Everyone knows that pancakes are delicious — but not everyone is picturing the same thing when you say that word. If you’re in America, your favorite fluffy buttermilk weekend hangover cure might sound like a seafood-filled savory snack to someone who grew up in Korea.
We rounded up all of the tastiest variations on this doughy treat from around the world.
Japan puts the “cake” in “pancake.”
Japanese pancakes — also called hotcakes, for which the instant batter mix market is fiercely competitive in the country — are a dessert food instead of a breakfast food. They’re extremely fluffy and light, usually served with whipped cream, fruit, and other sweet toppings. More importantly, they’re usually a dessert you share with a group of friends instead of keeping all those delicious carbs to yourself.
If you like sweet stuffed pancakes, Korean hotteok are the ones for you.
Unlike many other pancakes, hotteok are yeast-raised— which gives them a distinctly delicious flavor. They’re a popular street food in Korea, and often come stuffed with cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and brown sugar. Other fillings like sweet red beans may be involved in this stuffed dessert pancake as well.
German pfannkuchen are just right for when you want your dessert to be light.
If you’re intimidated by full-sized crepes because they’re too huge and you don’t have a giant iron for them, German pfannkuchen have a similar light texture— but smaller. These are pan-sized, and perfect for the next time you want to create something simple yourself in the kitchen.
They’re light, thin, crispy, and go best with a little powdered sugar and applesauce.
If you like your food tiny, Dutch poffertjes could be your new sweet snacking joy.
Poffertjes are made with a yeast-raised recipe that needs time to proof, like a bread. It’s still a batter, and it’s necessary to put into a squeeze bottle so you can shoot it into the tiny indentations in the special pan you need for them. Or you can find somewhere that makes them for you and get your fix that way — either way, they’re tasty.
These Spanish panqueques rely on fluffy whipped egg whites to make them incredibly light.
Light, sweet, and understated — panqueques are golden brown egg-raised beauties that are totally ready to accept your favorite sweet toppings for both breakfasting and snacking.
Thai roti might make you forget about donuts forever.
Cooked with egg and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, Thai roti are folded over and over to get beautiful layers when you bite into it. They sometimes also feature fresh banana slices or other fruit, but the layers are magic by themselves.
The heady combination of fried, crispy, browned, fluffy, and sweet is pure textural delight.
Korean seafood pancakes — haemul pajeon — are the perfect savory snack or light, filling lunch.
Korea isn’t the only country with savory pancakes as a favorite snack — but the sheer variety of flavors is amazing. Kimchi, seafood, green onions, or even just a beautiful vegetable medley are all perfectly at home in this style of pancake.
That char on some of the ingredients — particularly when you caramelize those green onions — just can’t be beat. These pancakes are accompanied with a soy-based dipping sauce, not syrup — think more like dumplings than like breakfast.
(They’re also a great way to use small amounts of leftovers for a quick lunch if you’re working at home and just want to throw something together quickly, which I have totally been known to do when the opportunity arises.)
Bánh Khot are tiny, crispy, savory Vietnamese seafood pancakes that are perfect two-bite morsels.
Made with rice flour, these tiny bites have a delicious flavor and texture that only gets better when you wrap them up in fresh herbs and dip them in fish sauce. If you love seafood, you need these in your life.
French crepes will take you to another dimension of savory snacking perfection.
Whether you go with the classic ham and gruyere or you make other savory choices, can anything taste bad if it’s cushioned inside such a beautifully golden brown crepe?
Diet are gorgeous, spicy, chewy Nigerian pancakes that will wow you with flavor.
Red pepper is a key ingredient in these savory beauties— and some versions also call for sauteed onions and tomatoes. If sugar overload doesn’t do it for you, and you like a nice, chewy texture, give these pancakes a try.
Okonomiyaki is the Japanese savory, saucy single pancake meal of your dreams.
Seafood, vegetables, thinly sliced meats — all are fair game when you’re making okonomiyaki. Adding a fair amount of mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce together toward the end not only makes the finished dish look beautiful; it also tastes amazing when it’s all mixed together, as well.
If you wish your pancakes had more meat in them, look no further than Brazil’s panqueca de carne moida.
Thinner and more on the crepe side, these pancakes are wrapped around a delicious cooked meat filling of your choice, then covered in sauce and baked in the oven before serving. You’ll probably want to share these with your friends or family, but since when is that a bad thing?