the all-American flapjack stack is beloved on its own, or with a side of crispy bacon. If you’ve never had pancakes for dinner, it’s a must-try homage to all-day breakfast places across America.
- Crêpes France
Crêpes, the classic French take on pancakes, are known worldwide and popular throughout Europe and beyond. While often eaten with sweet fillings, crêpes work equally well as a savory dish, with your favorite cheese and cured meats.
Scrumptious classics include sweet banana and Nutella crepes or savoury ham and cheese. For authentic french crepes (made by real frenchies!), Crêpes à la carte at the Camden Lock Market is hard to beat.
- Atayef Egypt/Levant/Arab World
Indulgent ,fragrant, rich and satisfying, Atayef (commonly spelled ‘qatayef’ or ‘katayef’), are an Arabic pancake eaten year-round as a dessert, but most commonly during the month of Ramadan.
Wrapped with fresh cream and nuts, or baked with cheese and drizzled with orange blossom-infused syrup, atayef are best enjoyed after a meal alongside hot mint tea or rich Arabic coffee. I remember making these little treats with my mom growing up. You should enjoy some homemade atayef too.
- Okonomiyaki Japan
This thing is a beast. Stuffed with anything and everything imaginable, smothered in sauce, Okonomiyaki could only come from Japan. A monster only for those concerned with pushing the limits of pancake construction and consumption.
- Cachapas Colombia/Venezuela
Corn pancakes from South America, the cachapa is commonly served as fast food with melted cheese, pork or other local ingredients. Best served hot and fresh, cachapas are perfect served alongside a cold beer.
- Injera Ethiopia/Eretria
Savory injera has a spongy texture and a slightly sour taste similar to sourdough. The light, spongy bread is perfect for scooping up hearty East-African stews typically served with the bread, with many delicious meaty and vegetarian options sure to please everyone. Plates are usually shared, which makes injera and Ethiopian/Eritrean food a truly social experience. Just don’t be shy about eating with your hands!
Injera can be challenging to make, but not to fear, there is great Eritrean food in London. Be sure to take some friends.
6Photo by Lelaw Wondimu, via Wikimedia Commons.
- Bánh xèo Vietnam
Never mind the pronunciation Bánh xèo (bAn sEy-oh) is a fantastically satisfying savoury pancake dish from Vietnam. Crispy on the outside, stuffed with shrimp, pork, veggies and herbs, and served wrapped in a lettuce leaf alongside a rich dipping sauce, this pancake is a meal and an experience. Like many Vietnamese foods, it’s simultaneously fresh and hearty, as well as fun to eat.
Try making them yourself with this Bánh xèo recipe, or at your favorite Vietnamese restaurant. If you’re still feeling self-conscious about the pronunciation, here’s a helpful Vietnamese food pronunciation guide for some Viet favorites.