Apam Balik a Versatile Pancake

A type of street food 

Apam Balik has a pancake taste that is loved by many Malaysian.

It has a dark brown crust with fillings of crushed groundnut, sugar and creamy sweet corn. 

Apam Balik Besar a Malaysian Delicacy
Apam Balik is a type of pancake.

The Apam Balik is another street food that is introduced to us at a very young age. 

We can find the Apam Balik hawker stall available in the morning wet market or night market (pasar malam).   

Hawker usually cooks Apam Balik using a customized stove consisting of three to six-round non-stick plates. 

While waiting for our orders, we watch how it cooks to kill time.  We look at the fast movement of the hawker to cook the Apam Balik.

One can memorize the steps that the hawker do since we buy repeatedly from the same hawker.

Hawker-style of cooking Apam Balik

Firstly, the hawker heats the plate, then greases it with margarine. After that, he put batter on the hot plate. 

When the batter is half quarter cooked,  the hawker swiftly sprinkles the sugar followed by crushed groundnut and sweet corn. 

When Apam Balik is fully cooked, the hawker folds the pancake and becomes half round. 

The action where we turn over the pancake is where the name comes from. 

Apam Balik is literally named as a turnover pancake

The Apam Balik is placed on parchment paper, put in a plastic bag and were given to customer.    

They only make the Apam Balik once the customer ordered it, as the Apam Balik tastes better when eating fresh. 

The ingredients

The basic ingredients for Apam Balik are classified into two types of ingredients.

One is known as wet ingredients and another is dry ingredients

The wet ingredients consist of egg, butter, water, sugar and vanilla essences. 

While the dry ingredients are wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Firstly, the dry ingredients need to be sifted in a bowl and put aside.

In another bowl, whip the sugar and egg with a whisk in a clockwise direction until pale yellow. Add in vanilla essence, yellow food coloring and melted butter.

Put the sifted dry ingredients in the wet ingredient mixture and add water. Stir it lightly until the batter mix together. 

A glimpse of my memory

In the seventies, I used to buy Apam Balik at the hawker stall when I felt like eating. At the time it cost 10 cents Singapore currency. 

I keep buying from hawkers whenever I want until my cousin taught me how to make one.

Those days, the filling contained only sugar and sesame seed.

Filling of Apam Balik

In the early days, the filling of Apam Balik was simple according to the ingredients that were available in the traditionally Malay kitchen.

Now, the filling of Apam Balik are varieties to suite different tastes of younger generations. 

Below is the series of filling of Apam Balik from the 70s till today. 

The 70s

  • Sugar and sesame seed
  • Sugar and crushed groundnut

The 90s

  • Sugar, crush groundnut and creamy sweet corn 

The 2000s 

  • Chocolate spread
  • Cheese spread

Two versions of Apam Balik 

Apam Balik has two versions, one is Apam Balik Besar and Apam Balik Kecil

Apam Balik Kecil means it is small in size and the texture is crispy. 

The reason behind this version is using a small non-stick pan used to cook the batter. 

Meanwhile, Apam Balik Besar means it is big and the texture is soft. 

Since we are using the large non-stick pan to cook the batter, it will yield a bigger size of Apam Balik. 

The fillings that we place are usually more and need to be cut to eat it. 


The Apam Balik can be enjoyed for breakfast or teatime.

The Apam Balik is passed down from generation to generation as a heritage food and it should not be forgotten.

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