I know nothing about Malaysian food. While it’s certainly possible I have had it before and not realized it, my trip to Hawker’s Delight was my first intentional foray into it. Melanie and I were joined by our friends Elizabeth and Grant, who were so kind as to walk us through the experince and lay down a few recommendations.
Hawker’s Delight is a small restaurant on Main Street near the corner of King Edward with limited seating and an emphasis on value. Known as a place to eat big and decently on the cheap, Elizabeth warned us that we may find it difficult to find a spot to sit and enjoy our dinner. Lucky though, Melanie and I were able to snag one of the few tables that could sit four people.
While looking over the menu I had mixed senses of wonder and familiarity. There was nothing radical present, with noodles and rice making up the bases of most of the dishes, but at the same time I found myself at a loss for predicting the flavours that would reside in each dish. Being willing follow on this occasion, we ordered the same mains as our friends, requesting the Mee Siam for Melanie, and the Mee Goreng for myself. In addition to this we ordered a pair of veggie fritters and a pair of tofu puffs. It’s also important to know that when you place your order at Hawker’s Delight you are given number, and when your order is ready your dish is brought to you. This is the extent of the table service, as it is up to you to hydrate yourself at the water cooler and pick up your own utensils.
The fritters sit in a large tray under a lamp next to the area where you place your order, and we gave into the temptation to try them. Fried in oil, they were crispy out the outside and soft and doughy centre, showing no ill effects from being kept warm. The vegetables were mixed within the dough and it provided a solid appetizer to the meal. Not long after finishing them we were greeted by the tofu puffs. Also appearing to be fried, the puffs were stuffed with assorted vegetables and topped with a peanut sauce. I didn’t quite enjoy them as much as the fritter since the sauce made them a bit soggy, but they were still a welcome addition to the meal.
Seemingly synced to our speed of consumption, the mains arrived just as we finished the appetizers. Melanie’s Mee Siam was a soup like dish containing very fine rice noodles. Described as being served in sweet and sour peanut gravy, it also contained sliced tofu puffs, an egg and an assortment of vegetables including bean sprouts and chives. It was well received by Melanie, and the sample I had was enjoyable, although I would have preferred thicker noodles.
The Mee Goreng, which I requested to be spicy, contained noodles which were fried and cut up. Upping the level of carbs in the dish were cubed potatoes, which seemed strange at first but actually worked quite well. The bean sprouts were mixed in with the noodles, adding a satisfying crunch to the meal, and the tomatoes sprinkled throughout kept things fresh. I found the level of spicy heat to be appropriate, and it was worth making the trip to the water cooler near the end of the meal to keep things in check. The portions were large, and I was the only person at the table to clean their plate.
Elizabeth put it best when she proclaimed her motto for Hawker’s being “You can’t afford not to”. Low prices encourage experimentation with large portions of tasty food acting as the reward. Seemingly swamped by locals, you may want to consider takeout as an option, as seating is very limited and highly contested.
Large portions at low prices keep the crowds up and the belly’s full. Worth checking out if you’re craving a carbohydrate based meal on a budget.
Hawker’s Delight, 4127 Main Street, Vancouver
Mee Siam, Mee Goreng, two tofu puffs, and a pair of vegetable fritters.
Tofu Puffs= .75¢ (each)
Vegetable fritters = $1.12 (for the pair)
Mee Siam/Mee Goreng = Forgive me, as I forgot to write down the exact figures, but I can assure you they were between $5.25 and $5.75.