By Sherman Chan,
Special to The Post
Hakka Masti, I remember you very vividly. The fact that Hakka Masti is an inconspicuous Indian-Chinese restaurant surrounded by several other restaurants on Scott Road, one might wonder why I cannot forget this place. My unforgettable memories stem from the fact that I ate at Hakka Masti just prior to one of the worst episodes of food poisoning or stomach flu. Was it the food there or was it something else? There was only one way to find out; I returned to Hakka Masti.
To be fair, we will never find out the real reason for my food poisoning. This time around, I started with the Cream of Corn Soup, which was standard, watered-down, starch-thickened, canned-style soup. It was okay and not overly sweet. Slightly on the saltier side, the soup was quite thick and remained so until the last spoonful. As for the Hot & Sour Soup, it was exactly how I remembered it. There was a low-rumbling spice that lingered while the plethora of cilantro dominated the flavour profile. The soup base was quite mild with some savoury elements.
For my main dishes, I tried the Chili Chicken first and it had a noticeable spiciness that was purposeful. That meant I could taste it without burning off my taste buds. Moreover, I could discern the garlic, cumin and coriander from the sauce. However, there was too much soy for my liking. The chicken was a little dry due to the deep fry, but the ample sauce helped out the dish. Next, the Szechuan Fish was very good, with big pieces of flaky, moist, fried filets. The sauce was had nice garlic and spice flavours, with just the right amount of acidity and sweetness to balance it all out.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to pay them another visit the week after and tried the Mushroom Soup to start. I did not like this starch-thickened soup, which had no inherent flavour besides a lot of salt. The bits of canned mushroom resulted in an artificial taste.
Next, I tried the Coconut Shrimp, which featured much more sauce than protein. To be fair, for the price, I didn't expect a lot. Despite being few in number, the shrimp were cold-water crunchy. As for the sauce, I tasted more green onion and cilantro than coconut. I did like the consistency and purposeful spice.
Lastly, I ordered the Black Bean Beef. It looked like the standard dish found in Chinese restaurants, but was much spicier. There was a pronounced salty black bean flavour combined with garlic, and the slices of beef were medium thickness and tenderized enough. Based on the two revisits, I personally prefer Green Lettuce more than Hakka Masti in terms of portion size and overall flavour impact. Hakka Masti still remains a decent choice for Indian Chinese food along Scott Road.
8851 120th Street, Surrey, BC
• Friendly staff
• Something different
• Flavours are good, but could be more pronounced