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Japanese Pancakes – Are they really that good?

It’s getting harder and harder to be wowed by a single food image. Pancakes as fat as your arm will do that. And the Japanese have certainly mastered the art of  ‘fat as your arm’ pancakes. But are they real?… Is it an illusion? Do they really exist? Do upgrades ever happen? Am I really that short?… And is it worth flying to Japan to eat pancakes?…as fat as your arm. Read on and you might get some answers.

Image left by me | right by t-mizo

Japan Pancakes In Tokyo

There is no shortage of pancake establishments in Tokyo. Without any hard evidence or even lifting a finger beyond a laden fork, I’ve done no real research. But by our impressions, the Japanese have a healthy😐 obsession with pancakes and a very different approach to presenting them. Many of the plated variations we came across seem to lean more toward the structural integrity of a stack then the aesthetic. Perhaps this is the genesis from which place like Flippers takes pancake architecture to the next level.

*If it’s food that floats your boat, try our post the  Experts Guide To The Tokyo Ramen Restaurant, maybe you fancy a little commuting in style (or just a laugh) check out our video on Tokyo Taxi Travel.

Fukadaso Cafe

To Flippers or Pluffy

Doing the research will have you at Flippers door. They have a few stores around Tokyo and probably have the highest ‘fat as your arm’ pancake profile. Staying in Shimokitazawa we walked past Flippers most days… and kept on walking. The cues are nuts. We never wandered by without seeing a cue and they didn’t seem to move much. They do however take your order whilst you stand road-side. We even stood road-side for 10 minutes then bottled it before the order was taken.

The confusing part about this branch of Flippers is that there is a rival around the corner with a lovely outdoor setting in a delightful laneway… and no cue. So… always suckers for a nice outdoor setting we sacrificed the reported 60 minute wait time and opted to go fifty paces around the corner to the cue-less Pluffy. I’m not sure if it’s just reputation or peer pressure but from what we could tell with what was coming out of the kitchen they were serving up the same thing. But not having spent 60 minutes in the cue, we’ll never know for sure.

The Japanese Soufflé Pancake Verdict

I’ll own up to the deception, only because it took me until my first bite to pay attention to the language on the menu. These are soufflé pancakes. Looking at the images you might might be forgiven for thinking there might be some kind of engineering marvel behind maintaining a slab of pancake batter to the level of excellence and evil doing that these pancake images suggest. But yes, there is a catch. They are the pfluffy variety. No, really, really… middle of your pavlova, centre of sorbet, chocolate soufflé variety. Sorry for the spoiler alert. They are still lovely, but it is a ruse… a pleasant one. Not the kind where you would ask for your money back, but a ruse nonetheless. We were done after a few mouthfuls, it was very pleasant but not what we had in mind… a platter of desert at 9 am, if it’s a western hit that you’re after I’d be heading for Dues Ex Machina cafe in Harajuku and trying the ‘thick as your thigh’ cheese toastie.

So now that we all know I have no doubt we’ll be rubbing shoulders in a Flippers or Pluffy sometime soon 😉.

Dues Ex Machina Toastie

Where To Find Japanese Pancakes

Getting around in Tokyo

We get Pasmo cards from a ticket machine at any station. You charge it up whenever you like. It will get you on any train within the designated system and the buses. Don’t worry too much about going outside of the zones. Be sure to keep change on you so that when the dreaded “beep” goes off you can pay the attendant the difference. But if you to avoid the crowds Tokyo Taxi Travel is a comfortable and time efficient way to dart around town, especially if you are just hopping across suburbs.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

We use Airbnb whenever the opportunity pops up. We run our own place in Port Douglas so know the system pretty well and for us it’s the most user-friendly of the private holiday rental apps. It’s a bit tricky to find places under 3 nights but if you are planning a holiday for longer click here to set up an Airbnb account, you’ll get way more bang for your buck.

*IN JUNE 2018 THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED A RADICAL CHANGE TO PRIVATE HOLIDAY RENTALS READ THIS AND BE SURE TO CONFIRM WITH YOUR HOST THAT THEY ARE LICENSED.

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Credits

Whilst many of the images are our own we did get some help from the some talented individuals, we like to give credit when it’s due! If you click their links under the images you will see some fantastic portfolios of passionate travellers and photographers.
All images were obtains under the Creative Commons Licensing Agreements