In honor of Pancake Tuesday, we asked our travel blogging friends to tell us: where are the best pancakes around the world? Don't read on an empty stomach!
In the summer of 2010, we embarked on a 2 week road trip to Eastern Canada. I was determined spend less than $1,000, which meant a lot of camping. I came up with a plan to prep the majority of our food in advance, freezing it Ziploc bags and finalizing the cooking at the campground. Sounds like a great plan, right?
Everyday we had whole wheat caramelized banana pancakes for breakfast. I would take the frozen batter out of the cooler to thaw at night and, in the morning, I simply had to snip the edge of the bag and squeeze the pancake batter into the waiting hot pan. I thought (and still think!) they were delicious but the novelty soon wore off for Ryan who even today will shudder if they're on the menu more than once in a trip. Happily, his hesitation doesn't apply to other pancakes and their culinary brethren around the world!
Pancakes are a hot, hearty meal that's both comforting and familiar and yet curiously exotic no matter where you go. And they're always affordable! I asked my travelling friends to share their favourite pancake spots around the world and they didn't disappoint. Stay tuned for an amazing recipe at the end - and Happy Pancake Day!
In Amsterdam or Rotterdam you can take the pancake-lovers dream: a 75 minute boat cruise, eating as many pancakes as you can fit in. By pancakes, we mean the Dutch Pannenkoeken, larger and flatter then the typical American hotcake, but slightly thicker then a crepe. Traditionally eaten with treacle (sugar beet syrup), you can also incorporate apples, raisins, bacon, and cheese.
This pancake buffet on a boat offers a range of toppings from savoury to sweet, but you’ll find it hard to try them all since the pancakes are so filling. Tip: cut the pancakes in half and try different toppings on each half.
If you are a big pancake eater then at less then 19 euros for a cruise and as much as you can eat, I find this restaurant boat fabulous value!
Note from Vanessa: Oh, I could get my 19 euros worth! Challenge accepted!
Erin blogs at Travels With Bender
Hof Van Holland Cafe, Edam, Holland.
The Nook Creperie, Pembroke, Ontario.
The Nook Creperie, a Parisian French Crepe Restaurant in Pembroke Ontario, is one of those surprise finds you discover when you least expect it. This custom crepe was filled with goat cheese and topped with a homemade white-wine, herbs-de-Provence vinaigrette and crunchy honey-roasted walnuts.
At $14.99, it was totally worth the splurge because the Chef happily made it gluten free and dairy free specifically for me.
This sweet crepe, called the Fandango ($9.99) is filled with both dark and milk Lindt chocolate and crunchy pecans. Drizzled with caramel, chocolate sauce and served ą la mode it's a pretty decadent dessert to end a meal.
Great value as they are perfectly sized for sharing for 2 and freshly made to order.
Note from Vanessa: This is just a few hours from my house! Time for a roadtrip.
Mary blogs at the Calculated Traveller
Marriner's Restaurant, Camden, Maine.
Want to really get to know a place when you're traveling? Head to the local breakfast joint at 6am on a week day. Our visit to Marriner's Restaurant in Camden, Maine, brought us in bright and early on a Wednesday morning to fuel up prior to an all day kayaking trip.
Filling ourselves with local blueberry everything, we feasted on fluffy buttermilk pancakes packed full of sweet, juicy Maine blueberries. The food was served at diner speed (fast) and the service was no nonsense friendly. Almost five years later, the pancakes are still unforgettable.
Value? For $4.99, you can't beat this breakfast!
Note from Vanessa: I LOVE Maine's food scene! Proof that local food and local connections don't have to come at an out-of-the-world price point.
Christina blogs at My View from the Middle Seat
The markets and food vendors of Yangon, Myanmar.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that a popular snack in Myanmar is pancakes! Pictured here: savory Myanmar pancakes (mont pyar thalet), made from rice flour and stuffed with dried peas, sesame seeds and cilantro. Talk about a steal – these pancakes, about 10cm in diameter, go for 100 kyat a piece, or around 7 American cents! There isn’t one restaurant in particular to recommend, as these can be found in markets and roadside stalls all around the country. You can also find a sweet version, made of rice flour, coconut and jaggery (rough palm sugar).
Note from Vanessa: This is exactly why I want to go back to Yangon. We never got a chance to really explore the city's food scene and its clear we missed out!
Allie just moved to Yangon, Myanmar for 12 months. When she gets over her writer’s block, you can follow her adventures at www.wheresalex.com
Frank's Bar and Grill, Edmunston, New Brunswick.
Have you ever heard of “ploye”? It’s a specialty of New Brunswick’s Madawaska region, their regional pancake! Ploye has a yellow colour, it’s made of buckwheat and wheat flour, water and baking powder, which makes it extremely cheap to make as well versatile and adaptable. Definitely nothing to do with the buckwheat crêpes we are used to in Quebec!
