Friday, October 2, 2015

Hawkers Asian Street Fare - Orlando

Last night, we celebrated my father-in-law's birthday at Hawkers Asian Street Fare on North Mills Avenue in Orlando.  Hawkers is named after the Asian street vendors who sell food from stands and mobile carts.  Their menu features the best "street food" recipes from different areas of Asia.

 Hawkers Asian Street Fare does not have a gluten free menu and their options are limited, but our server, and the employee I spoke to on the phone before we dined there, were very knowledgable about what dishes would be safe for me to eat.  Based on my friend Amanda's recommendation, I decided to try the Tom Yum soup with rice noodles, shrimp, basil, bean sprouts, straw mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers, served in a spicy lemongrass broth, and topped with fresh basil and lime.  Amanda, the blogger behind Eating Out Without, told me that this soup is one of her favorite dishes in all of Orlando.

I asked for my rice noodles to be prepared in fresh water, because they are usually cooked in the same water as gluten-containing noodles.  Our server mentioned that my order would be flagged in their computer, and that their employees would take precautions like changing gloves.  When they say that this dish is served in a spicy lemongrass broth, they are not kidding.  If you do not enjoy spicy food, this is not the dish for you.  Thankfully, I love spicy food, though when I ate the cucumbers in my soup, I felt like I had swallowed some napalm...and yes, that is the thought that went through this former history teacher's mind as I coughed and had to drink some water.  Overall, I enjoyed the Tom Yum soup enough to order it again.  The broth was incredibly flavorful, and with all the vegetables and noodles, the size of the dish was perfect.

My daughter Emma ordered another dish that can be prepared gluten free, the Singapore Mei Fun, which is stir-fried rice vermicelli with shrimp, chicken breast, eggs, onions, bell peppers, scallions, carrots and bean sprouts.  She ended up liking my husband's dinner better than her own, so they switched noodle dishes.  Mitch really enjoyed the Singapore Mei Fun, which he said was not spicy at all.  I was surprised when my husband, who has traveled to Asia four times in the last two years, told me that the food at Hawkers was more authentic than any Asian food he has tried in Orlando.

For dessert, I was excited to learn that there was a gluten free option, the mango sticky rice.  This delicious dish is made with red rice and coconut milk, but there was no noticeable coconut flavor, which made me happy.  My favorite touch was the mango ice cream on top, which added a cold element to the warm sticky rice.  

My daughter Kate and my father-in-law ordered the cinnamon roti, which they both loved, but I could only smell it, because it is not gluten free.

Overall, we all enjoyed our meals at Hawkers Asian Street Fare, and I felt no ill effects from eating there, except a little bit of heartburn from the spiciness of my Tom Yum soup.

You can read more about Hawkers Asian Street Fare, and view their menu on their website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Hawkers?


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