Hakka King

To be honest, I’m not sure I get Hakka cuisine yet. The Fiance and I have started trying out more Hakka restaurants and the food’s been tasty but we end up ordering a lot of deep fried dishes and in general there’s a lot of oil. Is there more to it? Is this just what’s available in Toronto? Either way, while my taste buds are happy with strong flavour, my waistline is not.

Atmosphere: Originally our plan was to grab lunch at Federick Restaurant next door, but it was closed on Boxing Day and we ended up at their neighbour Hakka King. The restaurant was simple and clean. It wasn’t very busy and there were an even number of customers getting takeout vs. dining in. Hakka King still felt new with customers closely reading the menu and asking lots of questions. Over time, I can see this becoming a go-to spot in the neighbourhood.

Service: Our server tried hard to be helpful. When we first entered, we were seated at a table for 6 with an extra chair on the end. As tables cleared, our server moved us to to a more comfortable arrangement. Each dish arrived quickly and we were left to enjoy the food.

Food: As previously mentioned, many of the dishes were deep fried. Some plates were spicier than others, but overall the spices and flavours were consistent throughout the meal. This may have been because of our choices. What am I missing?

When the Szechuan lamb came out, I was so excited for a change of pace. It was still spicy, but a different blend of flavours that woke up my tongue.

Lunch began with a plate of fish pakoras that were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Each piece was generously battered and each bite was piping hot. I liked the spice level on this dish, not burning. The dry chili chicken was excellent and I contemplated adding a second plate. Our vegetable was a crispy green bean that was slick with oil but so tasty. Again, there was plenty of salt, spice and tasty charred bits. The generous plate of Hakka Chow Mein was enough to feed the seven of us and was also filled with shrimp, beef and squid. The chili fish fillets were also solid and had the most heat.

Overall, lunch at Hakka King was solid and I didn’t have to drink litres of water that afternoon. However, I’m not sold on Hakka food yet, not a cuisine that I would crave for.

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