Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Two Kinds of Martabak, Indonesia's Ultimate Snack

The ultimate snack. Or supper. Whatever you want to name it.
Martabak telur (savoury fried pancake) fresh from the fryer

We, Indonesians, really love them. If I am a tour guide, I'll recommend these super snacks for every tourist I am guiding.

Martabak is commonly referred for fried stuffed pancakes, but in Indonesia, we have two kinds of it: martabak telur (fried stuffed egg pancake) and martabak manis (sweet pancake with various sweet toppings). Keep reading, I'll explain them further.


Martabak telur (fried stuffed egg pancake)

What is it?

It is savoury pancake, basically. The filling batter is made from eggs (chicken's or duck's or both), some meat (minced beef or corned beef or chicken), spring onions, onions, and some seasoning. The mixture is then enveloped by a thin sheet of martabak skin, which after frying will be uber crispy. If you have been to Mamak in Sydney, you must be familiar with this kind of white, thin sheet.

I will eat martabak telur from any vendor happily, but the best yet I have tasted is the one from Martabak Bandung 79.

Martabak Bandung 79

How is it served?

First, they let you decide how many eggs you want to be included in the batter, and the more eggs the bigger martabak it will be. I usually ask for the duck eggs just because they taste a bit saltier. I noticed that they use minyak samin (ghee) too, probably for extra flavour.

Clockwise from top left: eggs stack, acar (pickles) and spicy dark sauce, minyak samin, duck eggs

The skin is pre-made, so all the maker needs to do is to flip it over and over again until it's thin and wide enough. The batter is then put in the middle, and the skin is folded carefully to envelop the batter perfectly. All of these steps are done on a wide pan, on which the martabak will enjoy an oil bath.

Making the martabak telur

After it is fried to perfect crispiness, the large rectangular goodness is then put into a paper container, packed along with acar (pickled vegetables and bird-eye chilli) and spicy dark sauce.

How does it taste?

Effing good and super addictive. I never feel the urge to share a box of this, really. I can finish them all in one sitting, all alone.

The outer skin is beautifully crispy of course, and flawlessly paired with fluffy innards. The innards are very flavorsome, with delicious nubbins of minced beef.

Martabak telur (2 eggs)

This (kinda heavy) snack is best eaten hot, although the tastiness won't drift away even when it's cool already. The acar and dark spicy sauce are great ointments, and I can't ask for anything better.


How much does it cost?

Some vendors may have higher prices than the others, but this vendor's prices are reasonable, in my opinion. Here's the price list:

Note: $1 equals to IDR 9,500

Where can I find it?

Pretty easy to find it, you can find it at street vendors and sometimes even at restaurants.

Martabak manis (sweet pancake)

What is it?

This one is a huge source of guilty pleasure. Many vendors open their martabak business at night, so that is when we usually buy a huge one, devour all the buttery deliciousness, and then feel guilty afterwards. But believe me, the epicness of this snack is worth the guilty feeling.

Martabak manis or Indonesian sweet pancake is the sweet version of martabak telur. Instead of crispy skin, we have a thick and fluffy pancake, accompanied by generous mountains of toppings such as crushed peanuts, chocolate rice, cheese, jams, and so on.

Again, many sell martabak manis nowadays, but my favourite one is the Bangkanese version. Particularly, Martabak Bangka Ko Amin (Mr Amin's martabak Bangka) in Citra 3 (EDIT 9/7: the vendor has moved to Taman Palem Lestari).

First wave of butter on martabak (pancake)

How is it served?

The pans used are special ones, which can make fluffy middle part and crispy edge. All the maker needs to do is to pour the batter in the hot pan, and lets it cook. When it is almost ready, he then sprinkles a handful of white sugar and let them melts and combines with the pancake.

Making martabak manis (sweet pancake)

And then the butter makes appearance. Spoonfuls of butter are literally dropped on the hot martabak for good measure, and it will melt quickly. The maker (Mr Amin, in this case) usually adds some Wysman butter, which gives great fragrance for the pancake. This is the key of a good martabak, a lot of butter involved. The toppings are generously sprinkled, and I usually choose the half chocolate+peanut & half cheese, but that time the family wanted the chocolate+peanut only.

The aromatic pancake is folded into half-circular shape, and then cut.

Putting all the toppings and cutting

How does it taste?

Sinful, but heavenly delicious. I will have this kind of pancake instead of the English type ones, anytime.

It's super buttery (which is not a bad thing at all), a bit salty, but not sickly sweet. I love the pancake and filling ratio here, it's perfect. The texture is fluffy, except for the crispy edge. I can't find any faults from this martabak.

Martabak manis

How much does it cost?

The martabak from Mr Amin stall is pretty cheap, IDR 25,000 - IDR 35,000 ($2.6 - $3.6) for the large ones, prices depend on the toppings you choose. The prices from other vendors may vary, of course. Taste wise, I really recommend this particular vendor.

Where can I find it?

Like martabak telur, you can find martabak manis very easily around. Some vendors even sell both.


Now stop reading, and buy some for your own late night indulging. And... Somebody send these to Aussie ASAP, please? ;)



Ruko Taman Surya 2 Blok L1 - 35,
Taman Surya
West Jakarta

Phone: (021) 3273 7979


Taman Palem Lestari C5/28
(just across Intermedia stationery shop)
Cengkareng, West Jakarta

Phone (delivery): (021) 6816 1817, 0852 1529 1218

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  1. hey they do sell this in kingsford!

    1. you're kidding! seriously? both?

    2. Yah go to martabak roseberry or something like that. I think they also deliver and they do the thin ones too. They even have black forest/pandan ones heh :)

      The normal martabak is just ok, the martabak manis is pretty good, but you be the judge!

    3. thanks for the info! totally checking them out soon :)

  2. I love martabak! XD
    Bless the people who invented those in the first place, really. I like both types, and usually I always buy both :) I also enjoy watching how they make those stuffs, although sometimes I try not to remember how much butter, sugar and oil they use to make the heavenly food, LOL!

    1. I completely agree! love eating them anytime,really. Yeah, ignoring the amount of fat in the martabak may help decreasing the guilty feeling afterwards :p

  3. Ouuttchhhhh...Your photo makes me hungry !!!!

  4. Thanks for pointing this out Irene! LOVE YOUR PHOTOS! You nailed it even with minimum lighting & tahan malu pasti. =p

    1. My pleasure Rubs! Looking forward to see ur hunting result!
      Thanks a lot, but I reckon you can do better ones! :))

  5. ren,martabak ko amin..klo dr citraland gw kemana ya?pengen bgt nyobain martabak jagoan lo neh..hahaha

    1. susah jelasin disini nih Rob, DM twitter aja gapapa? :)


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