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The Pancakes of the World

14 March 2019

This blog may be a week late, but it's never too late for Pancakes! Last week was Shrove Tuesday, and many of us tucked into our favourite kind of pancake. Whether your preference see you whip up some American buttermilk pancakes or an elegant French Crêpe, there are few desserts or puddings as enduring and as simply compelling as a pancake in whatever form it chooses.

So in honour of Shrove Tuesday or pancake day, we've whipped up some words, poured them into a frying pan, shimmied the mixture into a blog shape, attempted some poorly executed flips, and served this resulting blog onto your digital plates, with a topping of delicious pictures. Bon appetite!


The British Pancake

Go on then, let's kick our list of with Mr Traditional over here, the British pancake! I can recall coming home from school to the smell of a neatly cooking pancake, gently sizzling on the hob, filling the air with that homely smell of your regular flour, eggs and milk. Then, for the part that sparks debate: the topping. I'm a conservative pancake eater myself, there's nothing that fits a pancake better than good ol' lemon and sugar, and I won't have it any other way. I have granulated sugar as well, none of this caster nonsense. But to each their own, and this superb pancake can be had with Nutella, bananas, strawberries or anything really, the choice is yours!


The French Crêpe

Just over the channel, in the arrondissements of Paris, the promenades of the Côte d'Azur and in the foothills of Mont Blanc, the French have come up with one of the tastiest pancakes on the market. Not dissimilar to the British iteration, the Crêpe is more regularly flipped over into a handy wrap in contrast to the flat British pancake, and can often be eaten with a savoury filling such as cheese or ham. The actual recipe also differs slightly, with the small addition of sugar adding another level to the humble flat pancake. If you ever find yourself wandering a city in France, sampling a Crêpe is an absolute must.


The Eastern European Potato Pancake

A rogue entry perhaps, but one which deserves its place on our list. The potato pancake, originating in such places as Slovakia and the Czech Republic is a savoury number made of, well, potatoes. Fried in oil, the potato pancake is made up of a crunchy, crispy outward layer with a soft centre and is regularly regarded as a snack on the go. Combined with any variety of egg-based dip, this is one to munch down on during your walks around the Christmas markets of Bratislava or Prague, battling off the cold with some satisfying food.


The Japanese Okonomiyaki

A savoury pancake from the other side of the globe, the Okonomiyaki is a Japanese offering made up of a variety of ingredients but with a common base of flour and egg. Handily, the word okonomiyaki means 'How you like', which also forms part of the recipe, since you can throw pretty much anything you want into an okonomiyaki as long as you cook it like a pancake. Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, various meats, just go crazy with it! Layer it with some choice toppings, and you have yourself an okonomiyaki.


The Somlian Anjero

Down in the coastal nation of Somalia, the anjero is the pancake king. Made with sourdough, the light creations can be both savoury or sweet, combined with anything from meat stews to sugar and lemon. They're said to be akin to crumpets. Anjeros can also be left to ferment, normally for savoury dishes, leaving a little bit more bite to the taste. They can be a snack, a side order or a full-blown meal - this versatile pancake is one to remember for any occasion.


The American Pancake

The American classic, this pancake appears in adverts and on television, loaded into alluring piles on plates and drooling with syrup or chocolate or strawberries. It's an American institution by now, and is actually commonly eaten for breakfast, commonly with toast or bacon, or even eggs. The batter that goes into each one is similar to the British pancake with the noticeable difference being the raising agent which gives it that fluffy, plump texture. They're also given the names hotcakes or flapjacks and can be found in diners across all 52 states.


The Chinese Cong You Bing Pancake

Another savoury pancake, the Chinese Cong You Bing is made from dough primarily, and begs the question of whether it can actually be called a pancake at all. Those who have tried cong you bing often describe its flavour as chewy with crisp edges and it is often eaten as a snack or street food. Fillings can be anything really, with the pancake folded over vegetables or meat.