Pick 5 Pancakes: the Non-Jeon Kind
As much as we love Korean food, a little diversity isn’t a bad thing. Seoul has a pretty impressive selection of foreign restaurants that's constantly growing. Some are shit, and some are a taste of home, assuming your home isn't Korea. In this section, we pick the 5 best places to get a specific, non-Korean dish. This week, it’s fuckin pancakes!!
1. Butterfinger Pancakes - Gangnam
버터핑거 팬케익스 – 강남
This place is no secret anymore, as evidenced by their recent expansion (though I’ve only been to the Gangnam one). They specialize in breakfast combos, greasy diner style, with eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, hash browns, etc. The main event is, of course, the pancakes, which come with choices of butter and syrup. If you’re mainly there for the cakes, you can pick from a list of compotes, or get a completely different style pancake, the real American way. Offerings include pecan gingerbread, blueberry, and banana nut, my personal all-time favorite. The cakes are lite, fluffy, and golden brown, just as they should be. Paired with all the classics, they’re just about as good as a full breakfast you’d get in the states.
2. Original Pancake House – Garosugil
오리지널 팬케이크 하우스 – 가로수길
From the signage to their claim to have been around since 1953, OPH tries their best to feel like an OG pancake house. And, between the menu and the experience of dining here, they actually do a pretty good job. Their menu boasts all the classic omelette varieties, egg and meat combos, and of course, pancakes, that you’d expect to find at an American diner. The coffee’s even served in old school mugs, and a real syrup dispenser sits at every table. Pancakes are pretty much perfect, and their omelets are done like Minnesota swing omelets – frypan-sized, fluffy, filled with all kinds of good stuff. The “link sausages” look a little different than you’d expect, but taste just right. It’s more expensive than an OG American pancake house, but that aside, they pretty much nail it.
3. The Pancake Epidemic – Apgujeong
더 팬케이크 에비데믹 – 앞구정
The Epidemic doesn’t try to induce American nostalgia, or even mimic something it’s not. It feels very much like an Apgujeong brunch spot that just happens to sling pancakes. The menu basically only features flapjacks, and they’re done kinda thinner than the other spots. Between that and the toppings, of which there are four, these cakes are kinda more like a crepe’s distant cousin. Not a bad thing, just a note. Blueberry pancakes are topped with blueberries and yogurt, not cooked in. The Fat Boy Treats has sausages (not breakfast links, but still), American cheese, and dill pickles. I mean, look, this isn’t an American diner-style breakfast. But if it’s mainly pancakes you’re after, and you want something kinda decadent, with an interesting spin, hit the epidemic.
4. The Flying Pan Blue – Itaewon
더플라잉팬블루 – 이태원
Surprising for Itaewon, the Flying Pan’s pancakes are among the least internationally-informed on this list. Their stacks are a little bougier, like one topped with carmelized figs, ricotta, and walnuts. The most basic, a banana walnut joint with vanilla ice cream, is not liked the standard American banana nut variety and rather a plain stack topped with sliced bananas and walnuts. In fact, none of the pancake dishes feature anything in the pancakes, but are normal pancakes topped with stuff. That said, they’re all pretty delicious. The offerings are also generally more dessert-y than breakfast-y, although sometimes distinguishing between the two isn’t particularly easy (muffins are just cupcakes you feel comfortable eating in the morning, get over it).
And that’s it! You may have noticed that this is a pick 5 list, and there are 4 entries. Well, you got us. The fact is, while there are other pancakes available in Seoul, they’re all so far removed from American-style ones that, while they may be delicious, they don’t belong here. And that’s fine! But don’t get mad at us. We did the best we could.
Let us know what you think of our taste in non-Korean food. For more stuff like this, check out our foreign food section.
Photo credits: @pilates_jun