Cheap Eat of the Week: Hawker Bar’s laksa
By Gizelle Lau
Hawker Bar's laksa (Image: Gizelle Lau)
Opened on Ossington just a few weeks ago, Hawker Bar is already seeing lines out the door. After paying it a visit and seeing our bill — just over $50 for two (and more dishes than two people should eat) — we can see why it’s so popular. Focusing on the Singaporean street food found in hawker food courts, Hawker Bar is certainly a much more convenient option for downtowners than Restoran Malaysia at Major Mackenzie and Hwy 7.
This week’s Cheap Eat was a toss-up. On the one hand, Hawker’s chili salt tofu ($6) features soft, pearly pillows of deep-fried tofu that have been tossed in chili flakes and salt: ever so crispy on the outside, then airy when you bite through to the silky, melt-in-your-mouth tofu. Worth writing home about.
Then there’s the talk of the town: Hawker Bar’s curry laksa (chicken, vegetarian or vegan, $9 for a small bowl or $12 for a large bowl).
A Southeast Asian take on noodle soup, Hawker Bar’s laksa is just barely spicy, made with a light coconut curry soup, rice noodles, tofu puffs, snow peas, red peppers and eggplant. It’s not unlike Khao San Road’s Northern Thai khao soi, yet still quite different from Restoran Malaysia’s standard Singapore curry laksa and even more distinct than the sour, fish-based, asam-style Penang laksa.
But, as with any culture’s street dish, laksa changes from one block to the next. We’re pretty happy with this version; it’s light and goes down easy, even with warmer weather approaching.
Now we’re crossing our fingers for chilli crab, kopi tarik (pulled coffee) or better yet, roti tissue!
Hawker Bar, 164 Ossington Ave., 647-343-4698
Gizelle Lau is a food and travel writer and photographer in Toronto who lives from one meal to the next. Her column, Cheap Eat of the Week, highlights dishes that costs $10 or less. Follow her on Twitter for your daily dose of food from in/around the city.