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Apam balik

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Apam balik
A giant apam balik variation
Alternative namesBan Jian Kuih (Tâi-lô: bàn-tsian-kué), Chin Loong Pau, Min Chiang Kueh, Martabak Manis, Peanut Pancake, Terang Bulan, Martabak Bangka, Kue Bandung, Apam Pulau Pinang, Kuih Haji, Kueh Singapura, Kuih Malaya, Khanom Thang Taek, Khanom Pot Khwai, Khanom Hua Lat, Khanom Bale
Place of originFujian, China[1][2]
Region or stateEast and Southeast Asia
Associated cuisineChina, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
Main ingredientsFlour, hot water, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, sugar, eggs, peanut, margarine, butter

Apam balik (lit.'turnover pancake') also known as martabak manis (lit.'sweet murtabak'),[3] terang bulan (lit.'moonlight'), peanut pancake or mànjiānguǒ (Chinese: 曼煎粿), is a sweet dessert originating in Fujian cuisine which now consists of many varieties at specialist roadside stalls or restaurants throughout Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.[4] It can also be found in Hong Kong as (Chinese: 冷糕), Taiwan as (Chinese: 麥仔煎), Southern Thailand as Khanom Thang Taek (ขนมถังแตก) and in the Sulu Archipelago, Philippines as Tarambulan.


The origins of Apam balik / 曼煎粿 attributes its invention to Zuo Zongtang, a military leader of the late Qing dynasty. In 1855, the army of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom invaded the Fujian region and General Zuo was appointed to lead an army to crush the rebels. To provide the soldiers with food without interfering the life of local people, General Zuo decided to switch from the flatbread which was eaten together with spring onion and chilli sauce, to a pancake that used locally sourced and mass-produced ground cane sugar and peanut as filling.[5]

The recipe does seem to have spread throughout the Fujian region, especially around Quanzhou and later on throughout Southeast China. It was brought south into Southeast Asia or Nanyang by Hokkien and Teochew immigrants, especially to Singapore, and merchants spread it to neighbouring regions.[1]

Other names[edit]

The dessert is also known by various names in different languages, depending on the region.


More recent Indonesian terang bulan with various toppings.

Malaysia and Singapore[edit]

  • Ban Jian Kueh (Tâi-lô: bàn-tsian-kué) (Hokkien, in general for both countries)
  • Dai Gau Min (大塊麵) (Cantonese, in Perak)
  • Chin Loong Pau (煎弄包) (Cantonese, in Kuala Lumpur/Selangor)
  • Kap Piang 合餅 (Hakka, in Sabah)
  • Mak Pan 麥粄 (Hakka, in general for both countries)[7]
  • Apam Pulau Pinang (Malay, in Penang)[3]
  • Kuih Haji (Malay, in certain areas)
  • Apam Balik (Malay, in certain areas)
  • Apong (Malay, in Kelantan)
  • Apang Balek (Malay, in Terengganu and in certain areas of Pahang)
  • Apom Balek (Malay, in Kedah)
  • Terang Bulan (Malay, in Sabah)


  • Kuih Malaya/Singapura (Malay, in Brunei), named during the colonial era when masses of Chinese emigrants went to the region in places such as Singapore


Hong Kong[edit]

  • 冷糕 (Cantonese)
  • 砂糖夾餅 (Cantonese)


  • Min Chiang Kueh/Min Jiang Kueh (Teochew, in Singapore)[8]
  • Peanut Pancake (麵煎粿) (Singapore)


  • 麥仔煎 (Taiwanese Hokkien)



The pancake's batter is made from a mixture of flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, coconut milk and water.[6] The batter is cooked upon a thick round iron frying pan in plenty of palm margarine to avoid it sticking to the pan. Then other ingredients are sprinkled as filling; the most common or traditional is crushed peanut granules with sugar and sweetcorn kernels (available from cans), but modern innovations such as chocolate sprinkles and cheddar cheese are also available.[6] Then, the pancake is folded (hence the name: "turnover pancake") and cut into several pieces.[11]

In Indonesia there is a smaller version made with smaller pan, they are called martabak mini or terang bulan mini.

The texture of the apam balik can vary depending on the amount of batter and type of pan used, from one that is akin to a crispier form of crumpets to small thin light pancake shells that break when bitten (the latter is usually called apam balik nipis, 'thin apam balik').

There is a Peranakan variant, the apom balik, that closely resembles the Indonesian Serabi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "傳統小吃滿煎糕的由來" (in Chinese). renminbao.info. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  2. ^ "每日一識-板煎嗲 @ 午間食客 C'est Qiutian :: 痞客邦 ::". 20 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Deliciously Unique Pancakes..." The Malaysia Pancake Co. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  4. ^ Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. Lonely Planet. 2010. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-1-74104-887-2. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  5. ^ Dadoun, Sarah-Eden (27 August 2020). "Apam Balik". 196 Flavors. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Martabak Manis Alias Kue Terang Bulan". Femina (in Indonesian). Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  7. ^ "閩客語典藏::客英大辭典查詢結果".
  8. ^ "12 places to get fluffy & nostalgic Min Jiang Kueh in Singapore from S$0.70". Confirm Good. 19 October 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  9. ^ "The Flavors of Zamboanga: A Foodie Tour". windowseat.ph. 13 April 2023. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Exploring Tawi-Tawi: The Sparkling Pearl of Southern Philippines". janisnarvas.com. 13 April 2023. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  11. ^ Rondoletto. "Indonesian Sweet Martabak / Terang Bulan". Food.com.