Friday, December 4, 2009

Hawker's Cafe - Chicken Rice

Hawker's Cafe
213 Russell St
Melbourne Vic 3000
Telephone: 03 9662 1867

Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs 1o:30am - 11:30pm; Fri - Sat 10:30am - 5:00am

I've had this intermittent craving for chicken rice ever since witnessing Poh pull off the most gourmet version ever in the Masterchef final. Now I know everyone's got their own favourites so I'm not going to get into a lenghty dispute over whose assertion is the most accurate. Suffice to say the most convenient (and yummiest!) place to get chicken rice in Melbourne in my opinion is Hawker's Cafe.

Yeah I know, how often does a place serving street food have its own website, hey?

Anyway, here is the menu for your perusal - and you can take it home with you! I haven't tried, but it also says you can call in beforehand to place your orders for take-out, which is very convenient if you are speeding through the city and need to grab a pre-theatre meal toute suite!

I know for a fact that this place is pretty popular so you can imagine my surprise when I dropped in at 7pm on Friday night and it was, well...a ghost town.

I'm guessing that it's because this is a supper haunt for everyone else given that they close at 5am(!) on weekends.

There were exactly two other customers, one a lady who was loudly dispensing unsolicited advice to everyone in the vicinity (apparently I should eat as much chicken rice as I can while I'm young and can't get fat - oh how little you know, O Wise One), and the other an incongruously well-dressed man clutching a bouquet of flowers (think you might've gotten the wrong place, sonny!). This didn't deter me from placing two orders for chicken rice - one 'large' for G ($11.80), and one 'regular' for me ($8.80), though it did deter us from eating in.

Front of house and The Wise One

Other House Specials

And so - after some of the most efficient and friendly service I've ever had in a Chinese take-out, I gingerly carry my orders back home.

And what a reward for my effort! Generous servings of silky chicken, fragrant (though admittedly oily) rice, and a fantastically sour and spicy chilli dipping sauce that packs a real punch so make sure you don't get an entire mouthful of red banana chilli. And I really like it when places go the extra mile - we received an extra (unrequested) container of chilli sauce above the two individual ones we got with our meal.

Would I come here again? I have, and more times than I'll admit! Here's a parting shot:

Hawker's Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. doesn't look too bad but I think you are right, this place comes alive after midnight!

  2. I love chicken rice but have only really been to Malaysian Oriental Wok. This certainly looks like it deserves a try. On the To-Eat list.

    Jetsetting Joyce

  3. I've tried their Laksa which was not the greatest, but the hainanese chicken looks great. I'm on a mission to hunt to down the best in Melb!

  4. Have you tried the one at BoxHill? The one at the Tram station? I heard that their Hainan chic rice is really good, gonna try it one day soon.

  5. Chicken rice is a favourite of mine too, but it's not easy to find a good one in Melbourne! I have only been to the Hawker's Cafe in Hawthorn and found their rice quite tasteless and the chicken was a bit dry. I will have to try the city branch!

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