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Penang Apong (Apom) Balik

Penang Apong Balik
Penang Apong Balik pictures (3 of 5)

Every time I come back to Penang, there are a few hawker food (street food) that I never miss out eating. As I was born and raised in Penang, I seek out to those foods and places that carry sentimental values to me—my favorite dishes and treats I grew up eating, neighborhood restaurants, hawker centers or coffee shops (kopitiam) that my family frequents, or particular hawkers that have known me since I was little. These places are mostly unknown to the tourists as they are not covered by guide books, but to me, they are some of the best foods found in Penang…they are the tastes of my childhood.

Penang Apong Balik

One of the treats that I absolutely love is Penang Apong Balik, or Apom Balik, solid by this 70-year old hawker Chooi, along Burmah Road (before Union Primary School). Penang Apong Balik is a Nyonya sweet treat with sliced bananas, some corns, all folded up in a sweet, eggy, aromatic, soft and fluffy pancake, speckled with shredded coconut. The taste, texture and recipe are completely different from the original Indian apom (which is another favorite of mine).

Each piece of this heavenly apong balik is merely RM0.40 (or US$0.15) but trust me on this, it’s probably one of the best pancakes ever created. Each apong balik is made by hand by Uncle Chooi, and sold/served immediately to the customers. I can easily gobble up ten (10) of these hot-off-the-pan apong balik as my afternoon snack…they are absolutely delightful and tasty!

Penang Apong Balik

With many hawkers in Penang nearing or exceeding retirement age, I am sometimes saddened by the fact that I probably will not have my favorite apong balik in the years ahead. As I mentioned, Chooi is 70 years old and his three children are professionals and will not inherit his humble business. A truly legendary concoction and recipe might be lost forever in the near future. But for now, I will savor every piece of these heavenly apong balik whenever I drive by Chooi’s stall.

Apom Chooi 老字号
Burmah Road, Penang
Hours: 1.30pm to 8pm (Closed on Sundays)


To local Penangites, this stall is the less-popular stall next to the famous Apong Guan, but the truth is Chooi is the older brother of Apong Guan, so both have the same family recipe and their apong pretty much taste the same. Chooi has also operated the business longer.

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28 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Sigh, if you had the recipe to this apong balik, I would’ve grabbed it and tried it out right away! ;-) It’s sure time I get back to my hometown again. Thanks for sharing Bee.

  2. As you said, at first I thought it is something like appam :-) We make egg pancakes called egg dosa in Kerala. But nothing like this. Guess this is a sweet marriage between the banana fritters and egg dosa :-)

  3. chilipadi

    When I first saw your Apong post I was elated thinking that you would have the recipe also. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Apong is one of the ‘must eats’ whenever I return home to Malaysia.

  4. Eka

    This looks very similar to one of Indonesian food street too.. Do you have the recipe for this ? I live in the US for the past 12 years now, and I can’t find Asian (traditional) snacks around. I’d like my kids to learn about my background. Thank you so much..! :)

  5. maddy

    i cannot seem to find your recipes, i am trying to find todays recipe the filled pancake. can you help, i probably are not locating correctly – apong balik – and can you add on printer friendly

  6. Low Yok Lin via Facebook

    @LeesaPillai…u can get this atXtra near tmn Suria.Its the stall in front of the car wash and its delicious as he’s generous with the filling.Theres another further down towards the shophouses…NOT that one pl.

  7. Philip

    When I was young in Penang, the Indian Apom man would make my apom in earthen clay pots…Like a conductor he would rotate the pots to get the right temperature and doneness….plus I would bring an egg so that he can mix mine batch with the egg i gave him…
    Yummy to my tummy…..all on Burmah Road.

  8. Dionysia, "Down-Under"

    ..perhaps you should consider doing a “cookbook”of “recipes” from these elderly shop owners, before the recipes are lost when they “retire”…. it would be such a shame not to share this with those of us who live on the other side of the world!!! Please do a Penang cookbook of your best local stalls!!!!

  9. Cheng Lye Tan

    Hey, I am a regular at his Stall too, The brothers used to sell Goreng Pisang too! Will always get some when back in Penang. Miss them apong balik

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