Pak Ya making the popia.
Pak Saiful making the popia.

What is it?

A stall selling popia in TTDI. Pasar Ramadan TTDI regularly attracts huge crowds – and with it, traffic jams. The tents and stalls are cramped into a single road which channels a steady stream of market-goers. Yet, as the crowd trickles in, a disproportionate number of people are surrounding a tiny, unnamed stall at the edge of the pasar: Pak Saiful’s Popia Basah. Even on good days, you might have to wait up to twenty minutes before your turn.

Who is it?

The stall belongs to Pak Saiful, and when I met him, his deft hands traversed the entire span of a table as he quickly prepares Popia Basah for his customers. Softly spoken, he simply says “Alhamdulillah” when I remark how popular his popia is. If you want to avoid the long queue, Pak Saiful opens his stall at 3.30 pm. He continues to sell the kueh until the ingredients run out, which on one of the days, was as early as 5.30 pm.

Weirdly enough, Pak Saiful explains that the sale is not even this good during normal times. “People are only hungry for my popia during Ramadan”, he explains as he hands me a bag of his popular kueh.  He has been selling the kueh since early 2000’s, but business has taken off mostly in the last few years. Since then, his small stall can always be found amidst an eager crowd in every Pasar Ramadan.

What’s in it?

Pak Saiful serves the popia with a generous amount of sweet sauce spread onto a soft, thin layer of the popia bread. He then rolls it over a filling of tiny slices of mango and crisp bean sprouts which are sprinkled with a pinch of nuts. The result is a popia with a soft texture that satisfyingly breaks apart into a sweet, crisp mixture of vegetables.

 As well as selling at the Pasar Ramadan, you can find his stall on the same street, near the T Junction, at other times of the year.

Audi Bin Ali