James Woo of Mahjong Room reminisces about the street vendors of Hong Kong, a dining culture that just doesn’t exist in Australia.
James Woo grew up on a farm outside Sydney, raised on his parents’ Chinese home cooking. From a young age he remembers interacting with food; picking vegetables from the garden and helping prepare meals for the family. His Uncle is a chef in Queensland and it was he who inspired James to become a professional chef. His career has since taken him to Hong Kong and around Australia, where he developed his wok and Chinese cooking skills. Today he is a master of Asian sauces such as Szechuan, Mongolian and Peking; and as the dumplings and won tons of the Mahjong Room attest, he is an accomplished pastry chef as well.
James loves the tiny stalls and vendors found in the streets of Hong Kong. This street food culture doesn’t exist in Australia, but in Hong Kong he says it is a way of life. He loves the casual atmosphere of these bustling eateries, where the food is fresh and the service efficient. When he cooks at home he likes to prepare simple, hearty meals such as Chinese congee which is great for winter and easy to heat up later. Cantonese soups such as green carrot and beef stew are also favourites of his. When cooking at home James insists that there is no need to be afraid of invention, as recipes are only a guideline.... Read more.