Martabak: A Street Snack From Indonesia

It is common to find motabbaq, a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread, across the Arabian Peninsula and Southeast Asia, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, and BangladeshNames and ingredients might vary greatly depending on the locale. The Arabic word for "folded" is mutabbaq. It is a well-liked street cuisine in Singapore, Yemen, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. A common description of murtabak is as a spicy folded omelette pancake with bits of vegetables. Murtabak is most frequently made from pan-fried crepes that have been folded and sliced into squares after being filled with minced meat, beaten eggs, leeks, chives, or green onions. One of the most well-liked street dishes in Indonesia is murtabak, also known as martabak. 

Murtabak, which is typically eaten with curry or gravy, sliced cucumber, syrup-pickled onions, or tomato sauce, was originally sold in Malaysian Indian Muslim restaurants and stalls. It typically contains minced meat (beef or chicken, occasionally goat meat, mutton), along with garlic, eggs, and onions. The meal is marketed all around the nation and has been adapted by Malay Muslim vendors as well, with numerous variations in ingredients and cooking methods. Murtabak frequently comprises mutton or goat meat in Yemen. 

There are vegetarian murtabaks and other varieties of murtabaks, including those with chicken and other fillings, and they are available in many Yemeni and Indian Muslim restaurants in Singapore, notably those along Arab Street and Little India. 

Martabak is a well-known street snack in Indonesia that is available in two varieties: Martabak Manis and Martabak Telur. The original Martabak Manis, also known as Terang Bulan, is a thick, sweet pancake that is typically covered with a variety of ingredients, including chocolate, cheese, peanuts, condensed milk, sesame seeds, and margarine. International favourites including Skippy Peanut Butter spread, Ovomaltine, Toblerone, Lotus Biscoff, and Durian Spread are among the toppings available for martabak today. In recent years, Martabak Manis has also become available in a thin, crispy variety called Martabak Tipis Kering (Tipker). The savoury variety of Martabak Telur is a type of crispy pancake that includes eggs, chicken or beef meat, and scallions. 


The Arabic term mutabbaq means "folded." This implies that Murtabak may have come from Yemen, which had a sizable Indian population, and spread to Indian traders' home nations. Muslim Tamil traders brought Murtabak to Southeast Asia. The multi-layered pancake meal known as murtabak was developed in Kerala, the home of the so-called "mamaks" (mama means "uncle" in Tamil). The word "mutabar" is the traditional name for the specific dish known as "murtabak" in other tongues and dialects. The phrase "mutabar" is a combination of the Keralite word for egg, which is a key ingredient in the dish, and the word "bar," which is an acronym for the word barota, also known as "bratha roti" (the bread). In Hindi, the bread or pancake used as a basis is referred to as a "pratha roti," "pratha," or "parantha." In addition, "murtabak" is a well-known variation of the Mughlai paratha eaten in Kolkata, India. 

Similar variations of the bread can be found in Yemen, other Arabic-speaking countries, and Persia. Since Indian traders travelled to all of these locations in the Middle East centuries ago, it is not unusual for them to have exchanged culinary knowledge and techniques or adopted one another's culinary customs. The multi-layered pancake with flavours of egg, chilli, and onion was originally known as "mutabar," though.