Header image courtesy of Chantal Lenting (via Pexels)
Originally published by Inés Fung. Last updated by Jen Paolini and Celia Lee.
Originating from foodie heaven Osaka, the Japanese soufflé pancake craze hit Hong Kong a couple of years ago and it is showing no signs of stopping, as more and more cafes specialising in a good wobbly stack pop up around town.
No time to fly to Japan? We’ve rounded up the best authentic import spots to get your pancake fix, so you don’t drive yourself crazy trying to replicate this decadent dessert at home (trust us, we’ve tried). Who eats these goodies first, your camera or you?
Hailing from Tokyo is Flipper’s, home of the phenomenal “Kiseki” soufflé pancake. There are always queues outside its locations, but we promise it’s worth the wait. Once you’ve braved the masses of sweet-tooths and Instagrammers, buy a ticket before finding a spot to sit down (don’t worry, nearly every seat has great lighting for an epic #foodporn shot).
Flipper’s famous Kiseki soufflé pancakes come with four topping variations: plain; green tea and red bean; strawberry, blueberry, and banana; and hazelnut, chocolate, and caramel banana. The pancakes are so delicately big and airy that they can’t be stacked and are instead plated side by side with heaping dollops of rich whipped cream and dusting of powdered sugar. You don’t even need a fork and knife to cut them up; they’ll wobble and split apart gorgeously with just a gentle touch with a fork—they’re that delicate.
If you’re looking for something savoury, Flipper’s has also introduced a selection of all-day breakfasts paired with its flatter, but no less delicious, American pancakes.
Gram Café & Pancakes has become one of the most recognisable soufflé pancake brands in the world since its first shop opened in Shinsaibashi district of Osaka just four years ago. Gram’s premium pancakes receive a limited release of 20 portions three times daily at 11 am, 3 pm, and 6 pm, selling out almost instantly every time.
We love the beautifully fluffy stacks served at Gram, but we especially love the Premium Smile pancakes, consisting of a stack of three flavours: plain with fruits and cream, chocolate, and a special savoury onsen egg pancake that gushes when you cut into it. All flavours are made fresh to order, each pancake is four centimetres thick, and served with fresh cream, syrup, and homemade custard.
If you’ve missed out on the three release times, order the Cool Premium pancake box (available in singles or boxes of five) to go. It comes in three flavours (we’re starting to see a pattern here): original, chocolate, and matcha, and is somehow made even better after a little time in the fridge—if you can wait that long before devouring these sweet treats.
Gram Café and Pancakes, L408, The One, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2368 4588
The queues at A Happy Pancake have not shortened since its first opening whatsoever— that’s how you know the pancakes here are amazing! Peek into the open kitchen to watch your jiggly desserts come to life. The soufflé pancakes at A Happy Pancake are made sans baking powder, leaving them even softer and jigglier than normal, as if they weren’t already chiffon-y enough to begin with. You’re spoilt for choice with flavours and toppings here, but the most popular option by far is the matcha soufflé pancakes. These happy pancakes give us happy tummies indeed. Seasonal items will be available throughout the year—all the more reason to revisit these delicious pancakes from time to time.
It’s hard to miss Am.Pm, even from afar—you’ll spot it from the queues spilling out onto the pavement and the shop’s bright yellow exterior, with decals designed to make the street-side booth look like a public school bus (with the pattern of Charlie Brown’s shirt).
Its soufflé pancakes, however, are nothing to laugh about. As the most adventurous stack flipper in town, Am.Pm is the daring creator behind improbable flavours like lava egg custard soufflé pancake, pearl milk tea soufflé pancake, chocolate lava pudding soufflé pancake, and so many more.
But as tempting as its entire menu may be, you’ll have to save room for the signature creme brûlée soufflé pancake, torched to perfection and covered in an ooey-gooey sauce that spills out as soon as you cut into the stack. Combo up to get your pancakes served with a side of premium milk soft serve ice cream or sweeten the deal with a black sugar bubble tea. Prepare to eat up quick—Am.Pm has no tables or seats and all orders are takeaway only.
