If you’re looking for a brunch place to try in Tampa Bay, Hawkers in St. Petersburg’s Edge District has a new brunch menu, and we had a chance to sample it on a recent Sunday morning. Hawkers specializes in Asian street food, with an atmosphere that is friendly, colorful and casual.
First off, the Pork Belly Hash ($10) was delicious! I’m not usually a pork belly fan because I don’t like the fatty texture, but the pork belly bits were crisped up and firm. Hawkers mixed the crispy pork belly with crunchy tater tots, bell peppers, and onions and topped it with a fried egg, smothered in their signature curry gravy. The dish brought a mild heat that let you know if was there, but wasn’t distracting.
Our waiter was helpful and charming — he steered us toward the shrimp and “grits.” Notice the word ‘grits’ is in quotation marks; that’s because this house favorite ($10) is made with with rice congee instead of grits, then topped with Viet-Cajun shrimp, parmesan cheese and bell peppers. My brunch partner (my husband Chris) devoured it, though he doesn’t eat a lot of shrimp — so I’d say the Asian mashup with the southern classics is making some old things seem new (and tasty) again.
He also dug enthusiastically into the steaming Soup Dumplings ($12), classic xiaolongbao filled with pork and bone broth. We also ordered the Korean Fried Chicken Biscuits ($12), which arrived with two large-ish chicken sandwiches on the plate. For shareable tasting plates, it was a lot!
There’s a fun and colorful cocktail menu as well, with bottomless mimosas and a Kimchi Bloody Mary ($12) with St. George green Chile vodka, a housemade kimchi mix, stuffed olives and a shrimp to garnish. I ordered the Hibiscus Fizz ($11), with blueberry-hibiscus infused Hendrick’s gin and fresh lemon juice; it was light and refreshing on a hot St. Pete morning.
There’s plenty of outdoor seating when the weather allows. We’ll be back to try the Pandan Pancakes layered with kaya jam and topped with maple cream, coconut and berries; and the Coconut Curry Eggs Benedict. Hawkers serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 3 pm.