Granny’s Pancake is one of Singapore’s more successful hawker franchises, operating multiple (8, at least…) stalls around the island. The pancakes at the Whampoa branch seem especially popular – not once have I made it out of bed in time to try the peanut butter pancake before it sells out! By my estimation, Granny’s @ Whampoa is one of the best of the hawker offerings, offering quality pancakes at a good price.
There are two factors that determine the quality of a pancake: the pancake itself and the filling. Whereas fillings are usually quite consistent across outlets (I assume they are pre-bought, probably from the same or similar suppliers), the pancake is where the key differences lie. Outlets like Jollibean and Mr Bean tend to charge a premium for pancakes that are thicker and springier than their hawker counterparts. At SGD 1.50 a slice from Jollibean versus SGD 0.80 from Granny’s (both prices have recently been raised), the price differential is significant. Hunting down a good, thick pancake from a hawker centre is, in other words, a source of great satisfaction. Well, it is for me at least…
Granny’s Pancake @ Whampoa
91 Whampoa Drive, #01-28 Whampoa Drive Makan Place, Block 91
Open mornings Monday-Saturday; CLOSED Sunday
RED BEAN PANCAKE (SGD 0.80 per slice; SGD 8.00 for a pan of 12)
Red bean is usually my favourite flavour, but this time it was below par. It was the filling that disappointed. Slightly anaemic to the eyes and a little bland to the taste, it lacked character, especially when compared to previous visits. Such shortfalls are probably because it had been left out a little too long, and therefore lacked freshness. That said, the pancake itself was dense and satisfying.
PEANUT PANCAKE (SGD 0.80 per slice; SGD 8.00 for a pan of 12)
Peanut pancakes are delicious but frustrating. They are such a pain to eat (it is impossible not to spread crumbs all over the table…), but made right and they can induce a state of nutty nirvana. The best peanut fillings are those that have been tampered with – a little extra salt or roasting really goes a long way. This one was generally good. Taste aside, hoovering up the spilt peanut crumbs (those that don’t make it onto the table, of course…) is always an enjoyably redeeming feature; it’s like having two snacks for the price of one.
The star of the show! Usually I shun coconut ‘cakes in favour of the other flavours. There’s something about the bright orange colour (derived from the sugar used to sweeten the coconut, I believe) that I find objectionable. Looks aside, this one really delivered on texture and taste. Coconut ‘cakes are usually the sweetest of the three flavours; for this one the sweetness seemed more natural (i.e. derived from the coconut) than artificial (i.e. derived from the sugar). It was also well-stuffed and pleasingly moist.
Overall, Granny’s is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to hawker pancakes. My expectations are high, and although this visit was a little disappointing compared to previous visits, it did bring with it one very pleasant surprise. Coconut pancakes… Who would have thought!