To Crepe Or To Pancake? That Is The Question
If you venture to Paris, you’ll find on virtually every street corner a mesmerizing crepe stand luring you closer with the spellbinding aroma of a classic French treat griddle-cooked on the spot and oozing with warm Nutella and the like.
Truly, what could be better?
Unless, of course, thicker, spongier, syrup-drenched American pancakes strike your fancy even more. In that case, you have to take comfort in a short stack at classic diners nearby such as Wailana Coffee House, or get into more gourmet renditions such as the famous Ricotta Hotcakes at Bills Hawaii, or the Milk & Cereal Pancakes at Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop.
When faced with the tough decision of going for crepes or pancakes, you may just need some time to sample a wide array of both before you find your true preference. Now, this could take a while, folks — especially since an endless array of flapjacks has evolved since at least the Greeks and Romans were drizzling honey over theirs.
Perhaps you’ll find your pancake niche in savory Korean-style jeon or Russian buckwheat blini. To put it in Shakespeare terms once again, the world’s your oyster when it comes to nom-worthy hotcakes, and Ono, You Know has already done some of the tasty research for you:
GET CARRIED AWAY WITH CREPES
Though crepes are usually associated with sugar, strawberries and other sweet fillings, let’s not underestimate the power of a sensationally savory one — just like Jade Dynasty’s Roasted Pork with Chinese Crepes ($18.95 for six pieces).
You won’t find these non-traditional delights on any other menu, and you’ve never seen such charming bundles of paper-thin crepes rolled up and tied with sprigs of chives to resemble ancient Chinese scrolls. The soft, egg-flavored crepes burst with a duo of textures: crispy pork and juicy strips of cucumber.
General manager Gary Chan reveals that the secret to the crackling-crispy pork skin, and therefore the magic of the dish, is the elaborate double roasting process. He notes that at least 1-2 days advance notice is requested for ordering this delicacy (and multiple orders are preferred) because of the time and technique involved in crafting each edible work of art.
Chinese-style crepes aren’t the only example of Jade Dynasty’s knack for jazzing up Hong Kong-inspired cuisine. The Ala Moana Center restaurant also recently added an Okinawan sweet potato jian dui to its popular dim sum service. And if you’re wondering about holiday offerings, a Christmas Day Seafood and Dim Sum Lunch Buffet ($29.95 adults; $25.95 seniors 65 and older; $15.95 children 4-9; children under 4 eat free) is coming up. The annual feast offers more than 30 festive bites — including snow crab, duck and char siu — and Chan says there will be around six new items to enjoy this year. Reserve your spot for one of three seatings (9:45 and 11:45 a.m., and 1:45 p.m.).
Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
OUR PANCAKE PICK
If you’re the type of diner who loves to tuck into a pile of buttery pancakes, Orchids at Halekulani is calling your name with this breakfast stunner — Folded Banana Ricotta Pancake ($14).
Interestingly enough for today’s topic of conversation, the presentation of the dish is more like a crepe because of the way it is folded up, but trust me, everything about this fluffy, doughy creation is classic pancake.
Stuffed with banana that’s been sauteed with brown sugar, as well as a light, custardy ricotta pastry cream, this number is a real treat for any pancake enthusiast. The dreamy ricotta cream and caramelized banana are enhanced with clover honey drizzled on top — another fun twist on classic preparations.
According to Orchids general manager Dante Camara, the dish has been popular with Japanese tourists because “right now, the pancake craze in Japan is very popular.”
But just like the famous Sunday brunch at Orchids, this dish is something kamaaina can fall in love with as well.
There’s plenty to look forward to at the signature oceanfront restaurant within the iconic Waikiki hotel. Orchids recently welcomed chef Christian Testa to take charge in the kitchen, and just earlier this week the restaurant introduced revamped lunch and dinner menus. With Testa at the helm, guests can dine on Italian and Mediterranean inspirations, while still reveling in all their Orchids favorites.
2199 Kalia Road, Waikiki