Apam Balik Muar Dorayaki

Walking back to the hotel after a tasty satay pagi breakfast in Muar, Emily and I spied a crowd gathered at the edge of a back-lane between rows of pre-war shophouses off Jalan Sulaiman.

Apam Balik Muar Dorayaki at the edge of a lane
off Jalan Sulaiman, Muar
Curious to see why, we walked closer and realised they were in a queue to buy freshly made apam balik from a stall there. If this was also a breakfast food that the locals preferred, we too wanted to have a taste of this popular pancake.

“Dorayaki,” said the vendor briefly as his busy hands whizzed over the open trays where two items were cooking: Japanese-style red-bean-stuffed pastries and traditional apam balik pancake.

The pastries sizzling within the cast-iron pans looked simply irresistible so we placed our order for just one apam balik (since already enjoyed a breakfast of satay pagi!) and joined the queue to wait.

Dorayaki, Japanese-style red-bean-stuffed pastries and
traditional apam balik sizzling on the cast iron pans
Like the other customers, we were prepared to wait for our order, made fresh – right before our very eyes.

The busy vendor, who was working non-stop to serve the queue of customers, spoke in brief phrases, recognising his customers and reminding each one that his turn was next.

While waiting, there was an air of camaraderie among the customers and it was only natural to chat with the vendor, who at first, appeared quite shy to speak.

Apam Balik Muar Dorayaki, the stall that Fauzi Ghani was operating at this same spot since his grandfather started it years ago, has become a local landmark for apam balik.

Fauzi Ghani, busy cooking dorayaki
Emily and I were the obvious out-of-towners and it was not long before we got to know Fauzi, the vendor, and Kamal, a customer waiting along with us, who joined in the conversation.

The affable Kamal told us that he was a regular here. In fact, he lived and worked in Shah Alam and he and his family just arrived for the weekend that very morning.

Typical of Muarians (the name Muar folks call themselves!) who returned to their hometown, they have a food trail to eat familiar food from their favourite vendors and Fauzi’s apam balik was one of the must-eat items on Kamal’s list.

Kamal, who was familiar with the vendor’s family, shared with us that Fauzi was the third generation operator after his grandfather and uncle.

He remembered from the old days that their stall was a wooden three-wheeler type while Fauzi had upgraded it to this sturdy stainless steel version of a modern stall.

Having inherited the recipes and business skills, Fauzi was keeping his grandfather’s legacy alive and pleasing a whole new generation of customers.

When Kamal learnt that we were from Johor Baru, he confessed that he was such an ardent fan of the Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) football team that if JDT played at Shah Alam Stadium, he would go to watch the live matches!

Slices of our freshly-made apam balik
I looked at the prices posted on the stall front: Besar (Big) RM3 for one piece, Kecil (Small) RM2 for seven pieces.

I was guessing that the ‘small’ item was the dorayaki but I would never know for sure because when our order was ready and we were ready to pay, Kamal kindly offered to buy us this treat!

It was a small gesture but a pleasant surprise for such a nice treat!

We thanked them – Fauzi and Kamal – for their kindness and holding the precious package, we headed back to the hotel to savour the still steaming specialties – part two of our Muar breakfast.

We eagerly opened the package to cool the pancake before eating it and were surprised to see that Fauzi had added two dorayaki into our apam balik order!  Mmm… it was well worth the wait!

To place your advance order, please call Fauzi Ghani on Tel: 012 – 346 9227.

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