Originally posted on Blogger on July 17, 2011
I’d read tons about Hawkers Asian Street Fare on Twitter and on other foodies blog posts over the past month or so before my first visit, and everything I read just made me want to go more and more. So, a couple of weeks ago I tweeted an open invitation to my fellow foodies to join me for lunch. It was a weekday, so I didn’t expect much of a response, so I was thrilled when three others came along! I also invited my good friend M, and so we ended up with a group of five at that first lunch. I enjoyed it so much I ended up back the following week with another friend for lunch yet again.
Hawkers is a fairly new restaurant in the Mills 50 district of Orlando, having opened just a few months ago. Their focus is on Asian street food (of several types) and is served, for the most part, in small plate style. I haven’t seen anything on the menu yet that costs more than $7.00, so this is a perfect place to try things you may be unsure about. If you don’t like something, just order a new dish! This is also a perfect restaurant for sharing (if you and the rest of your group is willing!) due to the small plate service style. The best way I’ve found to sample dishes is to just order a few at a time and share them, and then order some more.
Hawkers has a very simple decor, with its painted concrete floor and its orange and grey color scheme. It suits the theming of the restaurant, though, and there are nice decorative touches adding to that theme throughout, including black and white photos of Asian street hawkers on the walls and Asian newspaper printed table tops. The staff that I’ve interacted with has been super friendly (our server from the first visit even remembered me the second time around!) both in person and on Twitter, and, most importantly, the food is just delicious.
I haven’t tried anything at Hawkers yet that I didn’t like, but a few things have stood out more than others as completely outstanding. The roti canai is an item that I will order every single time that I go to this restaurant. It isn’t enough that the roti themselves (I suggest ordering at least one extra) are crispy and buttery; the curry sauce that comes with them is so good you could pour it over almost anything and make it taste amazing. It has just a hint of spicy heat, and has pieces of meat and potatoes throughout. So good. So. Good. We ordered the curry mashed potatoes as well the second time I went, and they came drenched in the curry sauce. Seriously, folks, heaven on a freakin’ plate (or in a dipping bowl – you pick).
|Five Spice Calamari|
Other items that are absolutely must-orders are the five spice calamari and the curry laksa. The calamari is one of the best I’ve ever had (and C and I order it at pretty much every restaurant we go to; it is one of the few standard appetizers we both really enjoy). It reminded me a bit of salt and pepper calamari and was fried and seasoned absolutely perfectly. The dipping sauce that comes with it isn’t necessary but does add even more to the flavors. The curry laksa is, as I described it when I first took a bite, a perfect “sick day” soup. It is hearty, filled with delicious noodles, hard-boiled egg, meat, shrimp, and bok choi, and spicy, perfect for clearing out the sinuses (or just enjoying when you feel fine!). The bowl, at only $6.50, is huge and filling and absolutely just….a meal in a bowl. If you can resist ordering anything else, that is, and I challenge you to try that. It won’t happen.
As an aside, Hawkers just recently started serving dessert. They currently have two items available: mango sorbet and cinnamon roti with vanilla ice cream. We ordered the cinnamon roti (the dessert items are not yet listed on the menu itself, so you do have to ask about them), and it was definitely yummy, although at $6 it seemed a little on the expensive side in comparison to the rest of the menu.
|Cinnamon roti with vanilla ice cream (and a couple of bites missing)|
Speaking of the menu, you can view it here: Hawkers’ Asian Street Fare Menu
Another couple of asides: if you check-in on Yelp! when you get to Hawkers, you get a free spring roll. You can’t beat free stuff, especially when it is super yummy. Additionally, on weekdays from 3pm until 6pm, all of the beer is two for one. How awesome is that? My friend was able to try out Midas Touch beer, and proclaimed it an absolute winner.
Hawkers is my current foodie obsession; I can’t stop telling people how much I love it, how great a deal it is, and how tasty the food is. If you haven’t tried it yet, I strongly encourage you to go and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.