Oh Instagram, where we would be without you? Probably silently munching on those hard little discs of sadness that are now known as “traditional” pancakes. Instead, we’re walking on the sunshine that is Japanese pancakes, the soufflé in disguise that disproves the famous F.Scott Fitzgerald saying “there are no second acts in baking.” The trend blew up in Osaka around 2014—and made its fluffy march eastward (we spotted them at Senia in Honolulu two years ago). They made landfall in Vancouver and were seen at Dunbar’s Sweet Somethings in late spring, but it was the opening of Fufú in September—which single-handedly injected some life into the moribund stretch of Broadway between Alder and Birch—followed by the landing of uber chain Gram (now in Richmond and on Robson, and soon to be in Kerrisdale) that solidified the spongy domination of this towering achievement.
1. They’re made with a blend of eggs, flour and milk—same as normal pancakes—but extra egg whites are beaten into a meringue and then folded in to give us liftoff.
2. In Japan they’re called “happy” pancakes, because calling them Japanese pancakes would be weird.
3. They must be made to order, with the batter taking 10 minutes and the cooking another 10.
4. On their own they’re quite plain, so Fufú adds toppings galore: matcha cream with mochi, lemon cream or ice cream and a crispy crème brûlée sugar topping are just a few of your options.
5. As with any soufflé, they must be consumed quickly or they will start to deflate.