Our Most Popular Instagram Reel Is an Elvis-Inspired Pancake

A very triggering dish (if you have trypophobia, beware), the cabbageware everyone covets, and more things our community is crazy for right now.

July  6, 2023
Photo by Mandy Lee

If you have trypophobia, fair warning—the dish I’m about to discuss (and that’s pictured here) may make you recoil. On our Instagram this spring, Food52 resident Mandy Lee revealed her riff on a street food staple whose variations are found across Asia. Called martabak, the pancake can be sweet or savory, thick or thin, and stuffed or topped with everything from fruit to peanut butter to meat.

Mandy, who films her Escapism Cooking series in her Hong Kong kitchen, combined three of these fillings—bananas, peanuts, and bacon—in her Elvis-inspired martabak, sparking intrigue and wonder among our followers. It has since become our most-popular Instagram Reel, ever.

“This killed Elvis,” joked @that_uhhhh_max.

But for some, the graphic closeup of the pancake's interior wasn't funny; it was the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

“This sounds delicious—but I’ll have nightmares about the texture in the closeup for weeks,” said @livfalc.

In fact, it brought to light a little-known fear triggered by the sight of a cluster of small holes or bumps. The first one to call it was @jeffriescandace, who issued a “Trypophobia warning ⚠️.”

Some felt seen: “I thought I was the only one 😖,” said @candywrappingapproved. Others debated whether this was a real phobia. In truth, for most people it's just an aversion—the word was coined not by a medical professional, but in an online forum in 2005. And for the record, Mandy calls the pockets of air in a martabak “vertical shafts,” a phrase that also sparked a few chuckles.

So far, Mandy's newest video for a Laotongguan-Style Xi’an Burger has not had the same polarizing effect. Everyone just wants to know how to make the English mufflin-like bun—you can find the recipe, here.

What’s on Your Wish List

Growing up my mother was a consummate collector, and cabbageware was one of her most memorable obsessions. But these leafy green dishes are just one part of Bordallo Pinheiro’s dinnerware collection; the Portugal ceramics maker also fashions plates in the form of fruit and flowers like these Flower Dessert Plates, which are almost too pretty to use. Clearly, I’m not the only one in love with them: In the past two weeks, the plates were among the most saved products in our community’s collections. They’re so popular we’ve temporarily sold out of two styles, but they will all be back in stock later this month.

What’s on Their Wish List

Not everyone has an eye for design and styling the perfect table setting. That’s why we like to see the pieces that popular creators pull together from our Shop. Nisha Vedi Pawar, aka @lovelaughmirch, curated a summer essentials collection filled with botanical Les Indiens melamine plates inspired by vintage Indian textiles, while the sisters behind Food Dolls, Alia and Radwa Elkaffas, picked out their favorite decor, cookware, and gadgets that lean heavily into Scandinavian minimalism.

I’ll Have What Erin Jeanne McDowell Is Having

The latest episode of Bake It Up a Notch has dropped, and the star of the show, beyond Erin Jeanne McDowell herself, is Erin’s new Kansas City home. She gives us a tour of her massive kitchen, the gifts that fans have made and mailed to her, and a secret porthole to her neighbor’s yard. (She also bakes up a delicious Mille-Feuille.)

For all of our Instagram followers who were wondering what she’s drinking in the episode, it’s called a Shakeup, a popular Midwest drink, and she’ll be sharing a recipe for a special Shakeup using sour cherry syrup in a future episode.

See all our new videos on YouTube here.

Join the Food52 Clubs

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with our Cookbook Club and Baking Club. Each month the members of these private Facebook groups share reviews and pictures of their favorite recipes as they cook through a new book. Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling is the cookbook selection for July, and so far, its grilled meats, smoky salsas, and fresh salads have fetched rave reviews (I can also personally vouch for how outstanding it is). Over in the Baking Club, one member attempted the Lemon and Elderflower Wedding Cake from Clair Ptak’s Love is a Pink Cake—and served at Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding—and it did not go well. Regardless of the results, both clubs are a great way to get inspired by other passionate cooks and to introduce new dishes to your rotation.

A Mostarda For All Seasons

Ten years ago, longtime community member AntoniaJames shared a “recipe” for mostarda, an Italian condiment similar to a chutney. It’s still in heavy rotation today, as evidenced by the questions that members continue to ask about the dish (all of which she answers quickly)! Give it a whirl with grilled chicken, sausages, and pork chops—it’s easily adapted for summer dishes using fresh nectarines and peaches.

Your BFF in the Kitchen

I asked our community on the Hotline and on Instagram for their number one cleaning tip, and the most recommended product among all was Bar Keeper’s Friend. A few of you also raved about the power of baking soda and vinegar, but a community member and onetime chemistry major explains why this really doesn’t work the way we think it does.

For our next community sourced story, I’d love to know: What’s your best (and easiest) weeknight meal?

Join The Food52 Collective

If you’ve made it this far, you clearly love our community on Food52, and our new community-focused group, the Food52 Collective, is a great way to connect with other members. We chat about the recipes and products you like via Slack (it's easy to set up, I promise), and I share the early word on sales and special events, too.

What was your favorite discovery this week on Food52? Let us know in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lynn D.
    Lynn D.
  • Nicole Davis
    Nicole Davis
Nicole Davis

Written by: Nicole Davis

Contributing Editor, Food52


Lynn D. July 10, 2023
Because of its title I was not inclined to click on this article. I'd read enough about the Martabak, thank you. But I'm glad I did or I would have missed Erin McDowell's delightful house and kitchen tour. In my opinion, each topic in this article warranted its own separate article. Just my opinion
Nicole D. July 10, 2023
I really appreciate the feedback Lynn! I will definitely be varying the subjects of this post, and will keep your suggestion in mind regarding breaking these into individual stories! Feel free to reach out with any more requests, I love to get them: [email protected].