How Ivan Pun, Mina Park And Jake Astor Are Bringing SE Asian Food Culture To Hong Kong
For those out east looking for fresh lunch inspiration, Hawkr could well be the answer. Soft-opened for about a week, this vibrant little corner spot in Quarry Bay has been peddling a wide range of South East Asian hawker dishes, reimagined by Mina Park of Sook; the project is a collaboration between the creative Korean chef, Jake Astor (scion of the Astor family and consumer private equity specialist-cum-restaurateur) and Ivan Pun of Pun+Projects and a second branch is already planned for September. Here are three reasons why you should pay attention:
1. Culinary Kudos
We’ve supported the work of Mina Park for a number of years now—from her first Korean taco pop-up at PMQ in 2014 to her various culinary projects, from menu crossovers with Serge et le Phoque, or the now-legendary Chinese New Year feasts at Ping Pong Gintoneria. She’s also a regular contributor to Hong Kong Tatler Dining, and has recently been honing her skills through shadowing the likes of Jeong Kwan in Korea. Having tasted first hand this chef’s deft touch in the kitchen, we’re confident that the recipes on show at Hawkr are going to follow the same route.
See also: Mina Park, Korean Chameleon
Secondly, Generation T lister Ivan Pun has got some serious credentials in the lifestyle and hospitality scene, which he has led through his company Pun + Projects in Myanmar, his family base. Through this venture, he has already set up five restaurants and cafés in Yangon, ranging from contemporary Vietnamese eatery Rau Ram to the chic Irrawaddy Pizza Co and the upscale vegetarian Parabigawa Café.
See also: On The Road With Ivan Pun
2. Fresh Signatures
The trio imagined Hawkr as an innovative and health-conscious takeaway option, with recipes that use the freshest ingredients where possible and come without MSG, artificial flavours or preservatives. Inspired by street food and hawker centre classics from regions such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, Park has introduced a number of signatures for the venue, including:
Vietnamese chicken cabbage salad
Javanese beef rendang
Thai-style chicken and lemongrass soup
Prawn popiah wrap
Coconut panna cotta
The team have also developed their take on the old Hongkonger favourite of cup noodles: bowls are sold packed with an organic soup base and spices, freshly-cooked noodles and fresh vegetables, and diners need only add hot water. Options such as Penang meatball and Songkhla vegetarian are available.
3. Design Details
Laura Cheung of Lala Curio created a unique wall pattern for the Quarry Bay store that was inspired by the ikats (patterned textiles) of Thailand and Myanmar. Another detail loved by the team is the hand-dyed indigo aprons created by Philip Huang in Thailand’s Isaan region.
See also: The Tatler 10 With Laura Cheung
Hawkr, G/F, 36 Hoi Kwong Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong; +852 9012 1236; facebook.com/hawkrhk