Hawker Chan Restaurant is a joint partnership between Mr Chan – Chef of one-Michelin-starred Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle and Hersing Culinary. So to put things right, Hawker Chan Restaurant is not Michelin-starred. The Michelin-starred establishment is the existing stall in Chinatown Food Complex. However the new air-con establishment offers a much comfortable dining place as compared to the hawker centre.
I’ve long heard of the legendary soya sauce chicken stall in the hawker centre and have witnessed the snaking queue. It was perhaps the relatively affordable pricing at the hawker stall in addition to the juicy, succulent chicken that attracted hordes of foodies. However the long queue deterred me from trying them out until Hawker Chan Restaurant was introduced.
The queue at Hawker Chan Restaurant is definitely much shorter than the one at the hawker stall. But it doesn’t mean it was easy to get my hands on a plate of the chicken rice. It took me 3 visits before I managed to taste the chicken. On my first 2 attempts, the chickens were sold out by 6pm in the evening although the shop is supposed to operate till 10pm (Now their official hours is till 8pm).
For my 3rd visit, we got there by 5+pm. The queue was relatively short, extending over 2 shophouse units. Waited in line for about 45 minutes but the wait was still bearable given the cloudy weather. With the queue system in place, customers are advised to get seated only after placing order for their food at the counter. Thankfully most people seemed to adhere to the rules instead of chope-ing for their seats way in advance to enjoy the aircon inside. However those in larger group size such as more than 4 pax may find it more challenging to get 2 tables side-by-side. Based on my observation most customers didn’t face the problem of not getting a table by the time their food is ready.
Over at the restaurant, the chicken meat is served on proper plates instead of styrofoam ones at the hawker stall. As the stall uses smaller birds, we have no problem finishing half a chicken between 2 pax. In fact, a group of guys sitting next to us ordered half a chicken per pax!
The meat was tender and juicy. The soy sauce chicken gravy style is closer to the type with a hint of rose-flavored rice wine (mei kwei lu). Those who are familiar with soy sauce chicken would know that there is another style which is the darker and more savoury type (e.g the 2 shophouse stalls along Upper Cross Street). The chilli sauce provided seems pretty ordinary and nothing to shout about.
While I wouldn’t mind visiting the shop again, I probably won’t invest more than 30 mins of my time waiting in line.