Street Wise

Hawkers JUN14

If you’ve driven through Five Points recently, you’ve likely noticed Hawkers, the new Asian-fusion restaurant on the corner of Post and Park streets. Come Friday and Saturday evenings (and pretty much any weekday during lunchtime), the eatery is packed to the exposed rafters with hungry customers.

Hawkers doesn’t use heat lamps, so food comes out as soon as it’s ready and, sometimes, in no particular order. In other words, you could order an appetizer and it may come out after your entrée, so it’s best to throw caution to the wind and order several small plates for sharing with your table mates. In fact, Hawkers encourages sharing with a focus on street foods found throughout Asian hawker centers (hence the name). The menu is broken down into small plates, stir fry, rice, soups, salads and grilled meats and items are priced reasonably (you won’t find much above $10, and most average between $5 and $7).

Newcomers are all but required to order the roti canai, a Malaysian flatbread similar to a savory crepe. The bread itself is great, with a light and fluffy texture that makes it the perfect vehicle for the accompanying spicy curry dipping sauce. One order comes with two pieces of bread, so you’ll want to request extra for each person at the table.

The soups are another popular item and come in enormous bowls, with a ladle and smaller cups to share with the table, should you desire. The curry laksa is particularly delicious and extremely filling thanks to shrimp, chicken, egg and a tangle of noodles swimming in a spicy broth.

Being that it is an Asian restaurant, you might be tempted to order an old standby, like fried rice. You can get fried rice all over town and, in my estimation, the fried rice here isn’t all that differ- ent (even the kimchi fried rice didn’t knock my socks off, and I was really hoping it would). You’d be best served by trying something more unusual, such as the wok-fired lettuce, stir-fried with shiitake mushrooms and red chilies. It’s a dish that might sound strange, but is delicious—and probably something you haven’t tried before.

If you’d rather order something “safe,” select one of the handful of noodle dishes, such as Char Kway Teo, a stir-fry of rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, scallions, eggs and beansprouts described as “Malaysia’s most popular street fare.” There are also fusion dishes, which blend Eastern and Western flavors. The tacos are available with fish, duck or chicken satay, and the sliders are bite- sized banh mi sandwiches, rather than burgers. The from-scratch mashed potatoes sound all-American, except for the topping—the eatery’s highly addictive curry sauce, which would make just about anything taste great.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1001 Park St., Five Points • 508-0342;

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 AM-10 PM; Friday- Saturday, 11 AM-11 PM; Sunday, 11 AM-10 PM
Read Up: The menu at Hawkers is cleverly designed and lists plenty of helpful tidbits—such as how to properly use chopsticks—in addition to food choices.

Sweet tooth: Desserts are not listed on the menu, so be sure to ask your server what’s available. You’re likely to find dishes such as
a trio of creme brûlées, mango sticky rice and dessert roti, a sweet version of the popular roti appetizer. Also not on the menu is Vietnamese coffee, which comes with sweetened condensed milk and is brewed at your table.

Drink Up: Hawkers has a vast craft beer selection, and also serves wine, but no liquor. Thai iced tea, a strongly brewed black tea made with evaporated and condensed milks, and topped with whipped cream, is a popular non- alcoholic choice.