Savoring homegrown South East Asian street food that reigns from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia as well as Chinese and Korean street food under one roof, the Streetery Food Hall by ZEN (more known as Streetery Food Hall) just celebrated its one year establishment in Dubai and continues to take you to the locales and streets of your favorite continents in the world to satisfy your craving for the irresistible street food sensation. Is the authenticity and taste from Asia being delivered and sumptuous enough to delight your palate? mylifestylenews writes.
When looking for Asian dining options in Dubai, why limit yourself to just one cuisine from one particular country, when you can have multiple options in one location. Streetery Food Hall brings three independent street eateries under one roof to give you a flavor of an Asian street food experience. Tucked away in a happening and vibrant dining destination in Jumeirah Lake Tower (JLT – known by the local) at Cluster D by the canal, Streetery Food Hall is not exactly easy to find especially if you are first timer patronizing this neighborhood and limited parking space is always a problem here and if you are just a visitor but not a residence in this congested office cum residential surroundings.
From the parking, you may need to follow your intuition to locate it even with plentiful food delivery guys that are preparing their pick-ups from this area that are full of restaurants for dining in and take out, yet none of them would be able to give you the right direction to Streetery Food Hall nor having them to know or heard about it. Deliberate intention or not, it is beyond their ethic. We found it eventually, by the guide of an honest security guard strolling in the car park. Thanks to him also for his patience by guiding us through the parking system pay via SMS from our phone to secure a three hours parking without possible getting a ticket if not doing so.
A short walk from the parking through a spiral staircase to the end of the curve by passing through a few restaurants along the lakeside, Streetery Food Hall emerged in our sight by its over-instagrammed neon sign words of its three different kitchens: ZEN – A Thai Chinese Kitchen, FAT AUNT’S – A Chinese Malaysian curries and noodles and Hing Kee – A BBQ & Roast.
The ambience in Streetery Food Hall is totally unpretentious, with a hint of nostalgia street food dining setting from South East Asia, especially the wallpaper on the right of the “Food Hall” is a highlight to the scene displaying a livelihood of street vendors and eateries, bringing life to the entire ambience that alludes to the experience you will have, juxtaposing the flat thin wooden foldable table top with past decades tin mugs in colorful flower motifs where layering of color begins to peel off, in which becoming a style of design intention to bring back the most down-to-earth dining experience to life.
Yellow light bulbs illuminates the entire eatery with a contemporary touch of industrial design see through lamp shapes, which is chic and stylish with hanging plants while the deliberate unfinished cemented tiles flooring also gives a more cozy home-like street dining mood plus those bright neon signs that give off the right vibe and makes the place stand apart.
The “Bar” was set in the middle of the dining area also decorated in a street vendor concept offering various local drinks and other beverages to quench your thirst.
So, what’s the menu gonna be like? Sreetery Food Hall brings the various flavours of street food stall experience from Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong, China, with no fuss, but fun and functional. From noodles, curries to BBQ and wok fried, the menu allows you to tailor your level of spice – mild, medium, hot – so you can dial up the heat to suit your palate and we went for hot on everything.
The menu is quite extensive especially there are three different kitchens to choose from but ordering is easy, a tablet is given with images of food and simple description as well as sizes, prices, level of spiciness to chose from that pleases you and makes ordering more interactive. Otherwise, you may go straight to the counter as well as the cashier to place your order if modern technology is not your thing or simply speaking with the friendly floor service staff.
While deciding what to pick for the evening, in the interim, we were served a selection of welcome drinks/teaser drinks in small cups: lemon grass tea, Thai iced tea, hibiscus juice and Tamarind iced tea. We ended up ordering one of these concoctions, as they are all so delicious to drink.
<Tom Yum Soup>
We started our food sojourn by venturing to the ZEN Thai Chinese Kitchen with a 10/10 spicy level of Tom Yum Soup with Seafood but only came with four medium size prawns instead, with a quite pleasant taste but still lacking of the fiery heat that we were expecting despite the maximum heat was requested when the order was placed.
<Sesame Prawn Toast>
A total delight! This starter makes a great snacker. A wholesome five large pieces of minced prawn on toast topped with a mountain full of sesame seed deep fried to its crispiness as expected. A must-order and value for money!
<Larb Beef Salad>
This turned out to be our favorite dish of the evening. A flavoursome and quality beef tossed well with the combination of fresh ingredients used: garlic, long bean, chili, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, coriander and etc. Such complexity on the palate brings out the best of Thai flavor and totally a dish to encore.
Som Tam – Thai Papaya Salad plays an important role in any Thai cuisine and most liked by all Thai food lovers. Their version here doesn’t disappoint yet it is still lacking of the kick from the spice level as well as the combination of sauce being used was a little too sweet. But we did admire the fact that the wooden mortar & pestle was used to prepare this dish which is an extra bonus to its traditional value and authenticity.
<Phad Thai Noodles>
Next to the table was the Phad Thai Noodles and we opted for the prawns version that was quite a generous portion served in the flat colorful tin plate (in which the tin plates was usually used as a tray for tea set and all sorts) that was creatively presented. The taste was a little on the bland side yet, the four condiments on the side which are the soul for Phad Thai dishes: fish sauce with cut chili, sugar, dried chili flakes and grounded peanuts to be added to your liking to complete the Phad Thai flavors that pleases you.
