Pancakes Around The World: From Buttermilk To Okonomiyaki

Pannekoek in the Netherlands, scallion pancakes in China, the list goes on. Here’s a guide to some of our favorite pancakes around the world.
stack of pancakes with berries and syrup

Nothing says “It’s the weekend!” more than sleeping late and then enjoying a heaping stack of pancakes for breakfast. It may seem like pancakes — flat, round cakes made of batter or dough (and cooked in a pan) — are a uniquely American dish, but history says otherwise. Archaeological analysis suggests that the consumption of pancakes may go back to prehistoric times. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes, sweetened with honey. Long story short, pancakes are far from being an American invention. There is a wide variety of types of pancakes around the world, from scallion pancakes in China to ployes in Canada. Read on for our list of pancakes around the world and prepare to get hungry!

Mouth-Watering Pancakes Around The World

Buttermilk Pancakes — United States and Canada

These are the classic pancakes you’re used to making at home or ordering at a restaurant like IHOP. Big, fluffy, delicious and often topped with syrup and butter. The higher the stack, the better. Buttermilk pancakes are made with flour, buttermilk (of course), eggs, butter, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

Ployes — Canada (and Maine)

Ployes (or Acadian Buckwheat Pancakes) are flat pancake-like flatbreads made of buckwheat flour, regular flour, baking powder and water. Popular in northern Maine and parts of New Brunswick, Canada, ployes can be eaten with butter, fruit, a hearty stew or any other food you want.

Hotcakes — Mexico

Mexican hotcakes are somewhat similar to American pancakes in their shape and texture, but there’s one key ingredient that sets them apart: cornmeal. Hotcakes can be topped with cajeta — a sweet goat milk syrup — or jam. You’ll notice the word “hotcakes” isn’t Spanish. It’s not entirely clear why, but the Mexicans use this English word to refer to their version of pancakes.

Pannekoek — The Netherlands

A Dutch pancake is called a pannekoek (which literally means “pancake” in Dutch). They’re generally very thin and the size of an entire pan, and are made off flour, eggs and milk. They can be sweet or savory, perhaps filled with apples or bacon and cheese, or simply topped with stroop — a thick apple syrup — and powdered sugar.

Crêpes — East Asia, South America, Western Europe

When it comes to pancakes around the world that aren’t buttermilk, you’re probably most familiar with crêpes. These very thin pancakes originated in France, but are now commonly eaten across Western Europe, East Asia and parts of South America. Crêpes can be savory or sweet, with possible fillings including fruit, dulce de leche, eggs and chicken teriyaki.

Naleśniki — Poland

The Polish version of pancakes are thin and crêpe-like. They’re often filled with cottage cheese, jam, fruit or Nutella, and rolled or folded into an easy-to-eat treat.

Cōngyóubǐng (Scallion Pancakes) — China

Another international pancake you may have sampled are Chinese scallion pancakes. This deliciously oily, savory dough is made with minced scallions and pan-fried, which makes it both crispy and chewy.

Serabi — Indonesia

Sometimes called surabi or srabi, these Indonesian pancakes are made with coconut milk (or shredded coconut) and rice flour. They’re usually served as an afternoon snack, rather than for breakfast, with a thick coconut sugar syrup called Kinca. Sometimes juice from the leaf of a tropical pandan plant will be used to add flavor and a greenish color to the pancakes.

Lahoh — Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen

Lahoh is an African flatbread, popular in Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen. Thin and spongy, lahoh is often served for breakfast and can be sweet — served with sugar or honey — or savory, such as in a spicy yogurt dish called shafout. The main ingredients of lahoh are flour, cornmeal, water and yeast.

Okonomiyaki — Japan

Literally translating to “cooked how you like,” okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake. The most common version of the dish is made with flour, nagaimo (Japanese mountain yam), water, eggs, cabbage, and either pork belly or another type of meat. The pancake is pan-fried on both sides and topped with various condiments, like sauces and pickled ginger.

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