July 2, 2022

Salted egg yolk fried rooster sando, Malaysian shaker fries and coconut cocktail at Potluck Hawker Eatery in Vancouver.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

Potluck Hawker Eatery

  • Location: 3424 Cambie St., Vancouver
  • Web site: potluckyvr.ca
  • Cellphone: 604-423-9344
  • Costs: Snacks and sweets, $7 to $14; shared plates, rice and noodles, $16 to $25; frequent large-format specials.
  • Delicacies: Southeast Asian road meals
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to eight:30 p.m.
  • Takeout: UberEats or pre-ordered pickup by web sites; frequent household model specials.
  • Further info: Name for reservations (really useful); no patio; contact-tracing assortment must be tightened.

The one factor I’ve discovered about consuming out in Vancouver within the time of a pandemic is that some eating places have excelled at takeout and a few have achieved an incredible job of adapting their dine-in expertise, however only a few can do each nicely.

Potluck Hawker Eatery is likely one of the rarities.

This vivid, daring, trendy tackle Southeast Asian road meals markets is owned by Justin Cheung, the previous chef at New Westminster’s Longtail Kitchen, and Dominic Sai, who labored there with him.

The menu is a steadily altering riot of cuisines, leaning closely to Malaysia (the place Mr. Cheung’s household is from), however reaching so far as the Philippines (the crispy pata, when out there, sells out in a flash) and infrequently brilliantly artistic (the salted-egg-yolk fried-chicken sandwich is a handheld foodgasm that casual-dining connoisseurs might be telling their grandchildren about).

Potluck Hawker Eatery in Vancouver, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Darryl Dyck/The Globe and MailDARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

The 18-seat restaurant (down from 32) is as cute as a button. Metallic stools and chairs are painted in a rainbow of colors and the bogs are lined in durian fruit-patterned wallpaper.

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One aspect of the room is a wall-to-window pantry shelf stacked with Tremendous Q Particular palabok noodles, Koon Chun superb shrimp sauce and different cult-favourite kitchen necessities which can be onerous to supply (and out there for buy in the event you ask).

The opposite is a plastic barrier separating the eating room from the walkway to the entrance counter, which sees a gradual but orderly stream of shoppers selecting up takeout that may be ordered on-line in 15-minute intervals.

Sadly for them, they will’t attempt the brand new dine-in-only cocktails, which features a terrific Thai milk tea spiked with coriander-and-peppercorn spiced rum.

The unique concept was to supply a rotating potluck-style household menu that includes centerpiece dishes comparable to whole-fried fish fleshed out with snacks, salads, small sides and sambals.

COVID-19 threw a number of wrenches within the plan. Mr. Sai received caught in South Korea, the renovation slowed down and a spring opening was delayed till summer time.

However to Mr. Cheung’s astonishment, the potluck idea translated nearly seamlessly into household model takeout.

He first examined the waters at Thanksgiving, with a complete coconut-milk-fried rooster and Singaporean black-pepper crab feast. The surf-and-turf combo, which value $200 and fed 4 to 6 folks, got here with all types of street-food fixings, together with golden mantou buns and salted-egg-yolk polenta. He anticipated to promote 25 units, however ultimately needed to minimize off the pre-orders at 100.

Then got here Christmas and the crab feast collection, which included his sensational Dungeness chili crab – the claws flash-fried to tighten up the meat and the physique full of a thick, piquant tomato sauce swirled with egg.

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For Lunar New 12 months, there was an eight-course smorgasbord with a complete hainanese rooster in truffled soybean sauce.

New 12 months’s rolled into Dine Out, throughout which I had the pleasure of ordering fried duck leg and salted-egg-yolk lobster dusted in a sweet-gingery home seasoning. Each had been served in recyclable bento trays with separated sections for pickles, crispy anchovies and peanuts, coconut rice, a sambal-marinated boiled-and-fried egg and the restaurant’s personal stellar variations of kale (deep-fried and coconut-creamed, the latter a voluptuous model of Filipino laing). The trays are a wise method of holding every distinctive dish in its personal sandbox, whereas additionally lowering waste.

Laksa at Potluck Hawker Eatery in Vancouver, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Darryl Dyck/The Globe and MailDARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

My solely concern is that with so many alternative menus and programs, there appears to be an absence of integration. The final time I visited, the contact-tracing info was being collected by a pop-up on the QR-code menu. It was really fairly annoying as a result of the immediate popped up each time you seemed on the menu and will really be bypassed.

That is seemingly an issue for a lot of eating places which can be making an attempt to do the whole lot and navigating a hodge-podge of platforms on the fly, however it’s a COVID security hole that must be addressed.

Not within the temper for a feast? You possibly can order a lot of the common menu for supply by UberEats.

The bestsellers embrace Mama Cheung’s Laksa, a wealthy and creamy curry variation with a swampy undertow of fermented shrimp (from the house-made chili rempah, which is very like a Malay sofrito and the bottom for a number of dishes). Followers of fish sauce will love its depth of funky flavour. Diners with extra delicate palates might be shocked how briskly they acclimatize to the aroma, which shortly mellows into citrusy soapiness from the addition of recent laksa leaves.

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Roti canai at Potluck Hawker Eatery in Vancouver,DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

Then there are the crispy free-range rooster wings glazed within the candy, gradual burn of caramelized fish sauce infused with pandan and dried chili.

And naturally, I have to let you know extra in regards to the salted-egg-yolk fried-chicken sandwich. I’ve had two totally different variations. Each contained juicy rooster thighs, marinated in coconut milk and rempah for twenty-four hours, dredged in tapioca flour, double-fried and spiked with butter-garlic salted egg yolk. And each had been dressed with tangy green-mango slaw and a thick smear of sweet-and-sour tamarind jam.

The primary sandwich was bundled in grilled milk bread and topped with crunchy, green-rice cereal. The second was squished between a brioche bun and served with Malaysian shaker fries – frozen crinkle cuts taken to the subsequent stage with a sprinkling of sugar, galangal powder, salt, chili and fried curry leaves.

I’m unsure which of the 2 sandwiches I appreciated higher, however I do know I didn’t go away a crumb on both plate.

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