Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Ph: (03) 9802 2770
Hakka Tea House is always one of my favourite places to go when I'm in Glen Waverley. Although Glen Waverley has an abundance of dining options, for me, Hakka Tea House is one of two stand-out places that serve great food at cheap prices. The other place I definitely recommend is Kimchi Hut.
Hakka Tea House, as the name suggests, does Hakka food. The restaurant is decorated like every other Asian restaurant, pastel walls, sparse decorations, large tables with white tablecloth. Even the coloured paper stuck on the walls with menu items is cliched. I always wonder why restaurants plaster coloured sheets of menu items all over the wall, as 95% of the items are in the menu and only a couple are that day's specials. Despite the cliched decoration, the food is not cliche in the sense that it has not been changed to suit Western palates.
You have to love the complimentary soups that you get at Asian restaurants. We got chicken feet soup that night, definitely not Westernised at all. I loved the soup, as chicken feet gives so much flavour.
Suprisingly the Pork Belly and Taro Hotpot was not a successful dish. Although the pork belly was soft and unctuous, the taro (which I know works with pork belly as other restaurants do it well) didn't work with the pork belly as it wasn't cooked soft enough. The tofu with prawns was much better, with sweet bouncy prawn meat stuffed into soft tofu.
Pork Belly and Taro Hotpot, Tofu Stuffed With Prawns
My Caucasian friend chose the Sweet and Sour Chicken and I rolled my eyes. Usually anything sweet and sour at a Chinese restaurant is awful. Guess how shocked I was when the sweet and sour chicken was really good. The chicken pieces were fried to a good crunch and the sauce was not overly sweet, just the right balance. The best dish of the night was most definitely the Golden Chicken, chicken ribs fried and then coated in salty egg. I love anything coated in salty egg, but deep fried chicken ribs, oh wow. Those ribs disappeared so fast I had to get in quick just to get one.
Sweet and Sour Chicken, Golden Chicken
The Eggplant Mince Hotpot was a good spicy dish that kept making you want more. It is quite salty but when eaten with steamed rice, was perfect. The Sticky Rice Duck was my choice as I've eaten it many times before. I love the fried outer layer, hiding sticky rice wrapped around roast duck. Pour the mushroom infused sauce over the duck and you have a wonderful combination of flavours that help to highlight the duck.
Eggplant Mince Hotpot, Sticky Rice Roast Duck
Whilst some could still fit in a full dessert of either Fried Banana with Vanilla Ice Cream or Red Bean Pancake (I don't know why Asian restaurants don't do more desserts?), I went for the lighter complimentary Sweet Soup of Chestnuts and Corn, refreshing.
Fried Banana, Red Bean Pancake
The service at Hakka Tea House is actually good. The staff are attentive and will give you recommendations. Although they forgot to bring the spring roll entrees, they apologised for it and made sure it was taken off the bill. The ambience is like all other Asian restaurants, loud and vibrant. Hakka Tea House is very popular and even on a Thursday night, it was fully packed. If they continue to maintain the standard of food, I can forsee the restaurant continuing to be packed out each night.
Overall Rating: 14/20, Good Hakka food at great prices.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.