Are you one of those people who tend to eat the same food, at the same place? Or if you go somewhere new, you order the same dishes? I am. Boring I know, but you can safely assume that at Japanese I will order sashimi or chicken katsu, at Chinese I will order special fried rice and chicken and cashews, and at Han's Café I will order pepper squid.
It looks and sounds weird but tastes delicious - Hans Oyster Omelette
There's a good reason why I order pepper squid at Han's: it's great. The squid is still soft, the crumb is tasty, it's a bit sweet, a bit peppery and a bit garlicky. There is always those crunchy little rogue crumbs that fall off and you have to pick them off the bottom of the dish, because you can't possibly waste them. There are always the tiny bites of fire provided by finely chopped chilli, and there is the eponymous 'Han's special sauce', whatever that is. Yum.
Luckily today when I visited Han's with Number 1, Hubby, Miss Two and the baby, he randomly poked at something on the menu, and presto – we tried something new.
I'm the first to admit it looked – and sounded – quite awful. Hans oysters ($14.95 for half a dozen) – oyster omelette served in shells with Han's special sauce. I am not sure what I was expecting, possibly omelette with oyster sauce or even chopped up oyster, but what appeared was six oyster shells each piled high with a generous mound of egg, in the midst of which was a single whole oyster. Admittedly, it was more scrambled egg than omelette but that's just semantics. The egg was cooked with spring onion and tiny bits of red chilli. Han's special sauce is quite sweet, and the whole dish worked. I'd certainly order it again.
The special fried rice ($8.95) we ordered because it's one of the few dishes my fussy children will eat. As long as I take out anything that remotely resembles meat or vegetables, that is. However, once I did this, Miss Two scoffed half the plate, a very generous serving.
The pepper squid ($14.95) admittedly was not very peppery, but it is easy to eat and moreish. Finishing the entire dish wasn't a struggle.
My husband, who tends to eat a bit more healthily than I do, ordered the Han's mild salad with chicken ($8.50). If you prefer you can have it with beef ($8.50), prawn, squid or mussel ($9.50). You can also order it as a 'spicy' salad, which is the same price but with the addition of chilli and extra spice. It sounds simple (and boring) enough: fresh salad (mainly bean shoots and julienned carrot), fresh herbs (coriander, mint), meat and chopped peanuts. I keep hearing Homer Simpson singing 'you don't make friends with salad…' but this was awesome. The dressing, that light yet punchy combination of sweet, salty, sour made even me – a deep fried, carbohydrate and fat lover – wish that I had ordered it.
It was so good, we ate it before we remembered to take a picture of it. Sorry.
You are spoiled for choice at Hans. With over 120 items on the menu, including the standards like phad thai ($10.95), green chicken curry ($14.95) and stir fried noodles ($10.95), an enormous range of noodle soups ($10.95) and every variation on the lamb/chicken/beef/pork/seafood and chilli/ginger/pepper/lemongrass/curry/garlic/lemon flavours ($14.95-$16.95) you will find something that pleases.
There are few more unusual dishes in addition to the oyster omelette including BBQ quail ($8.50) and crispy deep-fried mussels in the half shell ($15.95) but really, you go to Han's for quick, tasty and cheap Asian food, not to push any culinary boundaries.
And quick it is. Perfect for parents with young, impatient and hungry kids, Han's delivers your meal faster than you can say "let's play I Spy" or "here's my phone, try to not make any international calls".
There are now 25 Han's restaurants all across Perth including Leederville, Willetton, Morley, Whitfords, Kalamunda, Floreat and Fremantle. Han's story is fascinating and is available on the website, and includes an escape from the Pol Pot regime, working in a laundry, finding love in a refugee camp and becoming one of the most successful restaurant franchisees in Western Australia.