Dear Reader, do you love martabak that spongey sweet Indonesian sandwich cake with a delicious range of fillings? How about a red velvet martabak? Or a savoury one filled with ramen and sausage? We try out Martabak 109 in Woodcroft.
It was a week ago when Laura messaged me, "How about this martabak place?". "They've got charcoal and red velvet martabak!"
And so begins our Martabak Mission.
A martabak is sometimes referred to as an Asian pancake, and the ones at Martabak 109 are specifically Indonesian martabaks. This street food can be savoury or sweet. Savoury martabaks are enclosed in a thin dough, like a stuffed roti and don't really resemble pancakes while Martabak Manis aka sweet ones are like a pancake sandwich crossed with a crumpet. Each is cut up into squares when served.
Lenny Kenio and her husband William Tan are the couple behind Martabak 109. It's a business based out of their home. He was a chef but gave it up two years ago for this Martabak business. Her parents have restaurants back in West Java. Customers order their martabak and pick up their takeaway martabak from their home in Woodcroft near Blacktown. Laura and I were heading out to Bankstown for lunch and decided that we were going to give the martabak a go since we were in the area.
To order martabak with Martabak109 you need to message them your order via WhatsApp (texts don't get answered I learned that the hard way so it's WhatsApp or nothing). Lenny is always friendly and responds quickly. She has sweet and savoury martabak on offer. Savoury ones come with four fillings: chicken curry, ramen with sausage, minced beef or corned beef with the option of melted mozzarella cheese on top.
Taro martabak $16
With sweet martabak there's a lot of choice. Start by choosing a base: Original, Red Velvet, Chocolate, Pandan, Green tea, Ube Taro, Charcoal or Coffee.
Then pick your filling and these range from cheese aka Kraft cheddar cheese to Lotus Biscoff & Cream Cheese, Cheese & Oreo, Cheese Milo & Peanuts, Oreo & Cream Cheese, Cheese & Chocolate hail, Chocolate & Peanuts & Condensed milk, Ovomaltine & Cheese, Nutella & Cream Cheese, Banana + Chocolate + Cheese & Condensed milk, Cream Cheese & Banana & Kiwi & Condensed milk or the Complete All in one filling with Peanuts + Chocolate + Sesame Seed & Cheese & Condensed milk.
You text them what you want one day in advance and pay by bank transfer. When we go to pick up our martabak she hands us some extra dumplings and offers us a cool respite inside with a cold drink. We demur as we are planning to go to a nearby park to photograph and try our martabak. Then she comes running out holding a container of noodles and soup and says that a customer didn't pick these up so would we like them.
Normally martabaks are enormous and weigh over a kilo. But Lenny had offered to make our sweet martabaks in a smaller pan which she usually doesn't do but she wants us to try as many flavours as possible. We drive to a nearby reserve, put out a tablecloth and eat at the shaded picnic tables.
Ssamyang Korean ramen $20
We start with the savoury martabak. There are two types of savoury martabak and this one is deep fried with a crisp, thin dough on the outside and plenty of ramen and a generous amount of sausage inside. It's rich and carby but very tasty.
Chicken, shallot, onion $20 mozzarella cheese topping $5
The other martabak has a curried chicken, shallot and onion filling and we added melted mozzarella on top. Both of them are generously filled and delicious. They both come with crunchy sweet and salty pickles on the side.
Mie Ayam $12
The noodles are delicious. With a great texture, chicken, mushrooms, greens and a garlicky beef meatball soup on the side. There are more mushrooms than usual as Lenny explains that the person that ordered it wanted more mushrooms.
Pangsit kuah sambal $11 for 6
The dumplings have caramelised garlic on top and are delicate little dumplings filled with jicama or white yam with dried prawns.
Charcoal base cheese, black glutinous rice, condensed milk and butter $16
Then comes the sweet martabak. Even the smaller pan makes around 600grams of martabak. These are thick and spongey in texture. I must admit that I'm more a savoury martabak person than a sweet and can only have a square of sweet martabak before I get too full. This one is an interesting one with a charcoal base, black glutinous rice, sweetened condensed milk and butter. The rice gives it a nice added texture and the martabak serves as a sponge to soak up all the butter and condensed milk.
Taro base with Lotus biscoff, cream cheese, butter and condensed milk $16
We try the taro based filled with Lotus biscoff crumbs, cream cheese, butter and condensed milk. The butter used is a Wijsman preserved Dutch butter that is a salted butter. This is my favourite one as I love biscoff cookies.
Red Velvet base complete (all in one) topping $16
The Red Velvet is a striking looking martabak filled with everything. And by everything we mean EVERYTHING like Peanuts, Chocolate, Sesame Seeds, Cheese and Condensed milk. The cheese used is a mild Kraft cheddar cheese so not overly salty like a traditional cheddar and this one has a real choco-nut vibe so it might be for people that love that chocolate nut combination. The chocolate is actually chocolate hail or sprinkles, from the Dutch influence.
Pandan martabak with cheese with condensed milk and Wijsman butter $16
Lastly there's a pandan martabak with cheese, condensed milk and that salted Dutch Wijsman butter. It's the simplest martabak but the filling allows the pandan flavour to shine through. It's also one of my favourite. Perhaps simple is best!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you tried martabak? Do you prefer savoury or sweet? Would you order from a home food business?
This meal was independently paid for.