If your pancake repertoire doesn’t extend beyond maple syrup, then it’s time to up your brunch game with our guide to the best Asian pancakes. We’re talking crunchy Vietnamese banh xeo, flavour-packed Korean pancakes, and Japanese okonomiyaki slathered in Kewpie mayonnaise and a salty-sweet sauce. This long weekend, why not skip the shake-and-pour pancakes in favour of these savoury Asian creations?
Literally meaning ‘sizzling cake’ for the sound it makes as it hits the pan, banh xeo is a must-try Vietnamese street food favourite. The turmeric-laced rice-flour crepe is traditionally filled with pork, prawns, herbs and bean sprouts. Tear off pieces of crepe then bundle it into a lettuce leaf and dip it in nuoc cham sauce.
Savoury pancakes are an essential eat in Korea. Whet your appetite with our guide to 5 unusual Korean pancakes, then have a go at making your own pajeon pancake with seafood and spring onions, kimchi pancake or quick and easy Korean potato pancake.
Said to originate from Osaka, Japan’s most popular pancake is the okonomiyaki, which translates as ‘what you like’ (okonomi) and ‘grill’ (yaki). The batter is made of flour and grated yam, which gives it a sticky consistency, and it’s generally filled with shredded cabbage, spring onion, and your choice of seafood (prawns, squid and octopus are popular), pork, pickled ginger or other vegetables. This chunky pancake is cooked on a flat hotplate (teppan) and then garnished with okonomiyaki sauce (salty-sweet, similar to barbecue sauce), Kewpie mayonnaise and bonito (dried fish flakes). In a word: delicious.
Scallion pancakes are a must-eat in China. These golden-fried pancakes are studded with sliced spring onion, and commonly eaten as a snack or alongside congee. Have a go at making scallion pancakes for yourself at home. The other essential Chinese pancake is the Peking pancake, soft, pliable crepes filled with Peking duck, spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce. Go the whole hog by making your own Peking duck from scratch!
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