Hawkers Asian Street Fare *New Menu Preview*

Hawkers Asian Street Fare recently added a few new menu items and I was invited in to try them out. I have been a big fan of Hawkers since they came to Jacksonville a few years back. At the time I was working right around the corner from the Riverside location and was in there all the time for lunch. Life was great until I got a different job (well, life got a lot better with the new job but that’s a story for another time). I don’t get to visit as much anymore so I was thrilled when I got the invite. I combined my reservation with another blogger friend of mine, and we visited for dinner. We were seated and given a menu showing all of the new (and current) menu items we would be enjoying. They also made the cutest little name plates for us. That made me so excited. It's little touches like these that mean a lot to me.

The food started to roll out pretty quickly and we were treated to Roti Canai first. This is my absolute favorite thing at Hawkers. The bread is warm and flaky, and the curry dipping sauce is the sauce of my dreams. It has a hint of spice to it, just enough to get your sinuses moving and the flavor is out of this world.
While we were enjoying that, the next course started to stream out of the kitchen. We were given 2 salads, one from the existing menu and also a new addition. The Wok-Fired Lettuce is something that I have been overlooking on the menu, mostly because it’s a salad. My eyes naturally jump over healthy items on menus so I can’t be blamed for this. Well I’ve learned my mistake because this was super tasty. It had a soy sauce flavor to it and the lettuce was very tender. The table really enjoyed this. The next salad was the new Tiger Salad, which is mostly made up of cilantro, with octopus on top. I am not an octopus fan so I just tried a bit of the salad mixture, but the rest of the table raved about this dish.

Before most of our main dishes came out we had a chance to speak with one of the owners who was up from Orlando, Allen Lo. He was very nice and explained a little bit about each dish and their inspiration for creating it. He came back a few times after each dish to ask how we liked it and I was very impressed by this. I have been to quite a few media events in my time, but it’s very rare for an owner to be there. It’s only happened a handful of times, but when it does it leaves me with a very positive impression of the restaurant. It’s nice knowing that the owners are that invested, that they demonstrate the right level of passion required to succeed in this industry.

The food started rolling back out and we were served another new menu item, Nam-Nom Rolls, which are sort of a take on eggrolls. These were either hit or miss at the table, but the one constant comment that was that we would have preferred the chicken to be minced rather than sausage form. We discussed that it might have been done this way purely for logistics, but it was a rather strange texture to bite into for me. With that being said, we all agreed that the rolls still tasted great. It was a texture only issue with us.

The next dish to grace our table was the Crispy Chicken Skin Skewers. For anyone who loves chicken skin, this will be the dish for you. Unfortunately, I am the kind of girl who peels the skin off my chicken and hands it to my husband, so this dish was not for me. My husband was had no complaints because he got double servings. He was a very happy man.

 The next 2 items were highly anticipated, #dimsumcruncyballs and Yi-Yi’s Chicken Dumplings. I am a huge dim sum fan so I was excited for these, and they did not disappoint. In addition to the #dimsumcruncyballs being the best name for a menu item in the history of names, they are also quite delicious. The balls consist of minced shrimp, fried, with some crunchy bits on the outside. 

Next up on the menu was another combo of new and current menu items, Singapore Spicy Crab and Pad Thai. Mr. Lo told us that the Pad Thai was the best-selling item on the menu, and it’s not hard to figure out why, it’s fabulous. The Singapore Spicy Crab is a new menu item. It is a fried soft shell crab in a tomato based sauce. There is a little bit of heat to the sauce but it’s barely noticeable. The crab is served with a homemade bao bun and you best believe I was sopping up all that sauce with it.

Our last course was a nice send off, the Mochi Trio. While the mochi is not made in house, the flavors are specially made for Hawkers. It was a nice refreshing dessert that left me wanting more. Guess I have to go back soon to get my fix!


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