Battle of the Breakfasts: IHOP Waffles vs. Pancake House WafflesJanuary 20, 2017
We put American chain International House of Pancakes (IHOP) and beloved local Pancake House against each other for a series that battles out breakfast classics.
Maybe it’s the way Filipinos love breakfast food or the way that they are always looking for a great excuse for family bonding but American-style breakfast chains continue to draw in crowds of diners looking to get their pancake-and-bacon on at any time of the day. Manila’s in no shortage of options, but two in particular stand out when you’re looking for your flapjack fix. On one end is homegrown haven Pancake House; on the other is American chain International House of Pancakes (or IHOP). How do these pancake places, er, stack up against each other when it comes to the iron-pressed breakfast favorite?
Waffles come in many different styles, but its American iteration has roots in Belgian ‘Brussels’ waffles, which appeared in the World Fair held in the US during the 60’s. They’ve evolved ever since, trading in the traditional Belgian yeasted dough for a baking powder-leavened batter. Like pancakes, they take to both sweet and savory add-ons, but are typically crisper on the outside (thanks to the two-sided heat of pressing down the waffle iron) with “pockets” in a grid-like formation.
With a meager five-peso difference between IHOP’s and Pancake House’s versions, how do they compare?
IHOP’S BELGIAN WAFFLE (Php 175)
Now by “Belgian” IHOP refers to American-style “Belgian”: big, bold, and golden brown, with large pockets across its surface. They are crisp on the outside, and tender with a tight, consistent crumb on the inside. You get the good-ol’ “homemade pancake” taste that hits the right balance between salty and sweet. But it’s still neutral enough to accept any accompaniments, which its deep pockets will be more than happy to hold. While the saccharine syrup is nothing to write about (don’t expect any real maple here), I must commend the salty whipped butter for the way it heightens contrast of sweet and savory.
PANCAKE HOUSE’S GOLDEN BROWN WAFFLE (Php 180)
Whereas IHOP’s was a proud display of excess, Pancake House’s looks modest—meek, even. Taking each part individually, I’ll admit I wasn’t as impressed: the waffles are wider but thinner with smaller pockets, tasting less like cake and more like an omelette bound with some flour. The butter, though whipped, feels greasier on the tongue than IHOP’s. And the syrup? A touch darker perhaps, but every bit as sickly-sweet and artificial. Some bizarre magic takes place when they combine together though; all parts come together to fit each other like a puzzle. The butter lends its body, the sugar lends its sweetness, and the waffles, in turn, absorb their heft. And being (relatively) light, each forkful will keep you going back until you realize your plate is empty.
It’s difficult to compare—let alone pick a winner—between these two, given the difference in style. IHOP’s big, fluffy waffles will satisfy those who’re looking to fill up for the long day ahead, while Pancake House’s thinner, crisper version makes for a good mid-meal dose of something sweet. Go by your own preferences here. Whichever one you choose, don’t even think of holding back on the butter and syrup.