Scores of Delhiites experienced their first tryst with a Michelin-starred Meal last weekend at Zomaland. Liao Fan Hawker Chan aka Hawker Chan, who has received the prestigious 'Michelin Star' from Michelin Guide Singapore, was in the city to enthral visitors with his culinary genius. At the 'Singapore Experience Zone' by Singapore Tourism Board, chef Chan prepared some of his renowned dishes. Many visitors also got a chance to interact with him and indulge in some fun Singapore-inspired games and activities at the impeccably done counter. This was his first visit to India, he would be in Hyderabad and Mumbai in February and March, respectively. We got a chance to interact with the chef par excellence and here are some excerpts from the interview.
1. When did you start cooking? What inspired you to start your own hawker stall?
I used to prepare food for my family daily, that is where my culinary journey kick-started. The early exposure to cooking fanned my passion for cooking. The foundation of my culinary passion was based strongly on the belief that good food should be made simple and affordable. At a tender age of 15, I left school and my hometown to Singapore in search of work. During these early years of my apprenticeship under a Hong Kong chef, I learned and developed the soya sauce chicken recipe. In 2009, I started Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle in Chinatown Complex Food Centre.
2. Please talk about your association with the Singapore Tourism Board.
The Singapore Tourism Board has been doing some interesting collaborations with the Indian market and I am glad that this time, I am a part of such an activity where the foodies in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad will get to experience authentic Singapore food and taste my popular Soya Sauce Chicken. We hope to give Foodies in India a sneak peak of Singaporean dishes, and to entice them to visit Singapore to experience the diverse culinary offerings of Singapore.
3. Who are your cooking inspirations from around the world?
My inspirations are not particularly drawn from any Chef but my passion for cooking for my loved ones and thus my home-style cooking inspires me.
4. Have you tried Indian Food? Why do you think Indians are obsessed with Chinese food?
The cuisine of India is one of the world's most diverse cuisines, characterised by its sophisticated and subtle use of the many spices, vegetables and grains grown across the country. The varied cultures across the country have played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine.
Indian cuisine has also influenced cuisines across the world, especially those of South East Asia. I have always been intrigued by the variety of flavours that the country offers and I am excited as I will get a chance to taste some of it this time. There are spices which are used by both Indian and Chinese cuisine. Also, both the cuisines are flavorful due to presence of interesting ingredients. Hence Indians find that connect with the Chinese cuisine.
5. Did you increase the prices of your dishes post receiving the Michelin-star honour?
The prices have been kept so low as a tribute to my regular customers who supported me throughout the years.
I have always believed that consistency in taste and food quality is essential to culinary success and hence I would never compromise on that.
6. What is the simplest sauce to prepare at home, according to you?
The soya sauce which I created inspired by my home style is the simplest sauce which one can easily prepare at home.
7. Any word of advice for budding chefs and food entrepreneurs
The one advice that I would give to the young chefs is putting the honest efforts into their work. You reap what you sow.