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By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, May 19: The ever tasty and spicy pancake ‘murtabak’, which is said to originate from Yemen, is a street food that has found its way to the tastebuds of food lovers here.
“During this holy month of Ramadhan, the snack is among many Muslims’ favourites to break fast as it is not too heavy a meal on its own,” said 50-year-old ‘Murtabak Man’ Harun Samat to DayakDaily when met at Stutong Ramadhan Bazaar recently.
Harun, who has been offering this dish for nine years now, said its popularity was growing among locals who fancy spicy snacks.
“I sell my chicken or beef murtabak for RM3.50 a piece,” he shared, adding that murtabak is very filling and often eaten together with curry or other spicy sauces.
Harun said previously, people were all for ‘roti canai’ but now it is murtabak’s turn to rank up the popularity score. Middle Eastern-style kebabs — stuffed flatbread with meat slices and a vegetable salad mix— also has its following, especially among the young.
Harun, who commutes every day from Kampung Niup in Kota Samarahan to Stutong, has been a food operator for nine years.
“I usually sell my murtabak at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar canteen but due to the fasting month, I closed it to join this bazaar.
“I sell about 300 murtabak daily. All leftovers will be given to suraus or mosques for fellow Muslims to have light supper after ‘terawih’ prayers. So, nothing goes to waste,” he said.
Harun said his wife, Fauziah Sepawi, 48, and two sons help him man his stall, adding that they start their preparations around 11am daily.
Every day, he would use up 10 packets of minced chicken and five packets of minced beef, five kilogrammes of potatoes and big onions as the main ingredients for his murtabak.
On the business at the Ramadhan bazaar, he revealed, “Business is slowly picking up. Hopefully, the momentum continues as we are approach midway of the fasting month. It is always the trend, even last year.”
Harun said he had been selling at the bazaar since seven years ago, and he is thankful that he always had a spot to sell his offerings, including murtabak.
“This bazaar helps me to earn extra income for my business before Hari Raya Aidilfitri,” he said.
On the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Harun shared that he looks forward to visiting family members and relatives.
“But for now, my focus is on this stall to look for my ‘rezeki’ first,” he said. — DayakDaily