I’ve always loved pancakes and they’re probably the first food I learned how to cook. Every Friday we would have pancakes: sometimes for dinner, sometimes for supper. Cooked first by my Dad who passed the recipes down to my sisters and me.

When I learnt to cook Polish pancakes, I had no idea that there were so many other different kinds of pancakes around the world. In the last 12 years, I’ve lived in 5 different countries and I’ve loved all the pancakes I’ve encountered on my travels.

Read on to discover my favourite pancakes around the world.

Before I started travelling I had no idea that there were so many different types of pancakes around the world. These are the best of the pancakes I've discovered while travelling the world and living in over 5 countries. #pancakes #crepes #nalesniki #cheon #koreanpancakes

Pancakes around the World: Poland

Polish-style Pancakes

Traditional Polish pancakes are thin and they fill the frying pan. We usually eat them with jam and sugar, or sometimes curd cheese or apple puree. When I was a teenager, chocolate spread (especially Nutella) started appearing in shops and then we would often have pancakes with this as well.

In the last 20 years, savoury pancakes have started becoming more and more popular. You can put pretty much anything on them. My personal favourite is the bacon, spinach, and feta cheese pancake that’s served in the pub/restaurant in my hometown.

In Poland, pancakes are usually eaten for dinner (which is at around 3 p.m.), even if they are sweet. Many people find it strange to have a sweet dinner, but we also usually have a soup (such as one of our delicious traditional Polish soups) as a first course.

Polish Apple Pancakes

The word we use for Polish apple pancakes in Polish doesn’t literally mean pancake. We use the same batter, but we make it a bit thicker and add grated or diced apples (I personally like to add both). Some people also add baking soda or sparkling water to make the pancakes fluffier.

A plate of apple pancakes with sugar
Apple pancakes with sugar

Some years ago, I started adding pear and bananas, which I think makes them even better. We usually eat these with sugar and sometimes cinnamon. If I’m in a place where maple syrup is available, I’ll often use that instead.

Polish Potato Pancakes

Three potato pancakes with sour cream and salmon on a serving tray
Potato pancakes with sour cream and salmon

Potato pancakes are considered one of the cheapest dishes in Poland. To make them you need to grate potatoes, add some eggs and flour, and then fry the mixture. One of my friends adds grated carrot, too. We usually eat potato pancakes them with cream and sugar.

Potato pancakes can also sometimes be served with goulash, which we then call them Hungarian pancakes.

Nowadays, in many restaurants, you can find potato and courgette pancakes served with a variety of toppings.

Pancakes around the World: England

English-style pancakes are really similar to Polish-style pancakes, but traditionally eaten sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar.

The English eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, which is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Every excuse to have pancakes is good for me, so I’ve happily adopted this tradition.

Pancakes around the World: the USA/Scotland

Three plates with pancakes with different toppings
American/Scotch pancakes

There’s not much difference between American pancakes and Scotch pancakes., Apart from normal milk, eggs, and flour, these pancakes often contain baking soda. They’re small, round, a few millimetres thick, and usually served with maple syrup, although many people add fruit as well.

People often eat these pancakes for breakfast, but for me they’re more like a snack as a couple of tiny pancakes doesn’t really fill me up.

Pancakes around the World: French Pancakes

Although crêpes originated in France, I first encountered them when I moved to London. There, many small shops serve different types crepes, which they could whip up in a few minutes.

One great place to get crêpes is at London St Pancras train station, which I became familiar with during my frequent commute to the University of Bedfordshire in Luton. My favourite filling was goat’s cheese, which I’d recommend.

Crêpes can be sweet as well. I always loved eating them with Nutella and bananas, but any fruit filling is really nice.

Pancakes around the World: Korean pancakes

Kimchi pancake with a small bowl of soy sauce
Korean kimchi pancake

When I moved to Korea, we discovered Korean pancakes that we different from anything I’d come across before. There are known as buchimgeae (부침개). Basically, the chef adds extra ingredients like meat or vegetables to the batter and then fries the mixture.

A piece of Korean pancakes in soy sauce
Korean pancake with soy sauce

Koreans use scissors to cut the batter while serving and. they are eaten using chopsticks, together with soy sauce.

There are many kinds of Korean pancakes, and you can add pretty much anything you like to them. My favourite ones are: kimchijeon (김치전), made with kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage in chilli) and pajeon (파전), made with green onion and chilli peppers. There’s also a version with seafood, but I’m not the biggest fan (although my husband is).

These kinds of pancakes are great fun to cook as well.


Thank you for reading. What are your favourite pancakes around the world?

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Before I started travelling I had no idea that there were so many different types of pancakes around the world. These are the best of the pancakes I've discovered while travelling the world and living in over 5 countries. #pancakes #crepes #nalesniki #cheon #koreanpancakes
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About Ola Jagielska

Ola Jagielska is an ESL teacher (you can find her on http://englishforthebusy.com), language enthusiast and co-author of this blog. She speaks seven languages and is striving for more. She loves travelling, reading and drinking good coffee.

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