Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
I graduated from college with a dietary degree in Chengdu when I was 18, I then travelled around the main cities of China to study different Chinese cuisines in my 20s.
I am glad to have migrated to Australia 15 years ago with my family. After working for 3 months in Chinatown, I was keen to learn something different and challenge myself.
I became the Senior Southern cuisine Chef, at a catering company which supplied Chinese Southern Airline. After 2 years, I went on to study more with two Michelin trained Chefs about local dishes and cultures, while being employed as a Master Chef at Silk in Crown.
Four years ago, I started my own business called Bowl Bowl Dumpling and gained success thanks to all of these experiences.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a Chef. I have been a big foodie since I was little, but what attracted me the most was how food is made. All those different ingredients, flavours, materials and combinations of food, deeply drew my interest.
How would you define your style?
My style could be considered very sophisticated and creative, yet simple at the same time. The sophisticated part is that I like to use new and different ingredients in unique combinations. The simple part is that I always have one goal, which is to satisfy the customer and make them happy when they eat something I’ve made.
What is your feature flavour these days?
I’m originally from Sichuan, China – where spice and chilli is very popular. Hence, I think my feature flavour would still be from my hometown, which is spicy.
Obsessive compulsive about?
The taste of the food at my restaurant.
Your greatest culinary inspiration/influences:
My greatest influence of my whole career must be the two Michelin Chefs who tutored me at Crown. They took my understanding of food to another level. I also learnt about new food standards and professional food safety from them.
Furthermore, they taught me a deeper understanding of how Chinese food should be made to suit Western society. These essential skills I gained at Crown have contributed to a lot of my success in my current business.
What do you love about this business?
I would have to say the people. Being in this industry has allowed me to meet a lot of interesting and friendly people, who I have become friends with and who actually appreciate and respect food. It’s just such an amazing thing to listen to their opinion of food.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Definitely chilli. Due to my own ancestry, chilli has already become an important part of my life. I also hand make my own chilli sauce, which tastes extremely delicious with dumplings, noodles and pork. Hence, I would say my cooking style with no chilli would be very monotonous.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item:
Definitely our handmade Signature Sichuan Dumplings. This type of dumpling belongs to a special dumpling category which varies from the dumplings from other parts of China. Sichuan dumplings have a combination of sweet, sour and spicy with special sauces. Fresh ginger, garlic, chives and Sichuan pepper can be found mixed within the sauces. The after taste includes a fragrance from the meat and chilli. There’s no inferior taste from the pork as we select exclusively from the shoulder.
On top of the Sichuan dumplings, yummy peanuts and black sesame can be found, which provides a crispy bite. Our ingredients from the chilli sauces are handmade and imported directly from Sichuan. Those ingredients are from the lower-altitude Muma Hill, combined with local Australian vegetable oil cooked under a certain temperature, which further makes our extraordinary chilli oil. Our signature dumpling is by far the most popular choice. Both new and regular customers enjoy this dumpling.
My double cooked pork with Yuxiang eggplant and Mapo tofu. The double cooked pork is first steamed with ginger and spring onion for flavour, then pan fried for a crispy intensity. The eggplant is crispy on the outside and soft within, topped with a sweet and sour sauce. The Mapo tofu is a Chinese classic, beautiful soft squares in a chilli sauce topped with spring onion and slithered almonds.
Inspired by the tastes of Sichuan cuisine, Bowl Bowl Dumpling on Smith Street in Collingwood transports diners to the bustling markets of China. A moody vibe awaits, with rustic wooden table settings, overhead glowing suspended lights and authentic china accents, alongside a large wall rack of carefully selected wines and an alfresco area for balmy days - all setting the tone for divine dumplings and sensational street food. Choose from a seasonal menu with lunch tempters such as red hot pan-fried dumplings with succulent beef, ripe tomato, onion, mushroom, ginger stock and rice wine; while dinner guests may enjoy crispy fried chicken strips, black honey sauce, lettuce, avocado and whipped cream for dipping, with Bowl Bowl fried rice. For something sweet, try green tea ice cream.