By Amanda Little
Pancakes are a fluffy, golden, sweet breakfast staple loved across the U.S. It's easy to find them in any diner, but if you venture across the world, you'll find pancakes take on different forms with different toppings, while each one is better than the last. Check out just some of the awesome pancake alternatives, from France to Malaysia!
Ireland • Boxty
The thin potato pancake found throughout Ireland is called boxty, and it makes for a wonderful breakfast dish. Made up of finely grated raw potato, mashed potato, eggs, buttermilk, flour and baking soda, boxty - sometimes called poundy - had become an increasingly popular food for tourists and locals alike. Some places will serve it plain, while others offer it up with a side of veggies, and still more will wrap meat inside it. Boxty can be pan fried to make a pancake, boiled to make dumplings, or baked to make a loaf, and found in all of these forms in grocery stores and restaurants.
Austria • Kaiserschmarrn
These pancakes are ripped to pieces, and they’re best that way. Thick, custard-like, and caramelized after being fried in butter, kaiserschamrrn was supposedly first served to Emperor Franz Joseph, and was named after him because of his love for the dish. Kaiserschmarrn can be served with an assortment of toppings like raisins, preserved fruit, nuts, apples and other naturally sweet ingredients. Enjoy these bite-sized pieces for breakfast!
China • Cong You Bing
While there are many different kinds of bing, the most notable is cong you bing, or scallion pancake. These pancakes aren’t made with batter, but with dough. Each one is rolled out and pan fried to make a wonderfully chewy, flaky breakfast. Often served with a soy dipping sauce, they go well with other Chinese breakfast foods like congee, but make a good breakfast on their own.
Denmark • Aebleskiver
The adorable aebleskiver look more like doughnuts than pancakes, but in Denmark, they’re the pancake of choice. These puffy delights are shaped like small balls because of the special frying pan they’re prepared in, and they make excellent street food. They’re enjoyed with a dusting of powdered sugar or dipped in jam, and are most often served around Christmas. The best thing to wash them down with is a glass of milled wine!
Malaysia • Apam Balik
Walk through street vendors in the early morning to get a taste of these lovely peanut-stuffed pancakes. These rice flour pancakes come in thick and thin versions, and are pan fried and then folded over with ground roasted peanuts tucked neatly inside, but other fillings like corn, bananas, sweetened dried coconut, and sugar are all available. It’s easy to pick out this dish from the rest, because they’re usually served standing up!
France • Crepes
This thin pancake has quickly spread in popularity around the world, but crepes originate in France. The best part about a crepe is its versatility, because it can be filled with almost endless sweet or savory toppings. Enjoy a hearty buckwheat crepe with ham, cheese, spinach and more inside, or a sweet crepe stuffed with sugar, lemon, berries, melted chocolate or nutella. There are even different flavors of crepe available to make combinations nearly endless.
Greece • Tiganites
An unusual ingredient to these ancient pancakes is olive oil, giving Greek tiganites a unique flavor. This tasty breakfast recipe dates all the way back to the 6th century, but they’re still popular today! Enjoy toppings like honey, cinnamon, fruit, nuts, or even soft goat cheese. There is even an entire festival surrounding this humble breakfast food held on the island of Corfu.
Australia • Pikelets
Pancakes in Australia aren’t really eaten for breakfast. Pikelets are usually reserved as a snack, or served up with tea. They’re so readily available at any time of day that they can be found in grocery stores. They can be enjoyed cold, but they’re best served warm, with toppings like jam and whipped cream.
Germany • Pfannkuchen
While they’re thicker than the French crepe, the German pfannkuchen is similarly made and eaten. The large and thin pancake is usually topped with sugar before being rolled up and eaten, but other fillings like apples and cheese are also a favorite. Unlike many pancakes though, pfannkuchen are more often eaten for lunch or dinner.
Photo by Instagram user @themukisa11
Uganda • Kabalagala
Enjoy the sweet banana pancakes of Uganda. Kabalagala, called kabs for short, are made with mashed ndizi bananas and cassava flour, and then deep fried. While kabalagala is usually eaten as dessert or a snack, the favorite banana rounds are enjoyed any time of day. Occasionally, the pancake is made with plantains, when ndizi bananas are unavailable.
Netherlands • Poffertjes
Indulge in the fluffy little pancakes served alongside the chocolate sprinkles and heavily buttered bread. These tasty treats are usually served as street food and cooked in a special pan, and they’re the easiest to find in the winter. Top them with butter and powdered sugar, or syrup, whipped cream, and strawberries. There is no wrong way to enjoy spongy poffertjes.
Japan • Okonomiyaki
The main ingredient for this savory pancake is cabbage, but can be mixed in with almost any other ingredient you can get to stick together. Okonomiyaki translates simply to “what you like” and “grill,” meaning every one is different! Add in eggs, meat, seafood, wasabi, noodles, rice, plum sauce, and so much more. Then of course, top it with a drizzle of your favorite sauce. Sit down to breakfast with your everything pancake, and maybe have some rolled omelette on the side.
India • Dosa
While the dosa in India look remarkably like French crepes, the taste is completely different. Dosa is made with fermented batter of rice and black gram or lentils. The pancake is thin and very delicate, but contains wonderful fillings like cheese, spices potatoes, or cooked veggies. This breakfast is filling and flavorful, so be sure to savor your savory breakfast meal.