The term "Hawker" was once used to best describe vendors who moved around in mobile carts with delicious in-expensive dishes, bringing everyone out from their homes and onto the street to buy their favourite snack.
Developed into different fixtures;
Roving Hawker - a familiar fixture in the neighbourhood,
Roadside Hawker- setting up shop on the streets after dark when majority of the car parks were emptied and dining area of wooden tables and stools were bought out.
Pushcarts- doubled from a service section and a kitchen in one.
Alas hawkers have slowly disappeared from modern Singapore, but Hawker-styled food remains a huge success and has now found it's way to the South Wharf Promenade of Melbourne.
BangPop has Popped into Melbourne with a "BANG". Delivering a magical combination of flavours, mouth watering dishes and ultimately a fantastic service from the entire team.
A lot of hard work has gone through to the study of bringing us Hawker styled dishes, staying true to the origin of the dishes and ensuring our experience sends us on a journey.
A serve of light and deep fried rice crackers were served with nam prik ta-kari to get us started along with some very tasty cocktails. If you enjoy a good bevie to get you started I'd highly suggest the Gin Pop - Gin, Lemongrass & Kaffir lime sorbet and soda water. A very refreshing cocktail and cleanser.
The rice crackers were delicate and light but don't go crazy on that sauce.... it's a Warning to you! If you want to feel the chilli hit on the way in and on the way out then go nuts. But I'd suggest to go gentle as there's more heat coming your way.
A combination of dishes for the entree:
Kor Moo Yang: Marinated char grilled pork neck slices with nam jim saap and sticky rice
Tod Mun Pla: Barramundi and red curry paste cakes with nam prik pla-grop
Sai Krok Isaan: Sour Isaan pork sausage with chilli, fresh herbs and cabbage
The Isaan pork sausage was a combination of 2 styles, one with chilli and one sour. Roll the pieces into the fresh cabbage, squirt some fresh lime juice and add some mint and basil and be taken away with some glorious flavour combinations in your mouth. This dish can be heated up with the addition of fresh chillies.
The fish cakes were soft in flavour, nothing over powering but very well balanced. You always appreciate fish cakes when you know they are fresh, bought in cakes always have that rubbery texture to them. But these delights were tasty and went fast, Medium in heat
Marinated pork neck, what can I say..... tender and delicious. Combined with the sticky rice it was magical. Not too much heat in this dish so it's a good break away from the chilli.
For Mains we saw more noodle and rice combinations that were truly to die for:
Pad Thai: Thai stir fried noodles with tofu, garlic, chives, bean sprouts and crisp shallots
Pad Ka Prow Nua: Stir fried beef mince, basil, garlic and chilli finished with a fried egg
Kang Daeng Phed: Slowed cooked duck leg red curry with basil, fresh chilli and roast coconut
Daily Special: Crisp skin duck salad, combined with lychee, fresh sprouts and herbs
My favourite dish of the evening was the Beef mince as well as the Duck curry.
The stir fried beef, was soft in flavours but what I loved was the fascinating fried egg that nestled itself on the top. A light golden colour on the out side but when you break through the egg a glorious golden runny yolk spreads through the mince. Just hints of spice to enhance the flavours but nothing to concern yourselves with
The Duck curry originally removed away from myself and my hubby by my sister explaining it was disgusting was to be very quickly discover that it was far from that. Tender duck leg sits in an aromatic spice powered red coconut sauce. The flavour combinations had essence of perfection in there also. A fight amongst the 3 of us as none of us wanted to share it. Combine it on top of some Pad Thai or just have some accompanying rice on the side, but know that you will not want to waste any of that scrumptious sauce.
The Pad Thai is everything you would expect Pad Thai to be but with a slight difference. Brought to you with all ingredients separated for you to combine it yourself. The flavours were fresh and tasty. Add some of the condiments on your table to enhance the well balanced flavours to your liking, or leave it ad grab a curry to enjoy the two together. Very filling indeed and glad to be sharing, medium in spice but you can go out with a bang by adding more chilli kicks to the dish.
The Duck salad was refreshing and light. Sweetness from the lychee added additional flavours to the crispy skinned dick pieces which nestled combined the fresh sprouts, basil and other beautiful herbs. We were pleased to hear that now that BangPop has settled in that they will be bringing out daily specials just like this to entice you for your return..... It has delivered and has worked.
Although the 3 of us were bursting at the seams you can never pass up dessert, and with my sister getting excited about seeing pandan on the menu (she has recently travelled to Malaysia) room was made.
On order was:
Saku Song Kreuang: Tapioca and pandan pudding with mango sorbet
Aye-Teem Song Kreung: Mango sorbet, peanuts, young coconut flesh and coconut juice
Aye-Teem Krungthep: Bangkok street ice cream selection
All desserts were a refreshing finish to the evening, and a true palate cleanser removing all chilli burns from your lips and mouth. The sorbets are truly extraordinary, true powerful flavours and if you ever have the lemongrass and lime you will understand what I mean by powerful. It's lip smacking!
Our evening was sensational and I have to applaud the Mathis Group on converting what was once the Sharing House into something new and fresh on the streets of Melbourne.
The Crew at BangPop delivered nothing but spectacular service through out. Hamish and the entire Front of house crew are showing everyone what service in Hospitality is all about. Happy to talk to you, explain the dishes and more. Head Chef Kam McManamey and the entire Kitchen crew are continuously serving you immaculate dishes to get you heart pumping with chilli sensations but over all fantastic flavour combinations that will make you return for more. It's won me over and there is no doubt in my mind that they will be seeing me back there soon.
35 South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf, Melbourne