Korean

At Hawkers, the founders Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho – all traveled the world to curate a menu of handed-down family recipes and hand-picked popular street foods from all over Asia – Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan to be exact.  Today, all of the original founders are active in restaurant operations ranging from chefs to brand and operations managers.

Since the brand’s inception in 2011 with the Orlando – Mills 50 location, it has opened three additional Florida locations in Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, and St. Petersburg.  New locations are under construction and slated to open in Windermere (located in the Greater Orlando area) in November 2017 and in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward in March 2018, marking its expansion outside of Florida.  Four additional locations are slated to open throughout the Southeast in 2018.

The restaurant’s name is inspired by street vendors found throughout the streets of Asia known as hawkers.  They depend on locally grown ingredients to create dishes sold from mobile carts and stands.

“We are on a mission to disrupt the restaurant industry, and essentially redefine what it means to “eat Asian” in America.  People often ask me who our competition is, and I can’t come up with one–and, for us, that’s a positive thing.”

A place where sharing is not just caring, but the way to eat, Hawkers offers a fresh take on today’s Asian street-fare experience with dishes that are always made to order using local and imported ingredients.  Hawkers is considered a “local’s favorite” and has been featured in Delta SkyMagazine, Florida Trend and Orlando Magazine, and Food & Wine as Andrew Zimmern’s number one pick on his list of “12 Places to Stay, Eat & Shop in and Around Orlando.”

The tables are communal and are inlaid with newspaper to resemble the way street food is often served wrapped in newspaper from hawker stalls.

All Hawkers locations have a weekday happy hour and a wide selection of imported and local wine, beer, and saké.

The menu changes with the seasons and features house favorites such as Roti Canai and award-winning Pad Thai and more common items such as Yi Yi’s Chicken Dumplings and Miso Pork Belly Ramen.  The diverse menu offers options for various palates with vegetarian-friendly dishes, gluten-free and a variety of pescatarian offerings.

(Source credit: Hawkers Asian Street Fare)

We had the opportunity to try some of their new menu items + some classic dishes and we are so excited to share them all with you!

* indicates a new menu item.

*#dimsumcrunchyballs – shrimp, pork, crispy spring roll batter.  This is a traditional Chinese dish using ground up shrimp thrown across the table to get air pockets out, then coated with egg wash and shredded spring rolls wrapper, and finally fried and served with a hot oil-soy sauce.  It has a bounciness to it.

*Crispy Chicken Skin – Hawkers’ version of skewers that can be found in Asia cooked over coals.   They get all of the protein fat scrapped off, season it with Szechuan style seasoning, bake it in oven, then finish it over a grill burning charcoal.   This dish is suppose to be eaten with lime sprinkled over it to accentuate its smokey flavors.

*’Nam Nem Rolls – chilled rice wrap, fried rice paper, chicken sausage, lettuce, cucumber, basil, mint.  Nem in Vietnamese means sausage.  This dish is traditionally made with pork, however, they make theirs with chicken because less people eat pork.  The chicken is baked in the oven then finished on the grill.  The sauce is a Vietnamese vinaigrette consisting of fish sauce, Coco Rico, and red chilies.

*Singapore ‘Chili’ Crab – national dish of Singapore, soft-shelled crab, house-made chili garlic sauce, and fried bao bun.

*Tiger Salad– poached octopus, cilantro, carrots, green onions, celery, cucumber, rice wine vinaigrette, and lemon juice.  A light and refreshing salad.

Roti Canai – Malaysian flat bread served with a side of their signature curry.  Chef Allen Lo describes the bread as “if a croissant and pancake made a baby”.   He ate this dish every day growing up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wok-Fired Lettuce – shiitake mushrooms, red chilies, light hoisin soy sauce, lettuce.  This staple dish makes a great side dish with every meal.

Chicken Dumplings – hand-rolled in-house daily, wok-seared (pictured) or steamed.  Hawkers makes their dumplings at 7am every morning; it is the first thing they make.

Pad Thai – rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, eggs, scallions, bean sprouts.  Pad Thai is a staple dish in Asia.  At Hawkers, they let their sauce simmer for eight hours before serving it over the noodles.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee  – available in iced (pictured) or French drip.

Mocha Trio – Green tea, lychee colada, and Thai tea.  Made at the Mochidoki shop in New York.

Be sure to check out the launch of the new menu items this Wednesday, August 16, at a Hawkers near you!

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1103 N Mills Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 237-0606

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Often overlooked, this little restaurant in the heart of Maitland cooks up some of the best dishes from the Korean peninsula. It’s located right off of US 17/92 on Horatio Avenue and has decor reminiscent of a past French restaurant that once occupied the space prior.

Their dishes for dinner are excellent and I love their lunch bento specials, too.

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Here’s 5 things I recommend ordering here at Seoul Garden:

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Japchae – Kind of like a Korean lo mein noodle stir fry – this dish consists of veggies, clear buckwheat noodles, and a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil. It’s a little sticky, but fun to eat and share as an appetizer.

