A lot of the same menu items you would expect to see are here. That’s ok, for once I’m not looking for variety or innovations. I’m looking for traditional dishes that I’m used to seeing and that I’ve longed to taste again. I’ve heard that prices are really good and orders should be kept to a minimum since you’ll end up walking out with a wheel-barrel for a doggie bag. With that in mind, we decide to order beef fried rice, garlic chicken and chilli beef, all recommended by the waiter. We also grab two orders of extra white rice, which looking back probably wasn’t necessary because the fried rice was enough.
Our orders arrive in record time which tells me food is already cooked and is just being mixed and reheated. I’m not fine dining here, so again, I’m ok with this (I just hope it was made fresh at some point that day). We prepare our plates and the smells are already getting to me, I’m hungry!
The food was everything I was hoping it would be; spicy and intense. Healthy eating, at least for this hour, was out the window. We prepared ourselves for indigestion.
The garlic chicken was by far my favourite. Rich fiery orange colour with a shiny glaze of oil, so bad, yet so good! The chilli in the garlic was a welcomed flavour combination. I’ve had ginger chicken in the past, but garlic chicken was a first. My preference with Hakka Chinese food is saucy dishes. I’m not into anything too dry unless it’s Indian food that I can eat with naan.
The chilli beef wasn’t a hit with me just because the base was a little too watery. I think next time I’ll go with the battered, crispy beef, which is has a thicker sauce. The chilli beef flavour was good but spicy. However, I remind myself that anything with “chilli” as a preface is going to have a kick. My husband didn’t seem to like the chilli beef as much either. His complaint was the texture and the fact that the beef wasn’t battered. Plus, with the base being more on the watery side, it was not what he was expecting.
My kids loved the beef fried rice. You can’t really go wrong with the beef, chicken, vegetable or seafood version. The flavour was mild and surprisingly not as oily as I’ve experienced at other places. After fried rice sits on your plate for a bit, it usually leaves a pool of oil, I didn’t experience this with Hakka Garden’s version. Ignoring the fact that the vegetables were very obviously your frozen packaged variety, it was still all bright and steamed just right, not overcooked or dull. For the price, the meat to rice ratio was pretty good too. I recall feeling bamboozled in the past when I order a meat fried rice at other places and feel like I’m digging for treasure trying to find the scant morels of meat.
We all ate to our stomach’s content. We opted for water instead of our pop as we needed the palate cleanse. Pop would be overkill and might tip the indigestion scale from moderate to high.
The food was in fact plentiful. In my opinion, three adults can comfortably eat from a single dish like chilli beef or ginger chicken. So my calculation for two to four people stays the same for ordering; one dish per person, plus one or more rice or noodle dishes, and then share (or just order more plain white rice to keep the price of the meal even more economical). You’ll still get lots of leftovers and everyone will have a good selection to choose from. If you’re ordering for a larger party, try one of their various combos which are a good option as well.
I tend not to write about places that I wouldn’t recommend, so Hakka Garden is a winner and my new go to when I have a craving for Hakka Chinese food, which now, will be often!