Pancake cereal haunted me for nearly two weeks before I caved into it. I had spent nearly three years pitching viral food videos, blurting out Frankenstein-y concoctions like “Philly Cheesesteak Nachos!” only to go back to my desk to figure out what the hell I just invented. I thought that phase of my life was over. But, to quote tweens everywhere, “It’s not ‘just a phase, Mom.’” I couldn’t help but smile as dozens of bowls of thumbprint-sized pancakes filled my TikTok feed. I’d be late to the party, sure, but I wasn’t going to miss out. And that seems to be a feeling we’re all having right now.
While most viral food trends are pretty flash-in-the-frying-pan, pancake cereal has had some staying power. Even now, it remains a trending hashtag on the video-sharing platform, with tagged posts netting a collective 941 million views and climbing. Searches for “mini pancake cereal” are up 180 percent, according to Google Trends, and it’s not just that one dish—every week, it seems, a new dish takes over people's TikTok feeds, inspiring countless videos.
First, it was Dalgona coffee, a combination of instant coffee, sugar, water and milk popularized first in South Korea, before taking the world by storm. Its fluffy topping sparked a series of other whipped drinks, like whipped strawberry milk. Before long, the platform best known for sharing dancing videos became a source for surprise-and-delight recipes requiring just a few ingredients: White Claw Slushies, which just require fruit, ice and hard seltzer; the aforementioned pancake cereal and froggy bread, an unexpected riff on all of the quarantine baking people have been doing (that, well, looks like an amphibian once baked).