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Kalbi – I think the award for best Kalbi, or Korean marinated beef short ribs, goes to Seoul Garden. Their beef ribs have always been of excellent quality with a nice sweet flavor and char from the grill.

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Banchan – These are the Korean side dishes that come when you order a main dish like Kalbi or Bulgogi. The dishes consists of a variety of pickled vegetables and small plates of whatever is made fresh that day – sometimes mashed potatoes Korean style, pickled kimchi radish cubes, or sliced pickled cucumbers, tofu, and more. They’re great to provide some spicy, salty, sour complexities to complement your main.

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Soon Dobu – Spicy silken tofu soup – this is about an 8 or so on the spice meter, so be ready for some heat in more ways than one – it’s served piping hot, too, boiling in a stone cauldron as it arrives to the table. Inside you’ll find anything from silky tofu to kimchi and pork or seafood, depending on the variety you choose. Great over rice.

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Cinnamon tea – For dessert, this little cup of cool, sweet cinnamon tea with dash of a rice puff is quite the refreshing drink to end the meal.

Haemul pajun - seafood pancake!
Haemul pajun – seafood pancake!
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Kalbi beef
Kalbi beef

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Open since 1982 and one of the first Korean restaurants in state of Florida, Korea House has continued to provide excellent traditional and authentic Korean cuisine to all of Central Florida. The kitchen is lead by head chef Kisoo Choi with 40 years of experience in both Korean and Korean-Chinese cuisine.

Korean cuisine is marked by the use of gojuchang (fermented Korean spicy chili pepper pastes), sesame oil, and the dominance of kimchi, the national spicy pickled cabbage. The cuisine is often spicy, flavorful, and fresh. Korea House – which recently underwent renovations with additions of new wood booths and future plans for a karaoke lounge – is spacious and inviting, with several tables equipped with Korean barbecue grills for cooking at the table.

For appetizers, start off with the gun-mandu, Korean pan fried dumplings made with pork, and the haemul-pajun, a Korean style seafood pancake with green onions and hot pepper. The haemul-pajun, made from a batter of eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, is absolutely the best I’ve had in Orlando, slightly crunchy, crispy, and stuffed with green onion and bits of calamari and imitation crab. Add a dab of spicy chili soy sauce to the slice of haemul-pajun and enjoy. Japchae, clear, Korean sweet potato noodles stir-fried in sesame oil with vegetables, mushrooms, and beef, is also a tasty starter, and fun to slurp.

Dolsot-bibimbap, a mixed rice dish served sizzling in a hot stone pot, is full of vegetables, sliced beef, and topped with a fried egg. To eat, just add some of the sweet pepper paste provided, to taste, and mix it all with your metal spoon while relishing the crunchy, slightly burnt rice on the bottom of the pot.

The Korean-Chinese food menu here is a relic of the historical influence of Korea’s Chinese neighbors on Korean cuisine. Dishes such as sweet and sour chicken, shrimp, pork, stir fried beef are all prepared with a slight touch of Korean style, full of spicy flavors and sesame oil. The jjambbong, a huge bowl of seafood spicy noodle soup, and the jajang-myun, black soybean paste noodles with beef and vegetables, are said to be particular favorites of the locals here at Korea House.

Other popular dishes here include the hot Korean stews like the Sundubu-Tzigae, a spicy, soft tofu stew with shrimp, and seafood, and the gom-tang oxtail soup that is prepared by simmering for 10 hours and served with clear noodles and beef. There is also an extensive list of fish prepared Korean style with a little bit of salt, grilled or fried, such as cod, monkfish, and mackerel fish to be eaten with white rice.

When you order large portions of the Korean barbecue menu, the dining party can opt to use the the grills built into the tables or have the kitchen prepare the dishes and bring them out on hot sizzling plates. The gal-bi, thick chunks of beef short ribs marinated in Korean barbecue sauce, are excellent here as are the bulgogi, available in pork, chicken, or beef varieties.

Korea House is a place known for quality Korean cuisine and its reputation for one of the best Korean restaurants in Orlando is well deserved.

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Korean bbq booths at Korea House

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Japchae – Clear, Korean potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables

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Gun-mandu – Korean pan fried dumplings

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Banchan – Korean side dishes including pickled turnips, tofu, kimchi, spinach, bean sprouts and more

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Haemul Paejun – Seafood pancake

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Spicy stir fried squid with vegetables

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Sundubu-Tzigae – spicy, soft tofu stew with shrimp, and seafood

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Galbi – Korean style barbecue beef short ribs grilled

Korea House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Korea House Restaurant, 1155 State Road 434 West,
Longwood, FL 32750; (407) 767-5918
koreahouseorlando.com
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This photo was taken at Seoul Garden in Maitland, FL, a well-kept secret and one of the best Korean restaurants in town. Their Kalbi beef short ribs are sweet, succulent, chewy Korean goodness. Notice the glistening of its grease fat and imagine the splendor of its juicy tastes as you bite into the Kalbi pieces…

More to come…

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Beewon Korean Cuisine is located on Dr Phillips Boulevard just south of Turkey Lake Road in Southwest Orlando. I am a big fan of Korean food as it is often fresh, tasty, and healthy. The only set back about it is that its a bit expensive for the amount of food that you get. Beewon is no exception to this, owing in no small part to its location in the upscale Dr Phillips neighborhood.

