Malaysia – Malaysian Street Food – Apam Balik

Country: Malaysia
Cuisine: Malaysian/Street food
Last visited: April 24-26, 2010
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Address: all over the streets and KL’s Chinatown
Jalan Petaling on Petaling Street in Chinatown
Price Range: $10 or less (super cheap)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Recommendations: Air Mata Kucing, Deep Fried Sweet Potato Balls, Malaysian beef/pork jerky, Fruit Rojak, fresh star fruit juice, Apam Balik – make sure you chose one with a high and crispy edge

I sampled lots of a traditional Malaysian street food while touring Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. My favourite street food out of everything I tried was by far Apam Balik – a Malaysian peanut pancake or Malaysian peanut turnover. I like it so much I’m doing a whole separate post just for it.

OMG just look at that!! How do you not want a bite?!…unless you have peanut allergies…

I watched the man make it step by step and it’s a local favourite Malaysian dessert. I didn’t see it at any restaurants but it’s probably something better on the street. I haven’t even seen it offered at Malaysian restaurants in Vancouver, BC. This is a must try if you’re planning to travel or visit Malaysia. Not to be missed!

These actually come in savoury forms in Indonesia or the Middle East called Murtabak, but I only saw this dessert version in Malaysia. I can only imagine how delicious savoury ones are.

On the street:

This picture just makes me so excited!! Look how big it is before it gets cut! The Apam Balik is on the right and the one in the front is something else. I didn’t try the one in the front because it’s apparently not as good.

**Apam Balik6/6

  • Malaysian peanut pancake or peanut turnover.
  • It’s a traditional Malaysian crispy pancake or crepe with roasted peanut and sugar crumb stuffing.

  • The batter is made from flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and water so it’s actually thicker than a crepe, but not as fluffy as a pancake.
  • He brings the milk in these little plastic bags to work everyday. So cute!…so thankful I didn’t get sick…

  • He pours the batter into this massive pancake griddle and allows it to slowly cook.
  • He then sprinkles handfuls of crumb mixture on top that’s made from roasted peanut crumbs and sugar.

  • He then folds half of it over like an omelette and allows it to cook for a little while longer.

He removes it from the griddle and let’s it cool on the cutting board.

The giant pancake is cut into individual portions.

  • You see those crispy edges? From the batter that comes up the sides of the griddle… that’s one of the best parts, so make sure you choose one with lots of crispy edge!

Mmmmmm just look at all that peanut sugar crumb stuffing!! It was delicious! It’s crunchy, but very fine crumbs that made it soft too.

  • It has a crispy outer edge (like a crepe) and then a chewy soft middle and it’s also kind of sticky. Then you have the crumbly peanut sugar mixture.
  • It’s nutty, not too sweet and just perfect.

  • You can see the texture of it. See how it’s soft and chewy…almost like he used rice flour to make it. I wonder…

He also makes these which are stuffed with something else… but I didn’t try them, which I kind of regret. I was full!! I don’t know the name of them, so if someone could help me out?

15 Comments

  • Canido says:

    i am from Indonesia and Martabak in Indonesia is a bit different from the Malaysian version (I have tried both). Indonesian’s martabak has a more chewy interior and can either be filled with peanut/sesame/sugar mixture or sweet cheddar cheese/condensed milk.

    Savory martabak are more like omelets. =)

  • vivian says:

    OMG those look amazing….i love anything w/ peanuts so i think this is something i will definitely fly there just to taste!

  • ram says:

    hey where’s the best place to buy kuih bangkit ?
    thanks !!!

  • Mijune says:

    Oh in that case wait for tomorrow’s post – well today (Sunday!)….you will LOVE what you see. Not peanuts, but nuts… the thing that sucks is that you can’t find these Malaysian peanut pancakes anywhere in Vancouver 🙁

  • Mijune says:

    Canido – Welcome! Thanks for the tips! Ohhhh sweet cheddar cheese and condensed milk sounds interesting! Do you know what ingredients they use in Indonesia to make it more chewy?

    Ram – Hi there! Are you in Vancouver? I’m not sure where to find these in Vancouver however really good Chinese coconut cookies can be found here…not exactly kuih bankit….however you might be able to find them at this Malaysian specialty grocery store 4910 Joyce Street, Vancouver.

  • Mijon says:

    tempting .. but is the filling really dry? i feel like i’d need a glass of water to alternate bites and sips. i need to keep an eye out for these next time

  • Mijune says:

    It’s almost like eating a rice cake rather than a pancake so it’s not as dry as you would think…although I had a cup of that Dragon Fruit drink with me at the time…so I didn’t realize the dryness if it was. Definitely go try one!

  • TimeToChow says:

    huh… A separate post for pancake.. Wow u must really like it! there is another Chinese version of this Malaysian pancake. It is crepe thin and crispier with similar filling. I also like sweet corn in the filling. But fresh roasted ground peanuts are a must. Sweet fresh young shredded coconut meat is another filling/topping. Maybe an odd thing to say… But reading ur posts I had a feeling that u would have gravitated to liking this.
    Murtabak and apong are very different in Malaysia. Ur right murtabak originated from the middle east, but made it’s way to Malaysia via the Indian immigrants. Murtabak in malaysias is more similar to roti canai with a spiced meat(chicken, mutton) filling and normally serves with curry and pickled onions. There are mamak stalls that offer murtabak.

  • Mijune says:

    I did really like this pancake! Except a seperate post is partly to pay tribute to this man making them… he was so cute and I felt like he tried to “put on a show” as I took pictures… I was a fan lol

    and WHAT?! Coconut!??! That would have been awesome if they put peanuts AND coconut in this! I do love coconut – good call!

    Thanks for some Murtabak history too! I gotta try one next time I’m in Malaysia… or Indonesia… or Middle East!

  • EnbM says:

    Both are “Apong”. The big one is folded (balik or balek) with peanut filling, some with butter/margarine and sugar. The small one is f0lded without any filling, but the batter is sweetened with sugar and sometimes mashed banana added.

    My favorite ‘Apong’ is the type as show in the pictures of this blog.
    The Indian snack ‘Vada or Vadai’ is great too.
    http://www.penangtuapui.com/2009/03/penang-food-greenlane-market-apong/

  • Mijune says:

    ahhhhhh Vada/Vadai!! I took a photo of those at Devi’s Corner!! Now I have a name for them because I was wondering what they were. I think I’ve tried one in a South Indian restaurant before..they’re savoury and dense like a grainy or coarse doughnut…a gritty doughnut!

    That Apong looks amazing!! Like flat crispy discs! Thanks for the tips on the apong I tried…I can update my post more accurately now.

  • Anam says:

    The other one was coconut 🙂 I tried both from him. But the coconut was in the batter not stuffed inside like the peanut one.

  • Mijune says:

    Anam – thanks!! Which did you like better? He is the cutest little man! I bet those other ones would be excellent with coconut actually inside them.. FRESHLY toasted coconut! It’s Malaysia! They’re everywhere anyways!

  • hurm .. pening nyew np tulis bahase ingeris …..kesian saye …hihhi

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