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Oct 5, 2006 04:40 PM

The Murtabak Project

I'm looking for really good murtabak. My Platonic ideal is the one I had at a roadside stand in Singapore years ago - the guy took a ball of dough and flung it repeatedly against a hot griddle until it was a giant, nearly translucent sheet, brushed it with butter, folded it up a bunch of times, put down a layer of seasoned lamb, cracked an egg over it, folded it in quarters, browned both sides, and voila! One of the best things I've ever tasted in my life. The dough had the tenderness and elasticity of a good croissant, and the egg and the lamb and the butter... mmmm.

I've tried it at Spice Islands in Mountain View, Penang Village in Santa Clara, Straits Cafes in both Burlingame and San Jose, and I think i tried it at Shiok in Menlo Park (although I can't remember - so either I didn't try it there, or it was not memorable). Surprisingly, Straits Cafe in Burlingame had the best one. Which isn't saying much. They make theirs with beef, and they only win because 1)the filling wasn't oversalted, and 2)the pastry was too dried out.


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  1. Rasa Sayang used to make a pretty good lamb murtabak one unfortunately they closed.

    Singapore-Malaysian makes good roti canai. They might make murtabak by special order.

    1. I saw Lime Tree has murtabak on the menu, though I've yet to try it. I noticed this place a couple weeks ago on Irving and it was recently reviewed by the Chron.