Taste Test

Battle of the Breakfasts: IHOP Waffles vs. Pancake House Waffles

January 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?


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.


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.

This is the first round of our IHOP vs. Pancake House battle, the smoke has cleared but we’re pitting  french toast and pancakes in the following rounds. Are you ready for round 2?
Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

6 comments in this post SHOW

6 responses to “Battle of the Breakfasts: IHOP Waffles vs. Pancake House Waffles”

  1. Anonymous says:

    You pit them out but no winner? Gumawa ka pa ng article. Pepper.ph isnt what it used to be

  2. Cath says:

    It isn’t a battle if no one wins.

    • Patricia Baes says:

      Hi Cath! It was difficult to choose a single winner on this round given the difference in style. Both are good in their own right, and whichever is “better” will depend on personal preference than on a single standard. Hope that makes sense. Which one do you prefer though? 🙂

  3. Unknown says:

    I worked at Pancake House before. And currently working in IHOP. For me Golden brown waffle of Pancake house is better. But i love my job hahahaha

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love pancake house❤️

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