The French have crepes, the Americans have pancakes, and the Indonesians have martabak – all of which can be sweet and savoury.
It’s admirably generous whenever an expatriate says that they love martabak, especially the sweet kind. You can’t blame them. Locals and tourists alike line up at street vendors to get their hands on these stuffed, pan-fried, thick “pancakes” which are served as a simple, delicious, and heart-warming snack.
A savoury martabak is made with thin, stretched wheat dough overlayed into chicken or duck eggs and a minced chicken or beef filling of more eggs, shallots, and coriander. As for the sweet kind, an egg batter is poured onto a large pan until it forms bubbles as it slowly heats up. Once ready, layers of butter, chocolate sprinkles, grated cheese, a drizzle of condensed milk, and peanuts are added on top, then closed into a crescent and cut into square shapes.
However, more and more unique toppings are added into classic martabak nowadays. Salmon is added to the savoury kind and red velvet batters are used as a base for the sweet kind. Keen to try the innovative variations of martabak in Jakarta? Here are five top martabak vendors in Jakarta you should visit or simply order via GoJek:
1. Martabak Gokil
Gokil is Indonesian slang which means crazy. Hence, Martabak Gokil offers toppings that not only include Nutella and Ovoaltine, but its specialty called The Sweet 16, where 16 types of toppings are added into one whole martabak! Red velvet and pandan flavours are topped off with mandarin orange, longan, cheese, fruit loops, koko krunch, and many more ready to absolutely sweeten up your day. Other than this specialty, Martabak Gokil has experimented with traditional Indonesian pastries, such as klepon and nastar added to a sweet dough. But savoury fans can enjoy the special otak-otak flavoured martabak which has strong hints of fish, like the street food dish, otak-otak.
Address: Sarinah Parking Area. Jl. MH Thamrin RT 8/RT 4. Gondangdia, Kec. Menteng Jakarta Pusat.
Contact: 081803909200 or (021) 3909200.
2. Martabakku Menteng
This martabak vendor has several branches throughout Jakarta. In collaboration with Rons Laboratory, you can relish in their special, gelato-based sweet martabak such as pandan martabak with vanilla gelato, red velvet martabak with cream cheese gelato, taro martabak with taro gelato, and coffee martabak with avocado gelato. As for the savoury kind, MarTel or Martabak Telor (savoury egg martabak), has a level of spiciness that you can choose from so you don’t have to burn you tongue from local chillis.
Address: Menteng Wok Street Food, Jl. HOS Cokroaminoto No.1, Menteng, Jakarta.
Contact: (021) 3915757.
3. Martabak Boss
With 12 outlets scattered throughout Jakarta, Martabak Boss has its classic sweet and irresistable options such as red velvet martabak with white chocolate cream cheese, taro martabak with taro cream cheese, and black martabak with dark chocolate lava. Distinctively, its salmon cheese martabak is highly recommended if you’re not in the mood for too much sweetness. And just like pizzas having thin crust, you can have martabak TipKer or tipis kering (thin and dried) sprinkled with your favourite toppings.
Address: Jl. Panglima Polim 9 No. 24, Melawai, Jakarta.
Contact: (021) 27510559.
4. Martabak Pecenongan 65A
If you’re around Pecenongan, try out this beloved martabak vendor’s eight flavoured martabak that consist of green tea, Nutella, skippy peanut butter, and many more, all laid out flat in its circular shaped. Eat it like a sweet pizza and let the toppings melt in your mouth.
Address: Jl. Pecenongan Raya No. 65A, Pecenongan, Jakarta.
Contact: (021) 3504081.
5. Martabak Bandung Raya
Durian lovers, this is for you! The durian martabak is very much known and beloved at this vendor in South Jakarta because of the fruit’s soft and melting texture as soon as the hot, fluffy batter is cooked. But chocolate, cheese, KitKat green tea, Nutella, and Toblerone are available too for those of you can’t stand the scent and flavour of durian.
Address: Jl. RS Fatmawati No. 22, Fatmawati, Jakarta.
Contact: (021) 7661666.