Locals eat it with sweet or savoury toppings and many restaurants in the Edmundston region serve it up as they would bread or have it on the breakfast menu. Others eat it with cretons for a heftier snack. After a few, I was hooked, especially covered in brown sugar!
Note from Vanessa: How have I never heard of this? We drive through Edmunston every time we go to eastern Canada. This sounds absolutely delicious and such a hearty breakfast.
Jennifer blogs at Moi, mes souliers
Quebec City, Canada
Generously filled with ham and cheese and folded in the traditional Breton style, they really were a little taste of France in downtown Quebec City. And the cider? Well, it was elegant, refined and the perfect match for the crepes.
I didn't know I would need to travel all the way to Quebec City for my first traditional Breton crepe, but now I know how good they are, I'll definitely be finding them again!
Note from Vanessa: Clearly French Canadians are mastering the art of buckwheat based treats!
Jo blogs at Frugal First Class Travel
Holybelly, Paris (we think!)
This is what you get in Paris if you miss the pancake window at Holybelly because you waited for a friend, then had to wait in line (there are no reservations). If I had ditched my friend I could have sat alone and ordered pancakes - the first in my three months away - but alas I chose friends (reluctantly) over pancakes. I will say that this consolation prize was amazing - crunchy bacon and fresh baked French bread.
Note from Vanessa: Holybelly's breakfast menu looks amazing and this looks like the perfect fit between North American style breakfast and Parisian fare. Just show up early for pancakes! They serve them with Bourbon butter!
Sue, who blogs at Phila Travel Girl, really knows her pancakes. She also recommends the buttermilk pancakes (topped with bananas and nuts) at XIX Cafe in the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philly.
XIX Cafe, Philadelphia
The views are amazing and the pancakes were $12 which for a hotel and restaurant with a view seems a good deal to me. The Bellevue has a legendary history in philly and this restaurant on the top of the building is a hidden gem in the city.
But wait! Sue has more!
Storehouse Kitchen, La Jolla, California
These buttermilk pancakes were simple looking but oh so delicious. The restaurant, Storehouse Kitchen, is located in La Jolla, California a few blocks from the beach. I ate outside at the cafe watching surf boards and tourist with kayaks walk by. This was the short stack of pancakes for $7.50 but the temptations abound on the menu
Note from Vanessa: They offer a tall stack of cornmeal pancakes with lemon and blueberry for just $10!
Vanessa's Favourite: Pancakes On The Rocks, Sydney, Australia
Pancakes On The Rocks is a small restaurant chain in Sydney, Australia and - not surprisingly - their flagship store is downtown in the district known as "The Rocks". You'd never know the restaurant was there if you weren't looking for it (4 Hickson Road) but even if you're not a pancake fanatic like me, you'd be well advised to note the location.
Pancakes On The Rocks is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - fantastic if you're up late at night with jet lag or getting up really early to catch a flight. They're also really affordable. Most breakfast combos (pancakes, eggs, sides) ring in at under $15, as do savory stuffed crepes and the fancy pancake platters. I had the Cocoa Berry and it was fantastic! If you're on a budget, you can get two classic pancakes for $7.95 or four for $9.95. Trust me, these are sensational prices for downtown Sydney.
A Few Honorable Mentions From Hawaii.
Hilton Waikiki, Honolulu - When we stayed here in 2010, Ryan got a hot tip from another guest that the pancakes were gigantic. Tempted by curiosity to break our no-room service rule, we were rewarded by the biggest pancakes we've ever seen. Honestly, the two of us - both enthusiastic eaters - couldn't get through half the stack. I wish we had taken a picture!
I remember these pancakes as being extremely reasonably priced, especially since they could feed an army and came coated with fruit and nuts, but when I went to look up the menu at the in- house Mac 24-7 Cafe today I was surprised that they cost $24. Yikes! And if more than 2 people share, there's a $2.50 surcharge per person. I'm guessing this is due in small part to the passing of time and in large part to being featured on the TV show Man Vs Food. So in all honesty, I'm not that sure they're such a great deal but they still stand out as some of the absolute best pancakes we've ever had.
If you hop over to the Big Island, you'll find a budget friendly alternative at Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea. Two giant pancakes cost about $7 and, while the serving is half the size of those at Mac 24-7 and they don't come with fruit, they're still a great deal and you can enjoy them with traditional coconut syrup. Ryan also loved the Kalua pork hash and you can see pics of our meals above.
We're lucky enough to have friends who are both bloggers AND chefs! Nat writes....
We found some wonderful chestnut flour on one of our trips to Italy and decided to make pancakes in our rental apartment. You can recreate these with a flour of your choice and ricotta, mascarpone or cream cheese if you don't have access to authentic formaggio fresco.
Nat blogs at A Cook Not Mad.
Chesnut Pancake with Honey Spiked Formaggio Fresco
For more great food inspiration, check out....
Ottawa's Flapjack Pancake Shack (review)
Travel Value All Stars: Food Trucks
Coffeecan Cuisine: 5 Snacks That Are Always in My Pack.