I read about Oakland's Southeast Asian street food restaurant, Hawker Fare, in our AAA Magazine of all things. Hawker Fare is owned by James Syhabout whose Commis is nationally known as one of the best restaurants in America. Commis is a bit on the pricey side for my budget these days, so we opted for his more casual restaurant instead. Anyways, I asked around and apparently, people love it, so I had to go and check it out. Last week, I went with my friend, Helen, who is always up for foodie adventures. Fortunately, I absolutely loved this place! It is not the largest restaurant, so we did have to wait in line for a table. However, they serve people quickly so there isn't a super long waiting time. I went on a Tuesday so that may be a big difference as opposed to a weekend dinner crowd. We were there on the later side of the evening and this place was packed, which is usually a positive sign of a good restaurant. We ordered the "Blistered Beans" which are beans that are cooked well with caramelized ginger, smoked pork bacon and dried shrimp. This is a must when eating here. I have been here again since last week and both times this dish was consistent. Helen had the "Kao Mun Gai" which is the poached chicken rice bowl. I would HIGHLY recommend this dish. It was super flavorful and the chicken was so tender and moist. I had the Satay Beef Short Ribs which was also very savory although a tad on the chewy side. When I took my mother here this week, we also tried the Siamese Peanuts, which are cooked with shrimp paste, chilies and anchovies. This was so great and at $4 it was well worth it. I got the poached chicken on my second visit and asked for an extra side of the fried garlic oil which I would definitely recommend. I liked it even better than the mung bean sauce that came with the chicken. Most rice bowls are $9.50 which is very reasonable. I even had leftovers to bring to my husband (minus the side of cilantro) and he enjoyed it as well. Once in a while, you might hit a special dish they will serve, but otherwise, I really do not think you can go wrong with anything here. Another friend of mine tried the spicy pork rice bowl and thought it was delicious. The desserts are not as creative and frankly, I was so full that I really did not care to eat any. If you are ever in the Oakland area and are looking for a casual, budget conscious foodie delight, head on over to Hawker Fare. You will definitely not regret it!
2300 Webster Street, Oakland