Lately, pancakes have been booming in popularity with young people. Among them, the mecca of cute, Harajuku/Omotesando, has become known as a battleground for pancake shops and is full of lines of people clamoring to get in. Here are 5 shops that come particularly recommended.
Hoshino Coffee Shop is a chain that has branches all around the country, from Hokkaido to Kumamoto. Their Harajuku branch has a calming interior, and their huge menu is so popular there are always people coming in and out from morning to night. Each one of their coffees is made using the pour over method, and you should match it with their 3cm thick oven-baked souffle pancake (550 JPY for a single, 700 JPY for a double (both incl. tax)). The outside is crisp and the inside is fluffy and soft. The saltiness of the whipped butter and the sweetness of the syrup (choose 1 from maple syrup, honey, and black sugar syrup) makes for a perfect balance. While it looks filling, it's actually a light meal that you can drop by for a snack.
The first branch of Osaka's extremely popular pancake chain, Shiawase no Pancake, is in Omotesando. These pancakes have such a fluffy, moist texture that you'll smile without realizing it after taking the first bite. "Shiawase no Pancake" means "pancake of happiness," and just like the name, their most popular pancake is the shiawase no pancake (1,100 JPY (incl. tax)). This pancake is soft and delicious-looking like a baby's cheek. The soft and airy pancake dough is paired with a mild, sweet caramel sauce to create a moment of bliss. Once you try it once you'll definitely be captured by it.
Rainbow Pancakes was opened by a couple that used to live in Hawaii and loved it. They named it that because rainbows are a symbol of happiness and pancakes bring smiles to the people of Hawaii. The owners want to bring smiles to people who eat their pancakes. The recommendation of this shop is the macadamia nut sauce pancake (1,250 JPY). The soft and thick pancakes have an airy yet springy texture that they're known for. The sweet macadamia nut sauce as well as the macadamia nuts it's topped with make for a great accent. It's accompanied with cute rusk cookies in the shape of fork and knife. If you eat this, you'll feel sunny like Hawaiian skies.
Eggs 'n Things was opened in 1974 in Hawaii with the concept of "All Day Breakfast." Their delicious, varied breakfast menu is beloved by people all over the world. Their first Japanese branch was this Harajuku store that opened in 2009. Their most popular pancake is covered in fruits and enough whipped cream to make you widen your eyes. The pancakes are springy and have a slight sweetness to them that mellows out the whipped cream. There are a variety of sauces on hand, including maple syrup, guava sauce, coconut sauce, and more, that will allow you to change the taste of the pancake to your liking.
Strawberry, whipped cream, and macadamia nut pancake for 1,150 JPY.
Colombin is Japan's first Western brand that offers full-blown French sweets. In their salon you can order Harajuku pancakes (1,296 JPY (incl. tax) with coffee or tea). These little, thin, easy-to-eat pancakes are made using homemade honey that is taken from the beehives cultivated on the shop's roof. The inside of the pancake is hiding honey syrup and the outside is caramelize The crunchy outside mixed with the syrupy honey that melts in your mouth when you take a bite is this shop's most famous offering. Why not spend a moment of bliss atop the red carpet in this glamourous space?
The pancake battlegrounds of Harajuku and Omotesando are also home to so many individualistic pancake shops. Because there are so many evolutions of pancakes offered in Japan today, it would be fun to go and compare the types of pancakes available here to those in your country.
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information