If you are up past bedtime in tourist areas of Thailand or Laos, you will find a banana pancake cart.
Pancake vendors are one hit wonders and rarely make anything else. Hawker food or street food lends itself to specialisation. That is why I love it so much.
These pancakes aren’t made from a poured batter. Like roti, a piece of dough is flicked and stretched out so big I worry it might tear. Oil and/or ghee is added to a hot surface and the pancake quickly but carefully peeled and put on the pan. The result is an oily crepe. As it cooks, a banana is expertly sliced and dropped into the centre and chocolate sauce and/or condensed milk swirled on top. The corners of the pancake are folded into the middle, topped with more ghee and the package is then flipped over. When it’s done, the banana pancake is transferred to a paper plate, cut into bite-sized squares and served with sticks. It’s perfect late night food for travelers and the average price for a pancake is $1US.
Banana pancakes are a naughty and sweet treat, though we tried a low fat version once in Luang Prabang, Laos. It was a crepe with apple slices, no oil, no sauce. It was dry and bland. It just tasted wrong. Maybe ok for breakfast, but not last thing at night when you’re on holiday. These things should be oily and drowning in sweet sauce.
Banana pancakes on Thaepae Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Banana pancake in Vientiane, Laos.
This guy makes them quite square.
More than 1 being made at once.
Nutella, peanut butter, condensed milk or chocolate. Your choice.
A happy customer.