Food + drink (restaurant reviews) · Sydney · Sydney · Travel

Hawker – Malaysian Street Food

The successful owners of Mamak have started up Hawker recently, a casual joint serving up cheap, good Malaysian street food.  Lucky for us, it’s new and the word hasn’t been spread yet, so Mr. A and I were able to get a table on Chinese New Year last night as soon as we turned up – no queues, no overpriced banquet menus – perfect!

Hawker: Malaysian Street Food

The concept and set up is very similar to Mamak.  The kitchen is just inside the front of the restaurant, and the clear glass panes enable passers-by and dining waiting to be seated to marvel at the skills of the chefs kneading, tossing, frying all sorts of Malaysian street food goodies.

Looking into the kitchen from the front of the restaurant – chefs making apam balik (crispy “turnover” pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn) – see a photo of the finished dessert below!

 

Close up of the apam balik (crispy "turnover" pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn)
Close up of the apam balik (crispy “turnover” pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn)

 

Looking into the kitchen from the front of the restaurant - deep frying the spring rolls
Looking into the kitchen from the front of the restaurant – deep frying the spring rolls

The set-up inside is very casual.

The inside of the restaurant – casual, warehouse-style looking through to the kitchen

The menus looked exactly like Mamak’s – only there was different food and drinks and they were yellow!  We started with some exotic drinks.  I ordered the Kat Chai Suen Mui (Calamansi lime and preserved sour plum on ice).  I must admit, I was not immediately a fan of the flavour – it was more of an acquired taste (if you’ve ever had Chinese sour plum lollies wrapped in huge white paper, that’s what the drink tasted like) and Mr. A ordered the Barley Ping (barley water with syrup on ice), which had bits of barley at the bottom and tasted similar to cane sugar juice.

Left: Kat Chai Suen Mui (Calamansi lime and preserved sour plum on ice); right: Barley Ping (barley water with syrup on ice)

Our food came within 10 minutes of placing our order.  My curry laksa had both thick egg noodles and vermicelli, just like like an authentic laksa should, and it had a few pieces of chicken, a tofu puff sliced into 3 pieces and snake beans.  It had just the right amount of spice, although I prefer my curries more flavoursome.

Curry laksa
Curry laksa with egg noodles, vermicelli, chicken, tofu puffs and snake beans, and chilli paste on the side

Mr. A’s Wan Tan Mee came in 2 parts: a dish with stir-fried noodles in dark soy sauce, pork slices and choy sum on the side, and a small bowl of Chinese wontons (dumplings) in clear broth, garnished with chopped shallots.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking and we agree – it’s a bit strange seeing a stir-fried noodle dish served with soup wontons.  The noodles tasted just as they looked, and the wontons had real meat in them, rather than the over-seasoned meat rolled in cornflour  that leave you wondering how (un)healthy they are, served in other wonton noodle restaurants.

Wan Tan Mee: stir-fried noodles in dark soy sauce, pork slices and choy sum, a bowl of Chinese wontons (dumplings) in clear broth, garnished with chopped shallots, and green chilli sauce

Dessert was the highlight of the meal!  We shared the apam balik (crispy “turnover” pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn).  The pancakes were paper thin and crispy, and spread with a thin layer of crushed peanuts and a few blobs of creamed corn.  Unusual but delicious.  They were so yummy that I am craving them as I write this!  They were big – each one was around 15cm in length.

Apam balik (crispy “turnover” pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn)

 

Apam balik (crispy “turnover” pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn)

All in all, Hawker served up an easy, cheap, tasty meal and we’d go back, just like Mamak!

Rating:
Address: Shop G.02, 345B-353 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9264 9315
http://www.hawker.com.au/

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