The world's best pancakes: which country's cakes trump all others?
If you order pfannkuchen in an IHOP, you'll probably be met with a polite "gesundheit". But despite what the International House of Pancakes would lead you to believe, when it comes to fried, batter-y goodness, the American pancake isn't all you can eat.
So in the interest of spreading pancake diplomacy, we've ranked the top 10 flapjacks in the world. Read on to see where your favorite ranks, and if we missed any, be sure to fly your country's flag in the comments.
What it is:Blintzes (aka blini) are thin pancakes similar to crepes. The batter is often loaded with potatoes, raisins, or apples, and, once they've been fried, they're folded and stuffed with everything from caviar to sour cream.
Why it placed where it did: It's tradition to eat blini both when a new child is born and when someone dies. Although that's largely a thing of the past, their association with death makes it harder to enjoy waking up to them.
What it is: Pfannkuchen, aka eierkuchen (also the sound Ryu makes when shooting a fireball in Germany's Street Fighter II), are thin cakes of flour that can be served plain or filled with fruit, sweets, or nuts. They can also be torn apart and served in soup.
Why it placed where it did: Pfannkuchen is also a term for donut, so the potential disappointment associated with receiving this instead of a sprinkled pastry knocked it down several ranks.
What it is:Pannenkoek are thin, wide circles that sometimes get loaded with bacon, cheese, or fruit, then drizzled with sugar beet molasses.
Why it placed where it did: Unlucky Dutch children sometimes get this instead of birthday cake. And unlucky adults often eat it after a steaming bowl of pea soup. On the plus side: bacon!
What it is:Cachapa, cornbread traditionally stuffed with handmade cheese alongside chicharrones. Often folded over meats like chorizo or carne asada.
Why it placed where it did: Because it's often folded over meats like chorizo or carne asada, but not always.
What it is:Bánh xèo, a tumeric-loaded rice-batter bomb filled with pork, shrimp, green onions, and bean sprouts.
Why it placed where it did: Good morning, Vietnam! It's filled with all the right stuff, but the heavy dose of tumeric means you're going to be tasting this all day long.
What it is:Injera, the spongy flatbread that serves as a plate for every other type of Ethiopian deliciousness.
Why it places where it did: Granted, Ethiopia is genius for using a pancake as a plate. This would've ranked higher, but since much of the flavor is coming from supplementary dishes, it's like considering bacon and eggs part of a pancake.
What it is:Dosa, a mix of rice batter and lentils served with chutney. Often stuffed with meat or vegetables.
Why it placed where it did: Like injera, the dosa is a perfect vessel for its country's flavors, but judged on a stand-alone basis, it lacks the complexity of other cakes.
3. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
What it is: Be it drenched in maple syrup, surrounded by berries, baked with chocolate chips inside it, or topped with ice cream, the American pancake is a wonderful thing.
Why it placed where it did: The fluffiness, the fact that it's one of the few hot breakfasts that is essentially a dessert, and the bottomless quantities make the American pancake tough to beat. It'd rank higher, except for the dream of bottomless pancakes is usually more of a nightmare. A nightmare that requires antacids.
What it is: The crêpe is a paper-thin, wheat-based pancake enjoyed not just by people wearing berets, but also in countries neighboring the ones where people wear berets.
Why it placed where it did: The crêpe is the pancake world's jack of all trades. It's suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can be savory or sweet. And it does it all while holding a higher air of sophistication than most any other griddled food.
What it is:Okonomiyaki, a grilled kitchen sink's worth of Japanese ingredients that all starts with a yam base.
Why it placed where it did: The crêpe covers a diverse range of pancake possibilities, and the American pancake has perfected fluffy texture and sneaking dessert into the AM, but the Japanese pancake reigns supreme because it offers the same fried, batter-y goodness, but loads it up with a powerful array of umami-inducing savories ranging from green onion to squid. And okonomiyaki literally means "what you want grilled", a sentiment that isn't lost in translation.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He has never been able to finish a plate of bottomless pancakes because IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. Follow him to more contradictions at @Dannosphere.