Fistro Supper Club and Bistro 175 Beverly Street Cambridge, ON …
1A – 688 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, ON N1R 8N7
Dinner for two: $30-$45
Hakka is a somewhat imprecise term designating the fusion, essentially, of Chinese and Indian and other cultures. That includes the food too. Hakka is an ethnic group within China, whose origins are often recognized as being Guangdong and Fujian but who are not usually identified with specific regions or provinces as much as with other places in the world: there has been a considerable diaspora of Hakka peoples throughout the globe.
At its most simple, the food sees Chinese ingredients blended with Indian spicings such as garam masala. In India, Hakka peoples opened restaurants and cooked Hakka cuisine: items such as Manchurian-labelled dishes, Taiwanese-inspired dishes and items such as chili chicken might be considered Hakka. Think: Indian ingredients in Chinese cooking.
Like a Chinese menu just about anywhere, Hakka Hut’s selections are vast: vegetarian, chop suey, beef, chicken, fish, and noodles. There are Manchurian dishes that provide interest; there are lots of vegetarian options, too.
There are also televisions playing in the basic but bright-with-natural-light dining room.
Tom Yum soup is hot and spicy-hot and offers a good dose of lime-leaf tartness. It’s quite good — and quite spicy. A small bowl of Manchurian soup is similarly delicious with some chili, garlic and ginger flavours and a good texure. It’s garnished with crisp noodles: order a size larger than small.
Chicken pakoras certainly offer a lot of chicken packed into their little morsels — they are quite good, very hot and light in texture despite the poultry. Decent mint and chili sauces accompany. Manchurian noodles are spot-on cooked properly and flavourful; it causes a bit of disorientation: you are thinking Chinese food but tasting a bit of Indian. Chicken Hakka noodles are good as well.
Things take a bit of turn, however, with Manchurian fish: it starts off quite tasty, despite a rather gloopy and gelatinous sauce of which there is simply too much. The first few bites are good, but as the lightly battered fish sits in the garlicky sauce, it loses crispness and an appreciable texture. Too bad. Manchurian prawns in very nicely cooked noodles is a good dish if not under-seasoned and bland.
Even the hit-and-miss dishes are generally acceptable for inexpensive food served in strip mall such as this. All of that is not really the issue: it is, rather, an issue when staff simply don’t know anything about the menu, nor are they willing to try to get answers for you. One server simply left the table after a question and never returned.
Trying on several occasions to glean some information about what should be ordered and how to best sample the menu, it was impossible to get very much information: they simply did not know. That’s a shame, but these are kinks that can be easily worked out so that the food can start to cause real excitement.