SIG­NA­TURE VEG­ETABLE & MAR­BLE GOBY SOUP (SOON HOCK FISH)

SALT Magazine - - A Day With -

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.”

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