Whenever you’re abroad, there will most certainly be times when you suddenly crave food from home. Maybe it’s something that can’t be found where you live, is too expensive because it’s considered foreign, or doesn’t taste the same as the local variety. Sometimes, it’ll be your mother’s cooking, a specific cereal brand, or a particular ethnic dish. Either way, it’ll be a food craving that will only continue to grow until satisfied. For me, I had a burning yearning for pancakes.
From my previous reviews and recipes, you can probably guess that pancakes rank pretty high on my breakfast food list. But when people think of pancakes in China, they may first think of scallion pancakes or the thin egg pancakes from the early-morning food carts. Shanghai’s strong penchant to adopt Western ideas and customs, though, means that American-style pancakes aren’t non-existent in China.
If you ever have pancake cravings in Shanghai, Mr. Pancake House is the place to go if you are price conscious. Its slogan – “Day or night – it’s always time for breakfast” – hits the nail right on the head. Plus, their pancake man reminds me of the clock in Beauty and the Beast.
My friends and I went to the Mr. Pancake House in the Jing’an district (they have multiple locations), and when we walked in we were greeted with music by the Beach Boys, which got me very excited. The Jing’an location is pretty small, but the waitresses were kind enough to put together three tables for our very large party of eight. They also spoke a bit of English, a very helpful factor since most of us did not have perfect Mandarin.
The options at Mr. Pancake house are extensive, and the portions are quite generous. Unless you’re starving, you’ll probably find yourself feeling full with still ¼ of your food or more left on your plate.
I got the Salmon Scramble breakfast combo (42 RMB), which comes with two pancakes, home fries, and scrambled eggs with salmon and cheddar. The salmon omelette had a good amount of salmon in it, but it seemed a bit watery; I don’t mind a loosely-prepared omelette, but what I got had actual liquid, not runny egg, leaking from it. Too bad, because the pancakes and home fries were really good. Also be warned. When the menu says that you can get flavored pancakes for 15 RMB extra, they actually just give you toppings on the side. You won’t actually get pancakes with bananas or chocolate in them.
Someone else ordered the Spinach and Mushroom Omelette (38 RMB), which also comes with 2 pancakes and home fries. Her omelette was not watery, and she actually really enjoyed her fries.
Two people ordered the blueberry pancakes and the strawberry pancakes (both 35 RMB). The blueberry pancakes had actual blueberries in them. The menu said that the pancakes were served with blueberry and strawberry compotes respectively, but it seemed as if the pancakes were covered in some sort of jam/syrup. While both diners liked the jam/syrup, they also agreed that there was too much of it and would have preferred to have it on the side similar to the people who had ordered the breakfast combos. The pancakes were very large, though, and both couldn’t finish their plates.
The French Toast Combo (42 RMB) is just like any of the pancake combos, except with waffles and a choice of breakfast meat. The French toast was pretty average, but it was interesting that it was made with crust-less bread.
The Classic Waffle (35 RMB) was light and airy, a bit different from the dense waffles we were used to in the States and a bit more crisp. The restaurant didn’t skip on the fruit, including the usually expensive kiwis.
There were no negative comments about the Waffle Combo (42 RMB), but there weren’t any outstanding reviews either. It was just… there.
For 10 RMB extra, you can also have unlimited refills of tea or coffee. No one ordered the tea, but the people who ordered coffee said it was pretty standard, nothing special but decent enough to get your caffeine fix.
I’ve read some online reviews saying that the service at Mr. Pancake House is terrible, but when we went the service wasn’t too terrible. The waitress wouldn’t split the check, but we experienced that all over China. Overall, I would say that Mr. Pancake House is of slightly better quality than a typical diner but not as good as an actual brunch place. But it’s still an inexpensive place to get your pancake fix and leave feeling full. If you think that the 15 RMB fee is worth it, you can also order Mr. Pancake House through Sherpa’s and have it delivered to your home.
Mr. Pancake House
877 Wuding Lu,
near Jiaozhou Lu
Monday-Sunday: 7:30 am – 10:30 pm