Simple fare: A curry laksa at Hawker. Photo: Michele Mossop
A simple shopfront on the edge of Chinatown is home to the new street-food outlet Hawker.
Just a block away from its mother store, Mamak, Hawker aims to channel the spirit of the hawker-style eating centres of south-east Asia, where locals gather to catch up and share regional cuisine. It opened on Monday night.
"It's the food that I look forward to the most whenever I go to Malaysia," director Julian Lee says. "It's the food that I grew up eating when I would go out with my family."
Unusual options include grilled stingray. Photo: Michele Mossop
Touting a simple but focused menu, Hawker offers a selection of noodles and snacks.
"There's no structure to the meal, no entree, main and dessert - it's just everyone grab what you want and then you share," Lee says.
Straying from the Indian-Malaysian focus of Mamak, Hawker brings Chinese-oriented Malaysian fare to the table. Options include noodle dishes such as a classic assam laksa, thick rice noodles in fish soup with shredded fish, cucumber, pineapple and mint ($12); and wat tan hor ($12), which features stir-fried rice noodles in egg gravy with prawns, pork and choy sum.
The simple decor. Photo: Michele Mossop
Simple favourites such as fresh spring rolls ($8) and fried breads ($3) are featured alongside unusual options such as ikan bakar ($16), a grilled stingray dish with spicy dipping sauce.
Like the menu, the simple eating space is modelled on hawker centres and includes a spacious dining area with basic wooden decor.
"We want to stay true to the hawker spirit by focusing on authentic flavours in a simple setting," Lee says. "We want to let the food speak for itself."
The original Mamak opened in Chinatown in 2008, followed by outlets in Chatswood and Melbourne CBD.
Shop G.02, 345B-353 Sussex Street, Sydney, hawker.com.au
Correction: An earlier version of this story identified the assam laksa incorrectly. This has now been updated.