Hawker 18: busy, hectic street food ... in a shopping centre

Hawker 18: busy, hectic street food ... in a shopping centre

We find Hong Kong's hottest eats 'n' treats ...

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A well balanced and satisfying Singaporean seafood laksa lemak.
Photo: Heidi Yeung/SCMP

Hawker 18
Shop 113, Level 1, New Town Plaza,
18 Shatin Centre Street, Sha Tin
Tel: 2117 2368

Cuisine: As the name suggests, it’s inspired by hawker centres, so it’s a real mix of mostly Singaporean and Malay dishes.

Vibe: If this branch had been its own restaurant and not a space within a large food court corridor, it would have seemed very fun and hip. But because it sits between two other restaurants, it just seemed a little hectic. Even though the staff are very helpful and friendly, the lack of intimacy makes it more appropriate for energetic gatherings rather than a chance to relax.

Earthy tones punctuated with splashes of bright pink and turquoise give the space a very youthful vibe, and the bright accents are carried over into their cutlery. There’s something about beautiful plates that makes even a mundane meal seem more enjoyable.

The deliciously refreshing Sir Coco Mango.
Photo: Heidi Yeung/SCMP

Who to take: Perfect for a post DSE exam dinner party with friends. There are many dishes to choose from, from starters to desserts, and the portions are great for sharing. When dishes were flavourful though, they were also quite tangy, so it may not agree with those who prefer milder flavours.

What’s hot: The Singaporean seafood laksa lemak is very good. It’s not heavy or greasy but with well balanced flavours and textures, and satisfying even if it’s shared between two people. However, if you’re not a fan of little oysters, ask the waiter to have the chef leave them out.

Hawker 18 also offers a lovely fried young okra and eggplant with seafood, which had a nice mix of veggies that complimented the sweetness of the squid very well. And out of the many special drinks available, the Sir Coco Mango was deliciously refreshing.

The fried young okra and eggplant with seafood has a nice mix of veggies that compliments the sweetness of the squid very well.
Photo: Heidi Yeung/SCMP

What’s not: When something is said to be its signature, you expect it to be good. Disappointingly, while the signature curry with pork shank was cooked until the meat could easily be pried off the bones, it was very bland unless eaten with the sauce. It makes you wonder whether the two parts might have been cooked separately.

Perhaps it’s because of the location in the middle of a food court corridor, but attention to detail could have definitely used some improvements. There shouldn’t be little black bits floating in your glass of water. And even though the waiters were great while serving you, for a relatively contained space such as this one, it shouldn’t take a good deal of waving about to get their attention.

Cost: Soups and starters run from $40 to $138, mains (including seafood, meat and rice and noodles) are from $88 to $198. Drinks and desserts are $22 to $98.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
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