Cover Mirror members Anson Kong and Anson Lo in pancake form (Photo: Gloria Chung)

Pun intended—when talented food stylist Gloria Chung was asked to create portrait pancakes of Mirror members Anson Lo and Anson Kong, she picked up a few key tips and tricks

It’s Pancake Day, aka Shrove Tuesday, and a day to indulge in the holy trinity of fat, sugar and carbs. Personally, I love a short stack drenched in salted butter and lashings of maple syrup, preferably with a side of crispy bacon, but reserve no judgement for those who opt for thin, wispy crepes—or any other pancake alternative out there. There are places to get your fix (if you prefer to leave it to the experts) but, if you’re up for a challenge, then there’s always the art of pancake portraiture.

Food stylist Gloria Chung, of The Props Department, was set the task of mastering what we’re officially dubbing ‘fancakes’—edible likenesses of Hong Kong’s hottest boyband du jour, Mirror. After flipping her fair few for the job, she shared with us her tips and tricks for creating your own Mirror-image pancakes—or whoever you want to pay homage to through batter, butter and syrup.

See also: Flipping Crepes with Five French Chefs in Hong Kong

Tatler Dining Hong Kong (TDHK): First off, Gloria—how do you like your pancakes, and what kind do you fancy? 

Gloria Chung (GC): I love fluffy buttermilk pancakes or ricotta pancakes. It’s just so satisfying with real maple syrup and lots of butter. I am a purist when it comes to pancakes. I like minimal toppings and keep it to sugar, fat and more fat! Hence, I also like crepes with butter and sugar—the best way to savour a piece of hot, eggy, buttery pancake. But if if I have to, I will add banana, cream and chocolate.

TDHK: There’s clearly an art to the perfect pancake. So what’s the one thing people always get wrong about making them? 

GC: People always over-mix. For traditional pancakes, when you mix the wet and dry ingredients, whisk the mixture until it’s just moistened. A few small lumps are fine. Let the batter sit for a while before cooking. However, for the Mirror pancakes, I did mix the batter very well so it could be piped, and that’s how the faces turn out perfectly smooth. 

Above Mirror members Anson Lo and Anson Kong—and their pancake likenesses—feature in a commercial for Prudential Hong Kong

Another tip is to make sure that, whatever oil you are using, you spread it evenly on the pan with a kitchen towel. You don’t actually need much oil for pancakes. Cooking with too much might actually result in an oily taste that overwhelms the lovely eggy buttery flavour of the pancake.  

Also, make sure the heat is consistent. Do not cook with high heat. You might burn the surface before its cooked . Patience is the key to a good pancake. 

TDHK: What pan do you use for your pancakes? 

GC: I used a Bruno pan for my Mirror pancakes. I used the new model with a heating plate instead of wire so the heat is more evenly distributed, hence a more evenly coloured pancake for the faces.

When its not for specific work, I also use cast iron pans for pancakes. I find the resulting crust better and it just taste better than using a non-stick pan . 

TDHK: Is it true that the first pancake is always a failure? 

GC: A proven fact!

TDHK: What was the most difficult part of the process of making these detailed Mirror pancakes? 

GC: Time was the most difficult part. I had less than 10 days to test and I was working on other projects, too. So after 12-14 hours of work, I had to go back to studio and continue testing. From the consistency of the pancake dough, to the colour of their faces and hair, every detail is a tedious process of testing. 

Another problem is the icing bottle and tips. I found it really hard to get the exact ones that  pancake artists are using. I got something similar at the end but it is still not as delicate and small. 

Oh, I also always mix up where Anson Kong’s mole is! Because I have to imagine the face when its flipped. I think his signature mole is next to his right eye….maybe…

TDHK: Walk us through the process of making these Mirror face pancakes.

GC: Mix the batter, and then divide your mixture into different batches to mix with different colours. I used a mixture of food colouring and chocolate powder. Anson Kong’s hair has three colours, and the two Anson’s complexions are different shades, too. Fill them into icing bottles fitted with a fine nozzle. Heat your pan and start drawing the outline and details of the face and hair with the darkest colour, followed by a lighter colour. And then fill the spaces with the lightest batter. Cook and flip!

I would say Anson Lo is a little bit easier to make because he has more distinctive features that can be easily “cartoonised”  thanks to his heart-shaped hairstyle, his pointy chin, and his lips are also quite distinctive. I spent a lot of time comparing their faces with other Mirror members’ faces—only in this way I found their special features. For example, Anson Kong’s face is comparably more squareish and he has a wider jawline. His eyes are closer together, too. 

The way I chose to make their pancake makes every piece different. I think I made 100 of them on the day of shooting, and even more before shooting. At the end of the shoot, my fingers were numb. My thumb was bruised because I pressed the icing bottle too hard and too long!

TDHK: During the filming, the two Ansons had to try their hand at making their own pancakes—who did better?

GC: Haha, I think Anson Kong made it better! After all, he had a show about cakes and sweets recently.

TDHK: Where do you like to go for pancakes in Hong Kong and around the world?

Bills in Tokyo—not the branches in London or Australia. The one in Tokyo is the best as their pancakes have much better egg flavour. I also love the massive ricotta hotcakes from Top Paddock in Australia, and any crepes with butter and sugar in Brittany melts my heart. 

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.