Modern Martabak

The all-time favorite Indonesian snack has been revisited and given a twist of creativity for the new generation. Let’s take a good look at two of the best new martabak dishes that are currently on the rise.

Martabak can be found anywhere in the archipelago; it’s the go-to evening snack for many and a sinful midnight bite for us here at FoodieS.

It is adapted from Middle Eastern cuisine, called mutabbaq in Saudi Arabia or murtabak in India, a stuffed pancake or panfried bread. It’s one of the great street foods available before dusk, a guilty pleasure that you cannot resist if you have ever had it.

We have two types of martabak here in Indonesia, savory and sweet. The savory martabak is made from duck and chicken eggs, mixed with flour, salt, pepper, minced meat, chopped scallions, onions and garlic. It is then fried to golden perfection and served with spicy sauce, ready to be devoured.

The sweet martabak, also known as terang bulan, is a concentrated sin for anyone with a sweet tooth. Made from a mixture of eggs, flour, salt, baking soda and lots of sugar, it is cooked in an iron pan until it has a thin solid skin not unlike a thick pancake. While the surface is still warm, soft and fluffy, a massive amount of toppings like chocolate sprinkles, peanuts, grated cheese and condensed milk are added. Split in half, then one half folded onto the other, it is finished with a generous brush of margarine for extra sin.

A new generation of vendors are now selling an open, unfolded martabak, which they call martabak pizza, comparing the classing form of martabak to a calzone. This style of serving allows for visually neater presentation and dare we say a more decadent amount of toppings.

There are two rising vendors currently making names for themselves in Jakarta: Martabak Orins and Markobar. Both specialize in martabak pizza and have several shops in Jakarta. Now, we will try to compare both of their special menu items to get an insight into the size, price, topping and, of course, the taste.

We ordered Martabak Orins special large size and the Markobar eight-flavor dish, which are similar in price and size, but have different flavors to offer.

Size-wise, the Orins dish was 24.5 centimeters (cm) in diameter, while Markobar’s option was 21 cm. It sounds like a small difference, but visually it’s a lot. The Markobar one is cut into eight triangular slices just like a pizza, with each topping on each slice, while the martabak from Orins is sliced into more than 14 square pieces. These cuts make it easy for you to enjoy them with friends, or by yourself – we’re not judging.

The Orins dish cost Rp 89,000, quite good value for money considering the quantity. Markobar, smaller in diameter, is Rp 3,000 more expensive.

Admittedly, Markobar uses more expensive ingredients for the toppings: like chocolate sprinkles from Ceres, Toblerone, Delfy chocolate, Silverqueen, Nutella, Kitkat, Cadbury dairy milk, and Kraft cheese.

Orins, however, offers previously unheard of toppings like raisins and sweet corn. These go so well together with the classic toppings of cheese, chocolate sprinkles and ground peanuts. The corn is especially great with the condensed milk taste and the sweet fluffy pancake.

On the martabak base, we think Orins did a better job on texture and taste, while Markobar went with a denser texture and less flavoring on the base.

This round, for us, went to Martabak Orins for its price to size ratio, toppings and taste. The prettier and fancier Markobar, however, could be the perfect company for your next Netflix and chill session.


Jalan Taman Cut Meutia
Menteng, Jakarta
T: +62 813 1716 1705

Jalan Raden Saleh Raya No. 39
Cikini, Jakarta
T: +62 857 7767 3627

Written by Yosua Yanuard Photographs by Yosua Yanuard April 30, 2017.