Monday, 27 August 2012

Review - Ho Chak Malaysian Seafood Restaurant

*** Ho Chak restaurant has closed with a sign 'Closed for Renovation'. ***
*** Hakka Tea House has reopened in the same shopping strip ***

Thu, 2nd August 2012    

Ho Chak Malaysian Seafood Restaurant
27 Railway Parade North
Glen Waverley

Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian

Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 7.5/10

Ho Chak Malaysian Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

'Ho Chak' means 'Taste Good' in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect. This new Malaysian seafood restaurant opened about a month ago in Glen Waverley, opposite the train station. It occupies one half of the former Hakka Tea House site.

Parking is available in front of the shopping strip, or a bit further away in the many car parks in the Glen Waverly restaurant/cinema/train precint. The place was quiet when we arrived just before 6pm without a booking, but filled up steadily. It was quite busy by the time we left about an hour and a half later.

Raymond, the manager provided friendly and attentive service while we were dining there. Originally from Hong Kong, he is one of the partners of this business. Kenny, the other business partner is the chef and hails from Malaysia.

We originally wanted a quick dinner. We looked around Glen Waverley for a restaurant and came upon Ho Chak. Our quick dinner turned out to be a long drawn out affair as we were tempted into having a mud crab meal. This is a fiddly business which involves removing the shell pieces to get to the crab meat. Raymond explained that Ho Chak serves Darwin mud crabs rather than Queensland mud crabs, as the Darwin crabs have a softer shell, as well as nice eating crab meat. 

We ordered one mud crab and chose the Kam Heong style of cooking as this is their signature dish for mud crabs. Traditionally, Asian restaurants weigh crabs and lobsters by the imperial system (pounds), not the metric system (kilograms). The crab that was selected for us was three pounds in weight. At $28.80 per pound, this adds up to a pretty significant dish, in more ways than one! We also ordered a vegetable dish of Dau Miu (snow pea shoots) to balance out the crab dish.

To start off, there was complimentary 'house' soup. This is made by boiling whatever stock ingredients are available that day to extract the goodness. The soup was nice and homely with a variety of bones and vegetables thrown in the mix.

Then came the star of the meal - the mud crab in Kam Heong sauce. Was it worth the expense and the painstaking removal of shell bits? Well, the mud crab was delicious! The crab flesh was fresh (is this a tongue twister?).  The Kam Heong sauce was finger-licking good. Its ingredients included dried shrimps and a home made chilli sauce, with curry leaves providing extra flavour.  The chilli gave it a kick that was just nice. Given that tolerance to chilli is an individual thing, I can provide only a  rough estimate and say the level of spiciness is about medium.

Dau Miu is one of my favourite dishes. The snow pea shoots were cooked in a garlic sauce. The Dau Miu stems were mainly young and crunchy, although there were several in the mix which were slightly stringy. The garlic sauce provided a nice flavour.

Interestingly, the decor of the restaurant feels more Hong Kong than Malaysian! Malaysian dishes on the menu include Asam Fish Head, sambal belachan dishes and marmite sauce dishes. There are also dishes which are Hong Kong style. One Malaysian dish which does not appear on the menu but can be ordered is Char Koay Teow. We ordered that for takeaway, as well as Seafood Fried Rice. Both were about average but came with a decent amount of prawns. The CKT had clams as well.

To finish the meal, orange quarters were served.

Overall, a good meal of juicy, fresh mud crab, in a delicious sauce that you want to scoop up from the plate with rice so you don't waste it! We would go back again as there are other dishes we are interested in trying. Ho Chak is a good addition to the busy Glen Waverley dining scene.

Front of Ho Chak Malaysian Seafood Restaurant

House Soup

Mud Crab in Kam Heong sauce

Signature Crab Dish -
Mud Crab in Kam Heong sauce

Mud Crab in Kam Heong sauce

Crab Claw

 Dau Miu (Snow Pea Shoots) in garlic sauce.

Inside the Restaurant

Oranges to finish the meal

Takeaway Seafood Fried Rice

Takeaway Char Koay Teow

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