Food Blog

Beyond the Food with Ha Chuen Wai

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Every year is unique, but as it can be, I have a few things I look forward to each when January comes around (in chronological sequence):

  • Seeing my friends on my birthday
  • The process of creating a menu and seeing it take shape on Valentine’s Day
  • We’re getting hyped about the announcement of a new Kanye West album, even knowing that I’ll be disappointed if it’s not quite as great as My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy.
  • I am inducing my colleagues to participate with me in Secret Santa to guarantee I receive, at a minimum, a Christmas present this year.

Not least, I visited my buddy Ha Chuen Wai (affectionately known as Wai Guy) at Sushi E…aka the most amazing Sushi Omakase Experience you could enjoy in Sydney.

Isaac: What was the inspiration behind your love of cooking?
My mother was still my primary source of encouragement. When I was a kid, I would sit in the same chair with her and watch what she was doing when she prepared food since everything she cooked for me made me feel completely satisfied and happy.

The feeling that I had has stuck for me and has become my current philosophy. I want to create food that is enjoyable for people.

Isaac, How did you get to become an expert in omakase/sushi?
WAI: Thanks to Dan Hong and Merivale for giving me this chance. Before, I was charged with the task of executing, as I had only prepared sushi or other dishes. Still, I never had the opportunity to add my unique touch or make it an experience in the kitchen until I began doing Omakase.

It was at this point that I began to draw on my previous experiences ( editor’s note: Wai has worked at Sokyo, Nobu, Zuma, and Zipangu, to mention just several) and the ability to make memories for diners with the omakase.

Isaac, What was the reason for the chance at Sushi E result?
WaiDan Hong again. I had a great chat with him. He said that I must be looking at the larger image and not only one particular position. This is how it started.

Isaac: Can you describe an average day of service from day one to the next?

WaiOh man, let’s begin from the beginning.

It starts with prep, and there’s lots of work involved, whether it’s cleaning the fish coo, king sushi rice or preparing the condiments. I’ll then look through the menus and see who’s going to the event and if there are any VIPs scheduled to attend. I’ll then work with Michael (my colleague in crime in the field of Sushi E) and figure out the Specials for the day.

I’ll have a lunchtime meal prior to starting the omakase-specific preparations that include testing the neta and shari to see if all is prepared to go…and then the omakase will kick off. After my day is done, I’ll also place an order for fish for the following day and prepare to start the next time.

Isaac, What do you think about when trying to choose what to put on your plate at any given time?
Our fishing supplier provides us with an inventory of fish that is available for the following day. They know what our requirements are. Therefore, they’re fairly selective of the fish they provide to us. Sometimes, they may contain expensive fish, but not high-quality. If you don’t have a wide selection of fish available, you must find a way to work it out. Select the best one, but be sure to be flexible.

Isaac, What’s next in terms of culinary conquers?
WAI: Hopefully, it will be possible to have my own Omakase location or even a private dining experience so that I can design a unique experience for my guests.

Isaac: Lighting Round! Are you you?

Isaac, What is the difference between cup noodles and packet noodles?
WaiPacket noodles! When I cook noodles, they cook for one minute, then place them into cold, running water. After that, I add eggs, vegetables, and even some meat!

Isaac: Tuna or kingfish?
WaiTuna has been my undeniable top choice when it comes to catching fish. It will always offer you various parts (otoro or chu-toro chu-torpor Akami)


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