Friday, February 22, 2013

Hakka Wok

-Grubbing in Chicago (land)
Where the local 'burbans eat

I'm a sucker for countries outside of China's take on their cuisine. I had a series of days I had to be out in no mans land right around when people started talking about Indian-Chinese food over at LTH. It got me interested in trying some Indo-Chinese so I took advantage out of being punished with having to be all the way out in da burbs for a few days. Actually many suburbs like Schaumburg have become culinary destinations for the different ethnic cuisines you can find in the strip malls. If you sniff around you can find some amazing places doing things you cant get in the city. Example HERE.

Schaumburg: Land of Strip Mall Eats

Hakka Wok has a little bit of their story on how these two cuisines became meshed into one on their website  There's also a little bit of the chefs history who was a second-generation Chinese Indian born in Calcutta. After moving from there to here he worked at the now defunct Hot Wok Village. I did a little bit of web wandering as to the popular dishes of this particular Chinese fusion and got an idea of what to order when I tried it. The Manchow soup was similar in texture to Hot and Sour but not as good. Spicy but just bits of celery and some cabbage to be found. Also, I'm not a huge fan of gloppy soups like these.

Manchow Soup

Somewhere I read that many of the dishes of the actual Hakka people of China are different sorts of minced meat or veggie balls. That part of the peoples cuisine caught on in Indian-Chinese. Pakora are ground balls of fish, shrimp or chicken which are mixed with cilantro and other herbs and seasoned then fried. The homemade dipping sauce is a really tasty blend of garlic, cilantro and other things I'm sure they didn't mention when I asked what it was. I liked these.

Chicken Pakora

One of the signature and most popular dishes here is their Bhazzia with Manchurian gravy. Bhazzia being minced vegetable fritters which are covered in gravy. The gravy was thick and spicy with lots of cilantro, green onion and hints of garlic mixed in. I'm a meat eater but somewhat enjoyed this veg-head dish. I mixed it all together with the white rice and it was pretty comforting on a chilly day.

Bhazzia with Manchurian Gravy

The other two most popular Indian Chinese dishes I saw were Manchurian and Chili chicken. Hakka Wok has lunch specials M-F until 3p and they include soup, choice of rice and a veggie fried spring roll. I tried both since 2 of my visits were with somebody else. I liked the Manchurian chicken which Wikipedia says is entirely a creation of Chinese restaurants in India.

Manchurian Chicken (Dry)

It also says it comes with veggies but not Hakka's version. Looking at this dish on the WWW it looked like Orange Chicken and in some cases it came swimming in gravy. Its offered wet or dry. I got it dry and enjoyed the popular Indian dish of chicken with chopped garlic, ginger, and green chilis with soy sauce replacing the garam masala. The veggie fried rice was just ok but the smell and looks of their burnt garlic fried rice were nice. They also offer the popular non meat eaters favorite gobi (fried cauliflower) Manchurian. Like Manchurian Chicken, chilli chicken recipes and looks differ depending on where you go.

Chili Chicken (Looks like Mall Chinese huh? I thought it was better though)

I didn't notice any particular Indian spices in this dish which also like the Manchurian has a little bit of an American-Chinese feel. But I did enjoy it (dry) as I do other guilty eating American-Chinese dishes. They brought the heat with both of the chicken dishes and I enjoyed dumping the green sauce offered with each lunch special on top of the chicken. However I would stay away from the non Indo-Chinese selections based off an order of Schezwan shrimp. All in all, not worth riding out of the way for like nearby Santouka is, but it might be a stop I'd make again if I was ever in the area. I still like Caribbean Chinese more. Still never tried Canadian Chinese cuisine though. Any other fun ones?

Dexter is on his way to take a sample...

Hakka Wok
1851 West Golf Road
Schaumburg, IL 60194
(847) 882-0910

Hakka Wok on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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