Sorry it took me so long to catch up to your question. Here’s the blow-by-blow I wrote up after our 6-person group dinner:
Blistered Green Beans: If Syhabout thinks this is a personal original from his mom (per his menu description), he must never have had Chinese cooking (which is virtually impossible). It’s a SE Asian variant of Sichuan Spicy Green Beans. The technique is identical with its double-frying. The curry flavor is understated; most of what flavors this dish is smokiness and a moderate chile heat. This is always one of my favorite dishes, as the double-frying ensures the beans have that fully-developed flavor I prefer, while still retaining some crunch in the texture. It’s a lot better than the version most Chinese restaurants make nowadays. I’d order this any time. Hawker does a well made and delicious version.
Fried Chicken (Gai Tod) Thai style: The other four people enjoyed this. Spouse and I found it pedestrian, the usual oversweetened KFC-type dish. The chicken was heavily battered, the sauce bright red and goopy-sweet. The chicken wasn’t overcooked, but all one could taste was crunchy flour batter and sweet sauce. There’s some spice, but it’s relatively mild.
Lao Papaya Salad (Tum Mak Houng): This papaya salad is still balanced & refreshing, but it’s funkier and spicier than the Thai-Style (which is still on the menu). The dressing is thin and somewhat soupy on the thin rice noodles and shredded green papaya. The waitress gave us a warning about the “funk” in this dish but truthfully, with all the sugar and tamarind in the dressing, even the most timid diners in our group were fine with it.
Grilled Mushroom Salad (Naam Tok Het): Everybody enjoyed this vegan dish, although it is reasonably spicy - about a 4.5 on our personal scale of 10. I preferred it to the papaya salad, but I’m not really a fan of the latter. If you like mushrooms and can take the heat, this is worth ordering.
Crispy Rice Ball Salad (Nam Khao Tod): We had this dish at Vientian Café in July 2014. Vientian does an outstanding version, full of tasty crispy, toasted bits of rice. Hawker Fare’s dish came in two parts: three unbroken butter lettuce leaves and a few cilantro leaves, then a small plate containing a heap of soft-looking rice. There were a few toasted bits, but it was 97% soft, underseasoned rice. An indifferent dish and we wouldn’t recommend it. Almost all the Laotian restaurants in Oakland make this much better than Hawker Fare.
Mussels Steamed In Coconut Milk: A very nice, spicy yellow curry, with absolutely no sugar. We’re not mussel fans – we’re okay with them but they’re never our shellfish of choice. But these were super-fresh and sweet – in fact, so sweet at first I thought there was sugar in the curry! If you enjoy mussels, this is an excellent dish.
Isaan Hered Pork Sausage (Sai Oua): This sausage was familiar to us from Vientian Café and Camber Montclair…and again, both those places do a much better job than Syhabout. It’s a fatter sausage than you’ll find at most competitors. Syhabout’s seasoning is muted, and even the nam prik noom dip seemed spicy yet a bit flat.
Satay Beef Short Ribs: This is a nice dish…but it’s always a nice dish, whether you name it Korean bulgogi or Japanese teriyaki or Chinese red-cooking. The beef is sliced very thin, in a similar manner to Korean short ribs, but cut in smaller pieces about 2x1". If you can tell it’s Angus beef after that marinade - Syhabout doesn’t mention sugar but it’s definitely there - your palate is better than mine and Spouse combined. It didn’t taste much different than what you’ll get at any Korean or Japanese restaurant. There was more meat on the bones than at Fusebox/Oakland, but that just means the entire Hawker Fare dish held about 3 oz. of actual meat after subtracting the sliced bones.
Sticky Rice (Khao Niao): Hawker Fare sends out a small handcrafted bamboo container. Looks great, until you pull off the top and find the sticky rice packed tightly into a clear Baggie. The container is so narrow it’s hard to get the rice out. The rice seemed as if it was sitting around for a while. Sticky rice gets hard fairly quickly as it cools, but Hawker’s hardened a lot faster than mine does at home.
Chicken fat rice (kao mun): The chicken fat is lightly applied and subtle in flavor. Most of the group found it no difference than regular rice. I liked the subtlety of flavor, because most of the food here is flavor forward.
Note: re the Crispy Rice Ball Salad (Nam Khao Tod). We ordered this on our first visit to Daughter Thai Kitchen in March 2017. There is no comparison to Hawker Fare’s mediocre version. The NKT at Daughter Thai was outstanding - not just super-chile hot, but with an amazing complexity of spicing.