But maybe you’re not here for those smaller details — you’d like to know what to expect when they get served to you. Flan is a dessert made by taking eggs, milk, sugar, and sometimes vanilla and adding it into a base of caramelized sugar (which is really just a fancy term for burnt sugar). Then you bake the entire mixture in the oven and, when it’s done, you flip the flan over so that the caramel ends up on the top.
Egg pudding has a few different versions depending on whether you’re in China, Japan, or elsewhere. A common Chinese egg pudding involves steaming up eggs, sugar, and water or milk on the stove to create a silky dessert that’s much less firm than flan. But they’re not all that different in the end. In Japan, the most popular “egg pudding” is called purin. But despite being called pudding, it’s technically custard, and it’s a regional variant of flan.