Malay Street Food Popiah Basah Astaka Stadium Penang
Unlike the Chinese Popiah, which is cholesterol-laden peeled crab meat; the Indian Muslim version the Popiah Basah is vegetarian based.
Popiah Basah is a simple dish, they stew the basic ingredients julienne yam bean with turmeric and flavored with knotted pandan leaves (screw pines).
The topping is mashed cooked firm tofu, bits of boiled shrimps and a scattering of fried shallots.
Once rolled and cut into pieces, the seller will smear the popiah with a sweet sauce and douse the dish with a scoop of stewed yam bean soup. Hence the name, Popiah Basah.
Each roll of Popiah Basah cost RM1.00 which makes for a healthy vegetarian snack that is filling with zero fat content.
Uncle Mohd. Nor Makes the Best Popiah Basah
Mohd. Nor has been plying his Popiah Basah dish for the past 30years.
He first started selling this delicacy in Sg. Pinang before moving to Taman Abidin.
His current pit stop is at Astaka Stadium Bandaraya, a Malay hawker center along Perak Road with the Penang City Stadium behind it.
Check out his stall in the afternoon from 2 pm onwards until around 5 pm.
What Popiah Basah?
Popiah (also spelled “popiah”) is a word derived from the Hokkien dialect which loosely translated means a thin pancake.
Actually, it more or an Asian burrito or a Vietnamese summer roll, except the skin or wrapper is of different texture and thickness.
Instead of a thick, doughy flour wrapper, the popiah skin is thin, translucent crepe-like circular “skin”. The cook slaps and smears a ball of dough onto a hot griddle and letting it cook for a few seconds before removing it. The technique to get a uniformly thin skin is a skill that takes many months of practice.
Alternatively, I have used a non-stick pan and tried smearing thinner dough with a brush. As the skin cooks, you can lift it from the stove for some quick results.
How to Make the Popiah Basah Popiah Skin Wrapper
Here is a homemade recipe for Popiah Skin or the thin wrapper commonly used for Chinese Spring rolls.
- Tapioca flour
Mix all the ingredients until they make a lumpy batter; knead the batter by repeatedly lifting it up and slamming it back down into the bowl until it holds together.
Most of the skins available nowadays in Singapore and Malaysia are machine-made. There are a few wet markets in Penang, you can buy fresh, hand-made popiah skins.
These are excellent with just the right touch of saltiness. Good skin can hold together all the popiah fillings without bursting or leaking.
Time to try a Malaysian burrito next you’re in George Town.
Pushcart Popiah | Astaka Stadium Bandaraya | Stadium Bandaraya, Perak Road, Penang
Business hours: 2.30pm to 5.00pm