Hawker Chan, Petaling Street

December 12, 2019

Hawker Chan's saga began when an Ipoh-born teenager left his home village and his family's livestock farm in 1980, settling in Singapore where he apprenticed under a Hong Kong chef before setting up his own stall. 

Founder Chan Hon Meng's life changed three years ago when his soy sauce chicken rice and noodle stall was awarded a Michelin star, ranking it alongside respected Singaporean establishments like JAAN and Waku Ghin and earning it widespread attention for serving the world's cheapest Michelin-starred meal.

Hawker Chan can now be found across the Asia-Pacific, from four outposts in Singapore to more than a dozen in Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and even Kazakhstan. After returning to its roots in Ipoh earlier this year, the brand finally opens in Kuala Lumpur this month, hoping to charm in Chinatown.

Hawker Chan's signature Hong Kong-inspired soy sauce chicken marks a change from the more popular Hainanese-style poached versions in KL. It might be an acquired taste and it won't be everyone's favourite, but it's still well worth trying for fans of chicken rice.

Marinated with a soy sauce blend with a secret balance of ingredients, the roast chicken is sweet-savoury without being overpoweringly so, tender and smooth-textured throughout, with the meat sourced from a carefully chosen poultry farm.

Served with sauce-soaked rice and braised soybeans for RM8.80, it'll make for a simple, soulful lunch or dinner in a bright, clean and comfortable space. Customers have a choice of Thai rice with sauce or garlic fragrant rice for the carb component.

The chicken can be ordered not only with rice but with either egg noodles or hor fun, as is the case for Hawker Chan's other protein specialities, including pork ribs, char siew and roasted pork. The pork meets the mark, with the first two proving well-caramelised and the siu yok being lean and fleshy.

If you prefer the fowl on its own, half a chicken starts from RM23, while combination pork platters are also available.

Soups and sides merit their own mention as well, especially the papaya tea soup with pork ribs, a classic that hits the spot for spoonfuls of slurp-worthy comfort (RM7). Customers can complement their meal with seasonal veggies (RM6), Thai-style tofu (RM5) and Ipoh-cultivated beansprouts, with kitchen-brewed tea to wash everything down.

Many thanks to Hawker Chan for having us here.

Liao Fan Hawker Chan Kuala Lumpur

135, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 11am-9pm.

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