Enthusiasm for the Instagrammable Japanese import runs high. 

By Tim Nelson
October 04, 2019

For a brief time, it felt like the cronut was the king of the food world. Dominique Ansel’s hybrid pastry inspired lines around the block when it debuted in 2013, not to mention endless Instagram posts and knockoff creations. While the furor around this latest novelty food item hasn’t yet reached the same kind of fever pitch, it sure has all the necessary ingredients for peak virality. 

What am I talking about? Japanese-style soufflé pancakes, of course. A cult hit in Japan thanks to the work of a chain called Flipper’s, this foreign, fluffed-up reinterpretation of a breakfast staple is all about two-inch-wide pancakes adorned in “powdered sugar and a signature cream,” according to the Wall Street Journal. As of now, they’re available in a three for $16 “standard” edition, and $19 gets you the same number of strawberry souffle pancakes. From the photos, they look like a sweet (but not overly sweet) biscuit or doughnut just as much as a pancake. 

Just like at each of the 12 Flipper’s locations in trendy neighborhoods of Japan, the soufflé pancake has inspired lengthy lines at the first US Flipper’s location in lower Manhattan. The Journal reports that “a number of high-follower-count Instagram influencers” have stopped by to take photos at various points. Demand was so intense on a recent day that Flipper’s ran out of ingredients to make the strawberry souffle pancake. 

Can Flipper’s sustain the hype? It’s early days yet, but the continued lines (aided by the social media stars who give souffle pancakes a coveted co-sign) suggest that this dish is worth the wait. Jimmy Welleby, the operations manager for Flipper’s in New York, believes the souffle pancake hype will eventually transition from fascination with its looks to enthusiasm for its taste. “The quality is always going to be what really keeps the brand going, no matter what happens,” he told the Journal

So if you find yourself in New York with an hour or two to kill (much of which may be spent waiting in line), skip the hunt for the original Ray’s Pizza and get in on the ground floor of the next globalized food trend. At the very least, these things look like more of a meal than a single cronut. 

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