Springy in texture and lightly toasted on both sides, the Japanese souffle pancake, colloquially known as fluffy pancakes, are a joy to behold. Not only are they pleasing on the palate — the airy interior makes them arguably superior to their leaden counterparts that tend to land in the belly with an aching thud — they make for excellent Instagram fodder: more than 160,000 photos are tagged #soufflepancake.
What makes souffle pancakes different from classic flapjacks is the addition of egg whites whipped to form a meringue which is then folded into the batter (hence the “souffle” name). Cooked in a pan or griddle, the souffle pancakes, which also use less flour, rise tall with an ever-so slightly crispy top and bottom and a more delicate interior.
With a new addition coming to Orange County later this year, the nationwide food trend sees no signs of slowing down. Fluffy Fluffy, the largest souffle pancake chain in North America and a division of Fuwa Fuwa Pancakes, will arrive at The District shopping center in Tustin. Look for it to open in late fall of this year.
For those of you who cannot wait, here are some of the best places in Orange County now serving the bouncy sweet treats.
Basilur (Buena Park): In addition to afternoon tea service with pastries, sandwiches and scones, this Buena park coffee and tea house that specializes in serving high-quality Ceylon tea, serves souffle pancakes that come in five flavors: plain, strawberry, blueberry yogurt, tiramisu and Earl Gray. 6920 Beach Blvd., The Source OC, K-129, Buena Park; basilurteacoffee.com
Baum Tea (Irvine): The souffle pancakes here come in varieties that range from strawberry and custard to bear-shaped and matcha topped with Lucky Charms marshmallows. While enjoying the jiggly pancakes, don’t forget to look at the library wall filled with tea cases that look like books. 13955 Yale Ave., suite A, Irvine; instagram.com/baum_tea_coffee
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Burnt Crumbs (Irvine): What began as a food truck has grown into a brick-and-mortar in Irvine, helmed by chef-owner Paul Cao, a Vietnamese-American chef with fine-dining cred (he was sous chef for Michael Mina’s then-Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point). After becoming obsessed with souffle pancakes, Cao attempted roughly 1,000 pancakes before finally perfecting it and adding it to his brunch menu. Ever since, he’s had lines coming out the door for his souffle pancakes, of which he sells an estimated 500 every weekend. Comes in original, blueberry or strawberry iterations. 8549 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine; burntcrumbs.com
Nostimo Cafe (Westminster): Head to Westminter’s Little Saigon neighborhood to find ube souffle pancakes. Super soft and airy, these stacks are topped with ube flavored sweet cream. Other flavors include tiramisu, matcha, Nutellamisu, mango and strawberry. 15568 Brookhurst St., Westminster; instagram.com/nostimocafe.tea