Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Martabak San Francisco

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

"Martabak San Francisco", the title of this post and the food stall you see in the picture, is not the name of an American food or fast food chain. This stall sells Martabak, a local food found mainly in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. San Francisco is a local Bandung trademark. I don't know why the owner picked San Francisco as the trademark for the kind of food he sells. It could be because San Francisco is a well-known city (I know it's beautiful too) in the most powerful country in the world, hence he probably expected that the product would be associated with something big and good, like the martabak he sells.

There are two kinds of Martabak: Martabak Telor (literally, egg martabak) and martabak manis (sweet martabak). They are two different kinds of food, despite the similarity in their names.

The former is a crepe-like dish filled mainly with vegetables, meat, and eggs. Martabak telur is made by filling the ingredients (the filler) in a very thin filo pastry-like skin and frying it on an almost flat custom-made heavy wok. It is usually eaten with pickles or cucumber and a dark brown sauce made of vinegar and palm sugar. If you are curious what this food looks like, you can look at this flickr picture.

The latter (martabak manis) is a thick sweet pancake topped with a variety of possible ingredients, like cheese, chocolate, crushed peanuts, condensed milk and sesame seeds. Here is the picture.

Martabak telor is said to have originated from India. Some varieties of Martabak can also be found in Malaysia and Singapore (where it is called Murtabak).

Interested in trying? Here are the links to the recipes of Martabak Telor and Martabak Manis. Bon apetit - Selamat makan!

Wikipedia and others.


Julie said...

I noticed your question about the July Theme Day on the Wellington NZ CDP blog.

You need to register. To do this, go to the CDP portal and look at the drop down menus along the top. I think it is something like the second menu from the left. It is easy to follow the prompts. Theme Day is always the first day of the month. You can usually register a few months ahead which gives you time to work up an image.

Good luck with August ...

... said...

Interesting foods - I might indeed give them a try, although I feel like I gained weight just reading your descriptions. I can only assume they are guilty pleasures...

I've really enjoyed reading about this Culinary Festival.

julia said...

Selamat pagi!
San Francisco that is confusing. Will we see you next theme day?

meles meles said...

is it possible the Martabak vendor named it "san francicso" after the saint and not the city?

dallas daily photo said...

That is very interesting. I think it's very smart of the owner to name it like that. Makes it unforgettable.

Anonymous said...

I must say this photograph captures the happiness of people. Look at those smiles. You are doing a fine job with your photography, Eki.

—Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Chris said...

Martabak telor and martabak manis both sound delicious. I think I might prefer the manis because it isn't fried, although the other sounds good, too.

I see you're in education. . .What do you teach?

Murphy_jay said...

Hi Eki, thanks for the detailed description of both Martabaks.

And yes, the murtabak we have in Malaysia is more of the Telor kind.

Waldo Oiseau said...

Martabak sounds delicious and how wonderful that it's versatile enough to be either sweet or savory. Great post, thanks for sharing a little bit about a food from your country.

Andri Setiawan said...

In some countries, they called it Murtabak :)

by d way, nice picture. I need to learn from you more, as I'm still newbie in photography

akhmad kun said...

Very Interesting Description. The Latter (Martabak Manis) is known as Terang Bulan in Surabaya, it's yummy and very delicious.

though, I prefer the Telor :D