Nothing like a trip to Melbourne for the Australian Open! My Melbourne local gal pal, not only showed me the courts, she also offered up her spare room (again!) so it was the least I could do to buy her dinner.
A short walk from her flat, Hawker Hall is large restaurant inspired by Singaporean/Malaysia hawker markets. We grab a table outside so we can people watch and start to peruse the massive menu.
The menu is huge! With everything that you’d find at a hawker market from dumplings to roti to curries to stir fry… to be honest, it’s a little intimidating.
Now if you’re like me, there is a banquet (which I was perfectly in favour of) but being with a local, I let her to do the picking. Chilled wines arrived and a few dishes ordered, we sat back and enjoyed the Chapel Street parade before our food arrived.
We didn’t have to wait long. First up and one of my favourite dishes of all time – Roti Canai.
The roti was damn near perfect. It was rich and buttery. Flakey but still just that little bit soft in the middle. I was in heaven mouthful by mouthful. The accompaniments were a little different as well. The curry sauce was what you’d expect – extremely flavourful and a tiny hint of spice rather than heat – but instead of a standard sambal, it was an eggplant sambal. The only way I can describe it was like a spicy caponata (if anyone’s Italian). I loved the combination of the two (curry sauce and eggplant sambal) and the roti didn’t last very long…
Next up, ‘CKT’
‘CKT’ or Char Kway Teow is one of my other favourite dishes. It’s rice noodles mixed with prawns, Chinese sausage and smokey soy sauce. This one was particularly good. My favourite thing is the smokey soy sauce that coats the noodles. I don’t know if Hawker Hall makes its own or imports it but it definitely made the dish.
Now at the tennis the day before, the diet had mainly consisted of hot chips and rose so we thought we had to be virtuous with some vege.
We chose a cucumber, shallot and mint salad (it was about 35 degrees after all) but the star of this dish had to be the cumin and coconut yoghurt dressing. I could have eaten buckets of that creamy dressing. Usually, I complain that I can’t taste the coconut in coconut yoghurt but this had that delicate taste like coconut milk. The cumin added that hint of spice again that made the salad that little bit more special.
As the sun began to finally set and the wines ran down, we lamented that we could only eat three dishes (I blame the high volume of hot chips the day before) and I reluctantly headed to the airport.
If you are in Melbourne and craving Singapore, I would definitely recommending heading to Hawker Hall for a little taste of all your classic hawker favs.
98 Chapel Street