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A stack of American-style pancakes with berries and maple syrup
5 February, 20214 minute read

Around the world in 8 pancake toppings

In our opinion, February is all about one thing: pancakes. Thick, fluffy ones stacked up high. Crispy crepes rolled into warming parcels. Doused in syrup or slathered in butter. With fruit, without fruit (no judgement here). And it’s not just the sweet ones, either; we’re all for a plate of savoury. While we won’t be denying ourselves a traditional lemon and sugar combo this year, we can’t help let our culinary imagination wander to the far corners of the world for some pancake toppings inspired by world travel.

It's no secret that food and travel go hand-in-hand and while we can’t currently explore in person, why not take the opportunity to explore through taste? Read on for our top pick of pancake toppings from round the world…

Souffle Pancake, Japan

Wiggly, jiggly and souffle-like, pancakes in Japan are – perhaps unsurprisingly – rather sophisticated fare. Mixing meringue into the mixture is key to their light and airy texture – and height. These are not the paper-thin pancakes that we’re used to; in fact, they’re skyscrapers by pancake standards. In Tokyo, they’re often served with a mountain of whipped cream and healthy helping of fruit.

Japanese pancakes served with cream and vanilla ice cream on a white plate

Peking Duck Pancakes, China 

Chinese pancakes don’t need an introduction. You know the ones: soft, thin and steamed. You pinch them straight from the bamboo steamer with a pair of chopsticks, then load them up with delicious crispy duck, slather on the plum sauce and pile up the cucumber and spring onion. We’re getting hungry at the very thought. If you want to try the real thing, on our China tours, we savour a traditional Peking Duck dinner.

Peking duck with cucumber and spring onions wrapped in thin pancakes

Crepe Suzette, France

Crepe Suzette is one of those iconic retro dishes that is so famous, you almost forget they originate in France. Quite simply, they’re crepes swimming in a caramalised orange sauce with a healthy dose of liqueur. While you probably wouldn’t serve these for breakfast, they make for a very welcome dinner party dessert.

Crepes drizzled with syrup, served on a white plate

Arepas, South America

Arepas are eaten across South America but originate in the area that makes up modern day Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. They’re savoury circular corncakes made from fresh cornmeal - sometimes made plain, sometimes with cheese inside. They’re pretty versatile and can be served for breakfast or as a side dish with a spread of butter on top, or for lunch with beef and vegetables inside. In fact, arepas are so good, they've become an integral part of the Colombian national dish, Bandeja Paisa.

Three arepas (Colombian pancakes) served with a small dish of butter

Blinis, Russia

Blini are the miniature variety of pancake favoured in Russia. In fact, they’re small enough to consume in just one bite, so they’re often served as canapes. Traditional versions are topped with sour cream, fresh dill and caviar, smoked salmon, or herrings, but you can create other savoury or even sweet versions. Fruit, jam, and honey are also popular - vodka optional.

A selection of blinis (Russian pancakes) displayed on a marble surface

Pancake Soup, Germany

Fried or steamed. Thin or thick. Sweet or savoury. All pancakes are equal in our eyes. But in a soup? It’s a thing in Germany. German pancake soup (Flädlesuppe) is a warming broth typically made from beef, chives and sauted vegetables. Oh, and rolled up strips of crepe, which act as the ‘noodles’. It’s a delicious, comforting staple during the long German winters. 

Frittatensuppe (pancake soup) served in a white dish

Dosas, India

When you think of Indian food, pancakes aren’t the first thing that spring to mind. But in a country as diverse as India, it’s hardly surprising that they have their own take on the flat favourite – and if you like your pancake with a kick, you’re in for a treat with the Indian dosa. Dosas are made from flattened rice and are often served with flavourful chutneys and filled with spiced vegetables such as aloo masala. Although they originate in southern India – which we explore thoroughly on our Southern India – Boulevards and Backwaters tour – they are readily made and eaten across the county, so you’re likely to get a taste on any of our India holidays.

Masala dosa - Indian breakfast crepes with spicy potato filling - served on a green plate

American Pancakes

Pancakes are an American staple and dedicated pancake houses are commonplace from New York to California, so you’re bound to get your fill on our selection of USA tours. In fact, rumour has it that Thomas Jefferson enjoyed them so much, he had a recipe sent to his hometown from the White House. Not a nation known to be understated, American pancakes are thick and fluffy and are served by the dozen. They’re stacked up tall and often doused in butter and topped with blueberries and icing sugar or bacon and syrup. The choices are endless.

A stack of pancakes with maple syrup served with blueberries and strawberries

Have we inspired you to take your pancakes to a new level this year? We’d love to see your creations – don’t forget to share a photo with us on Facebook.

Image of blog author Natalie Carmen

From the coffee-clad highlands of Colombia to getting up-close-and-personal with elephants in Thailand and the exploring the sprawling winelands of South Africa, Natalie is a wannabe-adventurer and finds it hard to pick favourites when it comes to travel destinations. She has a weakness for wildlife and good wine, so her escapades are usually in pursuit of one or the other. As well as writing for The Scenic Route, Natalie also manages our social media channels. Be sure to follow Titan on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news.

Natalie | About the author

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