From the French word “souffler” that means “to blow,” “to breathe” or “to puff,” soufflé has become a global trend and is still gaining popularity—particularly Japan’s soufflé pancakes.
This egg-based dish is known for its puffy texture, which is attributed to egg whites beaten to a soft peak. It is usually accompanied with cream sauce or béchamel (white sauce made with butter, flour, and milk), crème pâtissière (custard) or a purée (usually made from fruits).
Soufflé, aside from being a dessert option, is also savory with variations like potato soufflé and crab soufflé. Soufflé can include cheese, herbs and vegetables, and even a variety of meats from pork, poultry, and seafood.
Tracing its roots in Hawaii in 1974 when Jan and Jerry Fukunaga established their diner Eggs N’ Things (which expanded to Tokyo in 2010 and started the Japanese inclination for American-style pancakes), soufflé pancakes took a while before it became one of the most sought-after sweets in the world to date.
We’ve seen Flipper’s, a Japanese soufflé pancake café, take over New York City. Fuwa Fuwa Café (whose name is derived from the Japanese word that means fluffy) also reached London, Toronto, and other cities in the US. All-day brunch restaurant in Los Angeles, Souffle’s, creates pancakes that may not stand as tall as the others’ but makes up for the height difference with their rich textures.
In the Philippines, Japanese chains Gram Café, Motto Motto, and Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory as well as Hong Kong’s am pm, Taipei’s Puffy’s, and our very own Pancake House brought their own versions of these stacked pancakes to the local market.
Soufflé pancakes are far from the usual flat pancakes we usually make. The structure and versatility (in terms of being combined with other ingredients for flavor) makes this food trend an Instagram hit. People fall in line just to have a taste (and perhaps, to take a photo) of this two-inch tall Japanese pancake.
The hype surrounding the new take on this breakfast staple doesn’t seem to be coming to an end yet even though it’s been gaining attention for some time already. There isn’t even any sign of its performance declining as social media encourages more and more people to be intrigued with soufflé pancakes. If anything, its reign as the new food trend is only beginning.