The first time I tried Martabak was when I went to Medan, Indonesia, for a good friend’s wedding in 2019.
For the uninitiated, Martabak is one of Indonesia’s most popular and authentic street foods and resembles our local version of Min Jiang Kueh.
I distinctly remember how sweet and delicious this hearty dessert tasted - filled with oozy, gooey chocolate and sugary, condensed milk goodness.
That’s why I was excited to try out Gading Street Food’s Martabaks when my colleague informed me that they had invited us down to their newly opened store at 313@Somerset.
Previously located at Lucky Plaza, Gading Street Food is an Indonesian restaurant that aims to serve up the most authentic Martabak in Singapore by using the finest ingredients from Indonesia.
Read on to find out if their Martabaks could match up to or even surpass the one I had tried in Medan.
Gading Street Food
Upon reaching Gading Street Food at basement 3 of 313@Somerset, I was greeted by Wawan Lee, the friendly owner of the restaurant.
Lee and his wife started Gading Street Food in 2018, right before the pandemic started.
Their love for food and Indonesian cuisine can be tasted in Lee’s Martabak creations, which are made using his own in-house recipe that has been tweaked and worked on to perfection.
While Gading Street Food has over 12 Martabak flavours on their menu, these are the three flavours I tried:
- Martabak Taro
- Martabak Classic Nutella Cheese Peanut
- Tipker Classic (Classic Crispy Martabak)
Those who are kaypoh to find out more can check out the restaurant’s full menu here:
Lee got me started on my food adventure by giving me a tour of his small but cosy kitchen, explaining to me that all the ingredients he uses have been specially imported from Indonesia.
This is to ensure the highest levels of authenticity in his Martabaks and to give customers a true taste of what real Martabak, done Indo-style, is like.
As Lee proceeded to prepare the Martabaks, he told me that it takes approximately 10 minutes to cook one thick Martabak.
“Go over time and it will become too hard. Go under time and it will not be cooked properly.”
The amount of heat used for cooking the Martabak must also be just right, as heat that is too high will cause the Martabak skin to become thick and hard, while heat that is too low will result in uncooked batter.
Despite Martabak being a simple street dish, it requires a lot of skill to cook well, which explains its pricing.
And what makes a good Martabak, well, good?
“It has to have honeycomb and be thick, bouncy and light. It cannot be dense,” says Lee.
Following this, he started preparing the Classic Crispy Martabak.
According to Lee, Martabak with thin skin is more difficult to make compared to Martabak with thick skin because of two reasons:
- It is even more imperative for the heat to be exact
- You have to scoop excess dough from the pan so that when you plate it, it won’t be soggy
Compared to thick Martabak, thin Martabak also requires less batter and only a five minute cooking time.
After 10 minutes, Lee scooped the two thick Martabaks from their pans and onto round, wooden boards.
It was time to add the fillings!
The first thing Lee lathered onto the Martabaks was decadent, creamy, Dutch butter.
He explained that butter is needed to make the Martabak fluffy and juicy and provide a solid base for the rest of the fillings.
Next, he added a generous spread of Nutella onto the original flavoured Martabak:
… Followed by a generous spread of Taro cream onto the Taro flavoured Martabak:
Shredded cheddar cheese was then added onto the original flavoured Martabak, followed by a generous portion of roasted ground peanuts:
Lee finished the dish by drizzling condensed milk all over the ingredients and folding the Martabak into half:
Likewise, the Taro Martabak was doused with a generous serving of shredded Cheddar cheese:
… And finished off with a substantial amount of condensed milk:
The end products:
Filling up the Classic Crispy Martabak replicated the exact same steps as the Martabak Classic Nutella Cheese Peanut.
Add the Nutella, followed by shredded cheddar cheese and condensed milk:
Final touch - sprinkle the nuts:
And Voila - thin, crispy Martabak ready for tasting:
When it came down to the tasting, I can quite confidently say that all three Martabaks tasted just as good, if not even better, than the one I had in Medan.
The Classic Crispy Martabak was crispy, crunchy and not cloyingly sweet, making it my favourite Martabak of the three.
My second favourite was the Martabak Classic Nutella Cheese Peanut.
The Nutella and cheese complemented the chewy pancake so well, with the former’s generous fillings and latter’s honeycomb texture making for an addictive treat.
The salty and sweet flavours of the Taro Martabak were also delicious, although I would have preferred it if it was less sweet.
If, like me, you are worried that your Martabak will be too sweet, fret not.
Sweetness levels can be customised according to these three tiers:
- Less sweet
- No sweet
That’s not all.
All of Gading Street Food’s Martabaks can be kept for up to one week in the refrigerator and eaten either cold or heated up, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to finish a single serving of Martabak.
And don’t just take my word for it - check out the plethora of rave reviews from customers on Google:
How to go
Address: 313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Rd, B3-10A, Singapore 238895
Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm daily
This sponsored article by Gading Street Food let this writer try some seriously delicious and authentic Martabaks for free.
Top images via Melanie Lim and Michelle Chew