Hawker Hall In Hartamas Lets Malaysians Unite Under The Umbrella Of Food
We sat down with co-founders Anabelle Co-Martinent & Kong Len Win to try a wealth of dishes ranging from Malaysian and Western to Thai and Korean cuisine
We created Hawker Hall, because it's close to the heart of Malaysia.— Anabelle Co-Martinent
Hawker Hall is a contemporary hawker centre that celebrates Malaysians' ultimate and shared passion: food.
"Malaysians want Malaysian food," said Anabelle Co-Martinent. Despite her and Kong Len Win's joint success with La Juiceria, a chain of health-focused cafés, and Super Saigon, a string of Vietnamese restaurants, neither eatery catered to that particular crowd. So to appease the local palate, the two partners opened Hawker Hall, a pork-free eatery that also keeps prices affordable — just like at your average hawker.
The hawker spirit lives on within the walls of Hawker Hall. The modern-rustic eatery has a lively and comfortable ambience that makes dining a more comfortable experience than at most roadside stalls. Communal tables fill the family-friendly café while a 1970s playlist can be heard in the background. Teal motifs and neon lights cater to Instagrammers' desires.
They begin impressing us with their drink specialities: a coconut ice cream blend that floors us with its distinctive, tropical taste, and a minty ice cream blend that reminds me of childhood pleasures, namely Nestle's Tropicana ice cream that we all know and love. Neither too creamy nor too thick, both beverages will help you combat Malaysia's hot, hazy days.
If cold drinks are not your cup of tea, try the Kopi O prepared using famous Kluang coffee.
We started our feast right with the Gangnam Korean fried chicken done two ways: coated in daebak soy garlic and sweet chilli. The soy garlic exceeded our expectations, but it was the sweet chilli chicken that sealed the deal for us — the combination of sweet, tangy and spicy flavours meant we kept reaching out for more.
Uncle Lim's Char Koay Teow then showcased the jewel in Penang's crown: wok-fried rice noodles served with fresh prawns, cockles, scrambled eggs, bean sprouts and chives. The Tatler team fell in love with this noodle dish laced with a tinge of spice. Uncle Lim also goes above and beyond when it comes to cendol. Homemade gula Melaka adds a homely feeling in this cold, comforting dessert. Both dishes are must-tries at the modern hawker.
But let's not forget the ultimate breakfast classic: we got to taste Pak Haji's nasi lemak that was both decadent and delicious with crispy fried chicken, crunchy spice-infused batter, and spicy sambal. But if you're not a fan of rice, the curry laksa packs just as much heat and flavour.
Seafood lovers take note! The stir-fried lala (clams) with beans, Thai basil, chillies and the house-special sauce is the perfect combination of sweet, savoury and spicy. We cleared the whole plate. Thai-style egg fried rice makes the perfect partner for this dish.
Skip the line at Sixty Bites's TTDI stall and pig out on their hearty burgers at Hawker Hall. This collaboration deserves a medal as the flavourful burgers are flipping fantastic and worth the calories. The trophy goes to the Hannibal Double Lamb Burger because of how unique it is — think a masala-spiced lamb patty with a sweet and spicy chutney mayo. But the Double Chezburger, which sees a homemade beef patty with mustard, pickles, mayonnaise, onion jam and tomato slices, is a foolproof classic!
Vegetarian & Vegan Options
We are then introduced to several dishes created solely for vegetarian and vegan foodies. Harking back to their roots, the co-founders have brought elements of La Juiceria and LJ Superfoods Signature to Hawker Hall's menu. Non-meat eaters can still have their Malaysian food fix by ordering the likes of stir-fried tofu with basil leaves and rice as well as the Cantonese vegetarian hor fun, a classic wat tan hor with tofu, carrots, mushrooms, choy sum and egg gravy. These 'remixed' dishes underscore Malaysia's food mantra: that there is a fit for anyone and everyone, taking into account race, religion, lifestyle and culture.
All in all, Hawker Hall is a stellar place to satisfy your Malaysian and Asian food cravings. The comfortable and lively ambiance makes it the perfect place to lepak on weekends or weeknights. They'll soon be launching breakfast and lunch menus to boot.