Scorcher reviews: Hawker Chan
157 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Click PLAY below to hear Scorcher’s review on 3AW Breakfast
Wear comfortable shoes.
That’s the best tidbit of advice I can offer those wanting to check out Melbourne’s newest, much-hyped Asian eatery.
Amid a flurry of feathers and dancing dragons, Hawker Chan touched down in Lonsdale Street from its HQ in Singapore, in early December.
Not only has the Melbourne version imported Chef Chan Hong Meng’s renowned Hong Kong-style soya sauce chicken dish, often cited as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal, but also punters’ proclivity to queue for it.
It is not uncommon for folk in Singapore to line up for three hours for a taste of Chef Chan’s chook from his humble hawker stall, here in Melbourne queues snake down Lonsdale Street like a conga line at your aunt’s 50th.
The summer sun roasted my skin about as much as the pork I was about to consume, while I waited 90 minutes for a table.
So was it worth the wait?
Oh my, yes.
The chicken is plump and packed full of punch.
It’s a satisfying and unashamedly humble dish that belies its $6.80 price tag.
It’s Chef Chan’s version of Mr Brightside. If you saw The Killers in concert and they didn’t play one of their most famous tunes, you’d understandably be miffed. Likewise, one must try the famed soya sauce chicken with rice in order to get the full Hawker Chan experience.
Chef Chan’s sauce recipe is a heavily-guarded secret, perhaps more so than the nuclear codes.
Each day Chan barricades himself in a room with blacked-out windows to avoid the prying eyes of poultry peepers.
But this buzzing canteen is not solely about succulent chicken.
We also enjoyed the roasted pork with noodles, a simple and slurpable plate of food that really hits the spot.
The Thai-style fried tofu with matchstick-thin apple and peanuts comes drenched in sweet chilli sauce – the king of all condiments.
In all, we ate five dishes, plus two cups of chrysanthemum tea, and the bill came to, wait for it, $44.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better feed at that price in the city.