— Watch Victor Liong in the miniseries Please eat slowly on SBS Food and free streaming on SBS On Demand —
My childhood in Sydney in the early 90s was marked by my mother’s excellent Chinese cuisine. She mainly made Cantonese, Hakka and Teochew dishes. She grew up in Malaysia and my grandfather ran restaurants so she had a varied repertoire.
As ingredients from regional China became more available in Australian grocery stores, regional products Chinese kitchens at home and in restaurants.
Victor is now the chef and owner of Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne Source: Frank Yang
When my family ate at the restaurant, we mostly enjoyed classic Cantonese dishes. We ate classic dai pai dong (dai pai dong are outside food stalls that originated in Hong Kong) and savored southern Chinese flavors like ginger, spring onion and oyster sauce . We loved a lot of wok hei.
Soon I started discovering more regional cuisines. I ate drunk chicken from Shanghai, xiao long baos from Beijing, malatang from Sichuan and Xinjiang lamb skewers with cumin. It was an exciting time for a gluttonous young self.
“I fell in love with it chewy, garlicky, spicy, slurpy as soon as I tasted it.”
One dish that stood out was a simple hand-pulled wheat noodle called biang biang mian (biang biang noodles). It comes from Xi’an of Shaanxi province and it is named after its belt-like shape and the banging noise it makes against the counter when crafted. It is drizzled with a black vinegar sauce, hot oil and dry spices. I fell in love with it chewy, garlicky, spicy, slurpy as soon as I tasted it.
Seeing more and more regional Chinese cuisines consumed around the world feels like a flavor renaissance. Discovering the multitude of Chinese cuisines is one of my passions, and my discoveries can be found on my menu at Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne.
Mastering biang biang mian was fun. They’re not practical to prepare in restaurant kitchens (like most large dishes), but they work well at a dinner party, and pulling them puts on a great show. You can even involve your guests; just mBe sure to rest the dough beforehand.
Long, chewy and full of flavor Source: Frank Yang
This dish is as satisfying to cook as it is to eat. You better understand the science of making the noodles, and you can eat them dressed in all their tangy hot pepper, dark vinegar, and garlicky glory. Perfection.