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!