A plate of bright red, raw tomatoes sprinkled with dried orange skin is placed on the table. Not long after, a patty of wafer-like pumpkin strands, interlocked with chunks of melon, appear. This is Austin Wang’s restaurant, which serves Hakka cuisine.

The culture’s most famous dishes are dongjiang, salt-baked chicken (ginger chicken, or rooster in this case, baked in a cake of salt) and kiu nyuk (thick pork belly slices stewed with preserved mustard greens, dark soy and sugar, which Wang serves with steamed bao).

Many people used to Australian-Cantonese food may be surprised by how light and simple some of the food can be; Hakka food isn’t as sweet.

This is Wang’s second restaurant. He owns another similar restaurant in Guangzhou. After living in Sydney for 10 years, and not having anywhere to eat his favourite childhood dishes, (aside from at home), he decided to bring his food here. Two of the most personal dishes for Wang are ngiong tew foo (slabs of pork-stuffed tofu sitting in a sizzling mushroom stew), something Wang says every Hakka knows, and the simple dry egg noodles.

The other thing he brought from home was Liantai Li, a veteran Hakka chef with several awards for his work in China, who is also from Wang’s hometown, Meizhou.

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Updated: February 21st, 2020

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