BITE-SIZED

Chopstick Fever

A new 5 Points eatery touts Asian street eats galore

Stick-to-your-ribs Zha Jiang Mian is a traditional Chinese dish — blanched noodles, ground chicken, yow chow, spicy red peppers, cucumbers and a slightly sweet sauce.
Caron Streibich
One of my favorite stir-fry dishes was the Japanese stir-fry udon noodles. Chicken, eggs, bean sprouts, scallions, carrots and onions mingle with these thick, squishy noodles.
Caron Streibich
The tom yum soup touts a spicy lemongrass broth that’s loaded with flat rice noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, basil, straw mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers. Served with two small cups and a ladle, it’s surprisingly easy to share.
Caron Streibich
Two fruits — mangosteen and durian — collide in this unique Royal Pairing dessert offering.
Caron Streibich
The same Malaysian flatbread from the roti canai appetizer makes an appearance in this cinnamon sugar dessert, accompanied by a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.
Caron Streibich
The kimchi fried rice is a nod to the popular Korean side item of fermented spicy cabbage. Tossed with strips of tender steak, onions, eggs and jasmine rice, this dish was best drizzled with Sriracha.
Caron Streibich
Tossed with sea salt and sesame oil, the traditional Japanese edmame are a simple starter. I favor more of the unique offerings but if you’re a purist, these may be up your alley.
Caron Streibich
All of the duck dishes were very impressive including the roast duck lettuce wraps. A medley of stir-fry vegetables, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger and bean curd was tossed with the duck then paired with crisp lettuce leaves and crunchy rice noodle sticks.
Caron Streibich
The crispy roast pork “siu yoke” dish featured bite-sized pieces of seasoned pork belly that was roasted and served with a thick hoisin sauce for dipping. The perfectly crispy edges of the tender pork belly really made the dish a favorite.
Caron Streibich
A trio of crème brulees is a delicious way to end your meal. Thai tea, green tea and Malaysian milk tea comprise the trio.
Caron Streibich
The fish fillet with black bean sauce touted seasoned cod that’s battered and then pan-fried and tossed with bell peppers and onions and a very mild, but flavorful, black bean sauce.
Caron Streibich
You can choose to add shrimp, char sui pork or chicken to the basil fried rice. By itself the dish was slightly underwhelming and in need of a sauce, or salt, to step it up a notch.
Caron Streibich
Perhaps one of the nicest presentations were the Curry Hawker Meatballs. These tender Asian beef meatballs were sitting peacefully atop a pool of spicy curry sauce.
Caron Streibich
The five-spice pork choppettes are lightly battered then fried and tossed in a flavorful five-spice seasoning and served over lettuce and assorted chopped fresh vegetables.
Caron Streibich
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Posted

Park Street, 508-0342, 
facebook.com/hawkersstreetfare

Is it considered an obsession if you've eaten at a place five times the first two weeks it's open for business? If so, consider me obsessed with Hawkers.

First, the menu. Part infographic (so that's how I hold my chopsticks!), part design masterpiece, there's an abundance of mouthwatering options, and that's because Hawkers serves up street food from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan and Malaysia. (The food is so good, I temporarily forget I'm in 5 Points.)

I can't say enough about the atmosphere: Huge windows open to unveil an entirely open façade. Large upside-down wok-like pans serve as light fixtures and hang from an exposed wood beam ceiling. An old upcycled wooden palette with chalkboard paint serves as the craft beer list.

Hawkers is thoroughly modern, comfortable and hip.

The food speaks for itself. I can't think of any comparable places in town that have such a culturally diverse menu with such reasonable prices.

Start with the roti canai, a Malaysian flat bread ($3) that I can best describe as fluffy Indian naan meets the airiness of a French crêpe. It's served with a cup of delightfully spicy curry dipping sauce. Another standout is the crispy roasted pork "siu yoke" ($6), or pork belly, served with a thick hoisin dipping sauce and garnished with scallions.

Items are intended to be shared, even the soups. You'll receive a large bowl, two smaller cups and a giant ladle. The tom yum soup ($8.50) touts a spicy lemongrass broth that's loaded with flat rice noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, basil, straw mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers. It's great on a chilly day and leaves you feeling warm inside.

I preferred the stir-fry noodle dishes to the rice bowls. Hawkers' stir-fry udon noodles ($8), with eggs, scallions, onions, bean sprouts and carrots, and chicken pad Thai ($8) earn my top honors. Runner-up? The Zha Jiang Mian ($7.50), a traditional Chinese dish with blanched noodles, ground chicken, yow chow (a leafy green similar to bok choy), spicy red peppers, cucumbers and a slightly sweet sauce. It's stick-to-your-ribs filling, too.

Skip the spring rolls (good but nothing special), basil fried rice (seemed to need a few dashes of salt?) and edamame (go for something more exciting). Do, however, set aside room for the Royal Pairing, a unique dessert that's part mangosteen and part durian fruit, or the trio of tea-based crème brûlées — Thai tea, Malaysian milk tea and green tea — served with crunchy biscuit-like dipping cookies.

Hawkers is open daily for lunch and dinner. There's also a separate kitchen devoted to take-out orders (rumor has it that they'll soon offer delivery, too).

The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and authentic — everyone seems genuinely passionate about being there, and about the food, which makes it that much harder to stay away.

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