It’s no secret that a good meal begins with presentation. We’ve all heard that dining begins with our eyes and some restaurants really embrace that idea. While exploring the Deep Ellum neighborhood, in Dallas, we made a lunch stop at Hawkers Asian Street Food. We had heard good things about this place, so we wanted to see if they held up to the hype. With hopeful attitudes, and hungry bellies, we headed in for some artful eats.
The Deep Ellum neighborhood has its roots as an old commercial district. Established in 1873, it has been home to one of Henry Ford’s earliest automobile plants. By the 1920s, this area had become a hot spot for jazz and blues music. Like many cities, it saw a decline in the 1960s and 70s. It was music that brought a rebirth to the district. These days, Deep Ellum is filled with pops of color and unique businesses. It has turned into an entertainment hub with a vast array of dining options. Hawkers Asian Street Food fits in perfectly with its artistic design.
We discovered the bright colors and fun design continued on the inside. Our server walked us through the menu, which is filled with tapas-style dishes. Our first selection was one that we have never tried. Roti Canai is an Indian flatbread commonly found in Malaysia. The best way I can describe it would be soft and flaky. Hawkers Asian serves theirs with a curry dipping sauce that brought some heat to the table. If I had to describe this dish in one word, it would be “addicting”.
Now that our appetites were in high gear, it was time to toss in some savory bites. We decided to just keep ordering items until our bellies were full. The Coconut Shrimp and Chicken Egg Rolls were next to arrive. These classics were well prepared and gobbled up quickly. They each had their own dipping sauce (Curry for the shrimp and Duck for the egg rolls) but we weren’t against mixing them up. A simple game of Rock, Paper, Scissors helped determine who got the extra shrimp (It was Crystal).
We were introduced to Bao Buns by our daughter at a local Asian cuisine eatery. Hawkers Asian has an assortment of fillings but the Pork Belly Baos sounded best for us. Besides the thick slices of pork belly, they also pack them with pickled mustard greens, roasted peanuts, and hard-boiled egg. a mixture of cilantro and brown sugar brings a savory-sweet accent to each bite. The creative display really added to the overall appeal of this dish. Good thing there are two per serving, as I wasn’t willing to risk losing another game.
We were beginning to get full, but there was still one more dish coming. Satay Chicken Street Skewers is one of our favorite tapas foods. Hawkers Asian prepares there’s with a blend of fennel, lemongrass, cumin, and turmeric. This spice blend is the perfect mix when combined with the spicy peanut dipping sauce. Even though we were starting to feel the effects of so much food, we couldn’t stop noshing. Once this dish was polished off, we knew we needed a stroll.
While approaching the restaurant, we spotted a local art fair. With lunch completed, this was the perfect activity to help us walk off some calories. As we strolled, we could see how public art has been used to create a vibrant style in Deep Ellum. It’s always encouraging to see how other cities move their cities forward, especially after years of decline. It was getting close to the time for us to head to the Perot Museum but we knew we would be back in this area for more exploring in the evening.