The local street vendors in South East Asia would be suitably impressed by the newest addition to Chatswood’s bustling dining scene – Hawker Lane. Nestled between Charlotte Lane (also offering food trucks and other pop-ups) and Westfield Chatswood proper, the organised chaos of a street market is re-created with bright neon signs, a mix of cuisines wafting between tight corners and elbow-to-elbow seating as diners devour their meal.
As part of the opening weekend celebrations, me and the boy were thrilled to have the opportunity to sample the best on offer from each of the “hawkers”. We started by placing an order with One Tea Grill – which did not disappoint with a selection of their best sliders. The Matcha Baoger fused a soft pillowy green tea bun with a saucy teriyaki chicken filling, while their signature Ramen Burger was crispy on the outside with a tasty beef filling, and the Ice Cream Baoger was a heavenly mix of hot browned bao and icy cold green tea or red bean ice cream slabs.
Bao Sliders from One Tea Grill
Next stop was Nahm Jim, which serves up their stir fried Thai dishes all wrapped up in butchers paper for an authentic hawker touch. Their tasty chilli basil chicken with rice (kow pad grapao) was a flavoursome hit, although we could’ve done with a higher chicken to rice ratio.
Kow Pad Grapao from Nahm Jim
Continuing our culinary journey around South East Asia, we tried Madame Nhu’s silky smooth rice paper rolls, with a slight twist to the norm, using Darling Down beef which was braised instead of sliced. The boy was a big fan as this meant the meat was much more flavoursome and juicy, with the usual complements of vermicelli noodles and mint rounding out the filling.
Rice Paper Rolls from Madame Nhu
Rounding out the South East Asian offerings is Jim’s Malaysia, which serves up a wide range of Malaysian favourites like their Curry Laksa with plenty of fragrant coconut milk, crispy Curry Puffs with tasty spiced innards and various sweet gelatinous cakes called “kueh” which are flavoured with pandan and coconut.
Curry Laksa (sample), Curry Puffs and Kueh from Jim’s Malaysian
Lamb and Cumin offered us their signature dish of the same name. We loved the smoky flavours from their grill which were infused into the well seasoned meat, with the peppers and chilli making the meat a tasty treat, although there was quite a long line and wait for their grilled goodies!
Lamb and Cumin Skewers from Lamb and Cumin
For a touch of South Asian fare, Chachu’s had various local Indian kathi rolls on offer and we sampled the saffron roast chicken wrapped in flat bread. It was tasty and fragrant, making it a good alternative for a meal on the go.
Flat Bread in the making from Chachu’s
On the other end of the spectrum, for those who prefer more standard Japanese fare, Sushi World offers a range of hand rolls, although we found they were underwhelming in terms of flavour compared to the more exotic fare on offer in Hawker Lane. We washed the sushi down with some tea from the ubiquitous Gong Cha (the boy had the signature Milk Foam with Alisan Tea, and I had the Aloe Vera with Chia Seeds from their “health” menu).
Hand Rolls from Sushi World and Milk Foam with Alisan Tea/Aloe Vera with Chia Seeds from Gong Cha
Hawker Lane brings the best of the speed, quality and ambience of Asia’s street dining scene to Westfield Chatswood and does not disappoint with the large variety of cuisines on offer, all conveniently under one (bustling) roof.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Hawker Lane
1 Anderson Street, Chatswood NSW 2067