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Inside Beewon!

Inside Beewon, photos of Korean pro-golfers/patrons, wooded tables, chairs, and traditional Korean decor fill the space. It is definitely larger and more airy than the popular Shin Jung, leaving you plenty of space to breath in case you decide to cook up some bulgogi or kalbi beef ribs at your table.

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Fried Mandoo dumplings

We ordered the mandoo fried dumplings, a tasty appetizer that I wish had a bit more filling. The spicy seafood noodle soup is always pleasant, with its familiar spicy and thick seafood broth with shrimp, clams, mussels, and Korean noodles. The kalbi beef short ribs ( a bit steep at $24.95 a plate) is excellent though a bit chewy, marinated in a sweet soy sauce and char grilled.

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Banchon – side dishes! 
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Spicy seafood noodle soup
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Kalbi Short ribs!

Overall Beewon is a pretty good Korean establishment to visit if you are out in the west side of town though I do prefer other establishments that are closer. Check it out!

Beewon Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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Today I had the chance to drop by the Korean BBQ Taco Box for lunch. They just opened up yesterday (shout out to Big Bad Voodoo Lou from Chowhound for the find!) and I was dying to try their goods. I was delighted to find that they have a pretty long list of about 10 items or so available at their food truck.

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Located at the northeast corner of Primrose and Colonial Drive right across from Total Wine, the bright yellow RV truck with the sign “Grand Open” and “Korean BBQ Taco Box” was hard to miss. I actually met a friend Chris R. from Yelp here by chance. I ordered their Spicy Pork Taco Box for $5.99, a great deal considering it comes with the taco, a spicy korean Chicken wing, two dumplings, two beef sushi roll fried, and these two rice/beef balls as well as a side salad with dressing. I buy a drink from the nearby Citgo to support them too as they are the landlords for the korean bbq taco truck. They will be stationed there for the time being with no plans of mobile service according to the owners, who recently migrated to Orlando from Virginia.

The spicy pork taco came out quite delicious, spicy with that Korean red paste kick and lovely in the soft tortilla with lettuce and onions. A delightful lunch along with the awesome sides. It would be nice if they start serving mini tacos so we can mix and match or maybe a combo taco box with three different tacos (yes I know i’m just being greedy)

Some things to note:
– Ask for Kimchi ~ its not given automatically
– Cash only! Most of the items range from $5.99 to $6.99 so its pretty affordable
– Parking is easy at the Citgo as there are lots
– There is a table for two
– Buy your drinks at Citgo
– Give them a call about hours, not sure what time they close

Overall, I think this place is going to be a favorite especially among for those late-night drunken cravings. It is definitely a welcome addition to the foodie scene and is great “street food”.

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Korean BBQ Taco Box on Urbanspoon

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Shin Jung – Korean – Orlando

The meat sizzled on the iron plates in front of us, smoke rising into the vents above the tiny house. The bulgogi and kalbi marinated meats hissed and crackled as the flames flickered below the grills. The smell of Korean barbeque is always intoxicating, especially if you are eating at Shin Jung.

Shin Jung Korean restaurants sits on Colonial Drive just west of Bumby Avenue in a little house-like structure with a green roof. The dining area is tiny, maybe less than 40 people can fit in here at one time. The entire building smelled the wonderful aroma of delicious food cooking.

But the problem about being in a small place with lots of bbq fumes is that the fumes literally stick to your skin, your hair, and your clothes, thus I would recommend showering after your experience at shin jung and also do not wear any fancy clothes or anything that you wouldn’t mind reeking of korean bbq stank.

The Interior @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

An average meal here averages about $20 and up, a bit pricey considering that you only get one complementary bowl of korean rice, but its enough to get full. Definitely come with friends though as it takes at least 4 people to make the meal worth it.

Our party orders the traditional dishes: soon tofu, a spicy tofu style soup and one of my favorites here at Shin Jung, kimchijigae, a kimchi spicy soup, seafood pancake, bulgogi and kalbi. Our meal is served with tiny dishes of pickled cucumbers, cabbage, bean sprouts, anchovies, and other delectable appetizing items.


Seafood Pancake @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

Soon Tofu soup @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

Kimchijigae soup @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

Free assorted bachchan @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

The Grill @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

@ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

Meat on the grill @ Shin Jung Restaurant, Orlando

sizzlin

Shin Jung on Urbanspoon

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