Malay Street Food Popiah Basah Astaka Stadium Penang
Unlike the Chinese Popiah, which is cholesterol-laden peeled crab meat, the Indian Muslim version of the Popiah Basah is vegetarian based.
Popiah Basah is a simple dish. They stew the essential ingredients julienned 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 costs RM1.00, making for a healthy vegetarian snack filled 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 is Popiah Basah?
Popiah (also spelled “popiah”) is derived from the Hokkien dialect, loosely translated as a thin pancake.
It is more of an Asian burrito or a Vietnamese summer roll, except the skin or wrapper has different textures and thicknesses.
The popiah skin is thin, translucent crepe-like circular “skin.”
The cook slaps and smears a ball of dough onto a hot grill and lets 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 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 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, and 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.
Malaysians Love Fresh Popiah
Popiah Basah, made with easy and healthy ingredients, tastes SO GOOD!
Filled with shredded vegetables, Popiah is a popular street food that everybody loves to eat at home.
When I was growing up, my mother and aunts – all the female cooks in my household would gather around to help.
It was always a hive of activity with slicing and shredding the jicama (yam bean), cutting French beans, shelling shrimp, dicing bean curds, and cooking a huge pot of the filling.
One of the popular dishes is served at home – where everyone takes part in the fun. It is enriching if shared with friends and family.
I remember that we used to eat this for hours, grabbing our plate and busy assembling, rolling, and savoring our own Popiah.
She was telling jokes and chatting.
We were always so excited in the house, filled with much anticipation.
The energy of women as we made my Popiah delicious Pohpia.
Even the younger children would have fun “playing” with their food.
Time to try a fresh Malaysian burrito – the delicious Popiah Basah next you’re in George Town.
Pushcart Popiah Basah | Astaka Stadium Bandaraya | Stadium Bandaraya, Perak Road, Penang
Business hours: 2.30 pm to 5.00 pm