These Hacks Take Your French Toast To The Next Level

French toast has been making diners happy for a while now. And by "a while," we mean since the Roman Empire. That's when Food & Wine says a collection of recipes found in an ancient Roman cookbook known as the "Apicus" refers to a dish known as "aliter dulcia" or "another sweet dish." Its writer calls for cooks to use "fine white bread, remove the crust, and break it into rather large pieces to prepare the dish, soak in milk and beaten egg, fry in oil, cover with honey and serve." Another version of French toast is said to have come from 14th century Germany, which references coating hardened bread with egg before it's fried. 

While many recipes that involve soaking bread in milk and eggs exist across European cuisines, today's French toast sits closest to France's pain perdu. The French dish began as leftover stale bread that was soaked in eggs and milk, then fried and served. Modern French toast can be served in a variety of ways. BBC Good Food lists 10, including topping toasts with icing sugar and berries and combining the toasts with salty bacon. French toast can also be served with spiced banana honey or ricotta cheese and strawberries. Want to branch out from traditionally sweet French toast? Stuff it with a pairing of your choice and serve it with chili.

Hong Kong style French toast

Hong Kong French toast is known as "western toast" in Cantonese. However, the variation is nothing like French toast in the western world. In Hong Kong, French toast is stuffed with a sweet filling between two slices of bread, dipped in beaten egg, then deep-fried, per South China Morning Post (SCMP). Western toast is served at traditional tea shops across the former British colony known as Cha chaan teng, but the concept was pioneered by a street stall owner in 1952. Lam Chun-Chung says, "It was my dad's idea to cut the cost and use kaya or coconut jam instead of the expensive syrup to sweeten the toast. By deep-frying the toast in batter, you melt the consistency of the jam with heat, and as soon as you cut the toast open, the jam oozes out, releasing the coconut aroma. Back then, that was sweet enough. We didn't need to add butter or syrup."

According to Epicurious, the most popular type of this version of French toast is filled with peanut butter, soaked in a milk and egg mixture, fried until golden brown, then topped with butter and condensed milk. One bite of warm, runny peanut butter, crisp bread, and sweet condensed milk will be enough to convince you that making French toast any other way just won't do.