Am.Pm, Shop B, G/F, Grand Place, 560 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2725 4318
Popular Nagoya restaurant Hoi Hoi Pancake House brings its light, airy, and fluffy Japanese pancakes to our shores. The under-the-radar pancake house regularly draws crowds and long queues at its Nagoya shop, though it may look underwhelming from the outside.
For those who aren’t familiar, this charming establishment produces Hawaiian-style pancakes using premium Japanese ingredients. Its long-time signature, the maple syrup pancake, bursts with sweetness and rich eggy flavour, while tropical favourites like the Hawaiian pancake, topped with crushed nuts for textural contrast, appeal to more adventurous taste buds. Exclusive to its Hong Kong locations are two new flavours: matcha pancake with a Tokachi-grown azuki red bean sauce and crème brûlée pancake. A set lunch menu is also available at the restaurant, offering Japanese-style Western items.
Offering a wide range of sweet treats for the foodie with an insatiable sweet tooth, HeySoNuts’s signature tiramisu cream soufflé are made up of swirled pancakes dusted with cocoa powder, while the Earl Grey tea cream soufflé is another rich choice for those who prefer the taste of tea over coffee. Armed with everything that makes a soufflé pancake outstanding—formidable height, perfect wobbliness, eggy flavour, and a pillowy texture— these cake-like constructions are picture-perfect and mouth-watering at the same time.
HeySoNuts, Shop 3, G/F, 147 Pak Tai Street, To Kwa Wan | (+852) 2687 1428
Another off-the-beaten track destination, Bove can be found nestled in food courts of various shopping centres. Here, the must-try would be the Earl Grey soufflé pancakes; bursting with flavour and colour, and it must be said that Bove’s stacks come at a much-easier-to-swallow price point than most other soufflé pancake shops around town. You will find other items on Bove’s extensive menu, including Hong Kong-style waffles and egg waffles in a plethora of unusual flavours, such as pandan and crunchy Ovaltine.
This one’s for our food Instagrammers out there. Boholic is a bohemian café located in Cheung Sha Wan, serving up delicious coffee shop treats as well as reimagined hot plates from around the world. With a separate menu for sweets, Boholic’s dessert game certainly is strong. On the menu are chiffon cakes, egg rolls, brownies, puddings, Basque cheesecakes, and, of course, soufflé pancakes. Available in three flavours—original with fresh fruits, matcha mochi, and caramel custard—these stacks are tall and jiggly, and totally irresistibly.
Boholic, G/F & 1/F, Sea Panorama Court, 561 Fuk Wa Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 2388 3668
If ordinary soufflé pancakes are a little too boring for our adventurous eaters, we raise you lava soufflé pancakes. Get ready for a tidal wave of flavoured cream flowing elegantly down your pancake stack, because at Cobber Coffee and Tonys Pastry, the signature lava stacks are out of this world. Seasonality directs the flavour of the pancakes, but you can stay up to date with the newest creations on the shop’s Instagram page. However, you can always count on staples to be available, such as the bergamot jelly and Earl Grey cream soufflé pancake with orange and grapefruit, and the mochi soufflé pancake series with rich and creamy matcha and refreshing mango coconut flavours.
Cobber Coffee and Tonys Pastry, 1/F, World Interests Building, 8 Tsun Yip Building, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3468 3509
HeSheEat is a foolproof option that serves plenty of reliable café favourites, but you will want to round out your meal with its jiggly and airy soufflé pancakes that come in five flavours: maple syrup, strawberries and cream, matcha black sesame, chocolate with orange liqueur, and dark and white chocolate Oreo. Next time you’re dining at HeSheEat, leave room for these fluffy desserts, or get a few to share between the table.
Phi is another popular spot for fluffy stacks, and you can often see long queues outside its shops. Its signature is the Lotus Biscoff caramel soufflé pancakes, topped with a velvety caramel cream and crunchy Lotus biscuits. You can choose to add toppings to your already mouth-watering soufflé pancakes, including Mövenpick ice cream, caramelised bananas, and fresh, flavoured whipped cream. Phi also designs limited menu items around seasonally available ingredients, so stay up-to-date with its new launches throughout the year.