SIGNATURE VEGETABLE & MARBLE GOBY SOUP (SOON HOCK FISH)
After following his sifu for over 10 years and accumulating almost 20 years of kitchen experience, Ang opened his first casual eatery Canton Wok in 2002, serving high end Cantonese-style zi char. Despite being Teochew, Ang is best known for his Cantonese cooking, which draws heavily from the Hong Kong style thanks to the years spent with his Hong Kong sifu and stints in the country. Even today, he looks towards Hong Kong—as well as Guangzhou, China, and sometimes Japan and Malaysia -—for culinary inspiration and ingredients.
“There are subtle differences between the Cantonese cuisines found in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and even Singapore. I infuse more Hong Kong-style Cantonese food influences into my cooking, to create a unique, localised version of Cantonese cuisine,” says Ang.
Ang’s signature soon hock fish soup represents the perfect combination of his Teochew heritage and Cantonese influences. “Everyone loves my fish soup because it is such a healthy dish. It’s a half Teochew and half Cantonese hybrid. It has the richness typical of Teochew cuisine, and I add Taiwan olives, tomatoes, and cabbage to give it many layers of flavour; it’s very fresh and sweet. Cantonese style fish soup usually doesn’t have so much vegetables, and it has a more seafood umami- ness.
To perfect the art of making soup, he says “You need to put your heart into it and take the time.” That was another time-earned skill he learned from his sifu. But on his own at Canton Wok, Ang started making a name for himself. Diners took to his style of cuisine and followed him when his restaurant moved from Havelock Road, to Serangoon, and then to Joo Chiat. Canton
Wok eventually closed down in 2009 and Ang filed for bankruptcy after various failed business ventures. He attributes the setbacks to his youth and inexperience, “I was impetuous and wanted to earn more, quickly.”