Phanaeng curry and also spelled as Phanang or Panang and it has nothing to do with Penang - one of the 13 states of Malaysia which many have mistaken that over the years and unfortunately still happens at present, just because it sounded alike Penang. Panang curry originated from Thailand for its rich and creamy base, salty and sweet, with a nutty peanut flavor. It has an additional ingredient which isn’t used in red or green curry paste. Its ground peanuts are usually seasoned to be less spicy but much sweeter than and less spicy than the red curry from complex ingredients used such as dried chili pepper, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime zest & leaves, coriander root & seeds, cumin seeds and many other condiments. You can have your choice of beef, chicken, seafood or even vegetarian yet beef is the most popular choice among the others. The “Penang Curry” in ZEN’s kitchen is rather too sweet and overpowered by its peanut butter sauce instead yet best accompanied by a piece of Roti Paratha (light crispy flatbread) or a bowl of steamed rice to complete such an intense flavored curry to perfection.
<Steamed Sea Bass with Soy>
To our surprise, this almost Cantonese version of steamed sea bass fillet was done to our delight. A real pleasing flavor from its premium soy sauce added to the soft and perfectly steamed sea bass with shitake mushroom topped with julienned ginger and spring onion served on a colored tin bowl. Another triumphant dish that tops the list!
<Chicken Soup Dumpling>
We then moved on to FAT AUNT’S menu for its chicken soup dumpling Xiao Long Bao that came in a bamboo basket laid with a nicely cut banana leaf for a hint of its fragrance when the dumplings are being steamed. The dumplings came to the table half collapsed instead of plumpy and round due being overly “infused” of juice from its meat filling. Not the best nor the worst we have had and yet this dish needs special attention and skill to get it right in which practice makes perfection.
A choice of chicken of beef as per your preference! Our Szechuan Chicken Wanton snacker topped with duo black and golden brown sesame was not to our liking, it was lacking of the hot and sour vinegar kick and the wrapping paste was rather thick and dry.
<Cheung Fun with Peanut Sauce>
A popular Hong Kong Dim Sum or South East Asian light bite at anytime of the day. The rich combination of the peanut sauce, soy sauce and sweet sauce over the smooth steamed rich dough topped with sesame seed and spring onion makes this a unique dish with or without the chili oil. A total flavor of all kind of combination! We prefer to enjoy this dish with a skewer stick by poking it and lift it up for its authenticity as a way to savor such a delightful dish.
<Malay Curry Prawn with Roti Paratha>
True to its taste and the sambal prawns instead of curry was nice, pungent and flavoursome, topped with lemon peel and served with Roti Paratha. Just enough to venture a taste of its own with a right portion served.
<Chinese Cucumber Salad>
We then moved on to Hing Kee’s menu. First for its Chinese Cucumber Salad, the sauce was overly salty and lacking of layer from a supposed most liked Chinese salad of its tangy cucumber with a surprise twist from its “secret recipe”. We couldn’t have more than three bites and dropped the entire dish. A total let down!
<Hat Yai Fried Chicken>
Despite the tenderness and juiciness of the chicken remains after being deep-fried, the batter was too thick and not crispy but soggy. The accompanied salty shrimp paste dipping may not be everyone’s cup of tea yet it gives a wild exotic kick to fried chicken dishes – the Thai way.
Six pieces of char-grilled chicken satay was served over a small dipping of sweet peanut sauce with a garnish of sliced cucumber and sesame seed and chili flakes (which is not necessary and lost its originality and authenticity). Chicken was once again on the dry side and not quite well marinated while the peanut sauce was not really enticing either. A little disappointment for a well-liked satay dish!
<Hainanese Chicken Rice>
Another dish that is well-liked by chicken rice lovers and a dish that is not easy to excel. Chicken was de-boned here over a big bowl of fragranced rice complimented by a few dipping sauces. The spring onion and ginger is the soul for any Hainanese chicken rice dish and it was not overly salty and quite tasty that was a genuine blessing. The thick sweet soy sauce also harmonizes the rice with each bite, either it was mixed over the rice and some prefer to have a little dip on every morsel. Both chili oil and chili bean paste was a disaster and not entirely what a Hainanese Chicken Rice accompanying condiments should have instead of a red fresh blended chili with ginger, garlic, shallots, vinegar and etc. It was a total failure which shall be removed from presenting it together with the Hainanese Chicken Rice dish. The chicken broth is always another essential compliment for its light and clear flavor from the chicken extract while the chicken was blanched.
Food wise in overall aspects are flavorsome and our venture to this destination was quite a successful dive into some of our favorite Asian street food. Not every dish hits the mark, as we are pretty tough critics on what we knew and liked, having tasted so much of this in the country of origin. Also, we felt that having requested heat on all dishes, only a few got close to our expectations. Nevertheless, we were relaxed in some of our judgements while food is always a very subjective matter and everyone has a different take on what they like and why they like it and Dubai eateries have to cater to such a wide range of palates and diners that think they know it all. We spotted some desserts like Mango Sticky Rice and Tap Tim Krob but leaving no room and to come back on our next venture to sample and explore further.
The service was a little disoriented at times with the clearing, but the food came fairly quickly after ordering and was fresh in flavor. It really is worth exploring Streetery Food Hall so that you can step outside your comfort zone of upmarket establishments and get back to the basics of a fun environment and enjoying good, honest food, especially in Dubai, It is a bonus find!
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 3/5
Food & Beverage: 3.5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Sesame Prawn Toast
Larb Beef Salad
Inside Streetery Food Hall
Lake level, Shop D6B
Cluster D, Jumeirah lake Tower (JLT)
Tel: +971 4 587 3373
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.