Friday, 05 May 2023 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | City Hall Library, Toronto Public Library, 100 Queen Street West (Queen Street Subway Station)
What happens when three local chefs get together in conversation and share their favourite recipes and stories about life? They come from three distinct corners of the world. What brought them together is their passion of food; what keeps them together is friendship and a sense of adventure.
Joanna Liu is a second-generation chef who has honed her trade from her parents, Mei Wang and Michael Liu. With sister Jeanette, the family operates Yuet Tung, the first Hakka-Indian restaurant, established here in the Elizabeth and Dundas Chinatown. They are currently the winner of the Asian Restaurateur of the Year Award presented by the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association.
Frederick Oh hails originally from Singapore. His background in the culinary industry include Asian and European formats. He represents Canada in international culinary competitions and teaches at Seneca and George Brown Colleges. Professor Chef Frederick Oh is the recipient of the 2023 Glenfiddich Chef of the Year Award.
Leo Chan was born in Macau and grew up in Hong Kong and Toronto. Along with Professor Gian Paolo Michelini, he co-founded the Cambridge Food and Wine Society of Canada in 1988. He is also a founding member of the 8 Precious Pearls Research Group of Chinese food history.
Chef Joanna Liu
Joanna is a second-generation chef who inherited her passion for food and hospitality from her parents, Mei Wang and Michael Liu. She was born and raised in Toronto, where her parents opened Yueh Tung, a 20-seat restaurant in 1986. Although small and modest in size, Yueh Tung quickly became known for its delicious, comfort food and family-like hospitality. Yueh Tung is the first Hakka, Indian restaurant in Toronto and introduced what would later become two iconic dishes, Chili Chicken and Manchurian Chicken. Not only did Yueh Tung introduce Hakka food to Toronto, it inadvertently created a local community for displaced Hakka-Indians who immigrated to the city and inspired that population to open amazing restaurants all around the Greater Toronto Area.
Growing up, Joanna spent most of her childhood in the restaurant, watching her parents create comforting foods, observing the controlled chaos of lunch and dinner rushes and falling in love with the friendships and belonging Yueh Tung brought to the community. By the time she was 12, she was already working the front till on Saturdays and continued to do so until her parents encouraged her to acquire a university degree that would present her “better opportunities” outside the restaurant industry.
After finishing university and against her parents’ wishes, Joanna decided to pursue her passion for cooking and enrolled in a culinary school to refine her skills. She learned new techniques and gained valuable experience working in popular kitchens around the city, but always held a deep respect for the traditional family recipes passed down from her parents.
When Joanna returned to Yueh Tung in 2015, she and her sister, Jeanette, took over the family restaurant and are now beginning to put their own unique stamp on the menu and atmosphere. Joanna has now modernized some of the dishes, experimenting with new ingredients and presentation styles while maintaining the authenticity and integrity of her dad’s recipes.
37 years later, Yueh Tung is still a beloved institution, drawing food lovers from all around the world to sample their culinary creations. Joanna continues to innovate and push the boundaries of traditional cuisine while honoring the legacy of her family’s dynamic, culinary heritage.
Hakka Chili Chicken by Chef Joanna Liu
Cook time / Prep Time:
30–45 minutes / 20 minutes
Chicken thighs (bone in) x 4 pieces
Spanish onion x ½ cup diced
Thai chili x 2 pieces
Ginger puree x 2 tsp
Potato starch x ½ cup
Canola oil/ Any Oil with a high smoke point x 1L
Chicken broth x 2 tsp
Dark Soy Sauce x 2 tsp (we prefer ABC Dark Soy)
Light Soy Sauce x 1 tsp
Sambal x 2 tsp (we prefer Huy Fong/ Rooster Chili Garlic)
Shaoxing Cooking Wine x 2 tsp
Oyster Sauce x 1 Tsp
- Cut three-quarters of each chicken thigh from bone and leave one-quarter of the thigh attached to the bone (this adds more flavor to your dish and resembles a lollipop chicken).
- Place a stock pot on the stove and set the heat to high. Leave it on for about 1 to 2 minutes until the pot is bone-dry.
- Pour 1L of neutral oil into the pot and allow to heat up until oil is ready for frying (about 10 minutes).
- Dice Spanish onion and set aside.
- Mince Thai Chilis and set aside.
- Puree ginger and set aside.
- Check your frying oil with a wooden spoon (Chef’s Tip: when bubbles begin to form around your wooden spoon, the oil is ready to use). When oil is ready, turn heat down to medium.
- Gather following ingredients for your sauce: ABC Dark Soy Sauce, Light Soy Sauce, sambal and chicken broth.
- Place potato starch in a large bowl. Coat only 4 pieces of chicken at a time on all sides.
- Slowly place 4 pieces of chicken into the oil and allow to fry for about 1.5 minutes or until chicken begins to float to the top. Remove chicken from oil and place on a large plate lined with paper towel or into a metal colander placed on top of a plate.
- Repeat step 10 until all chicken pieces have been fried.
- Allow chicken to cool down for 5 minutes before frying for the second time. Since most of the chicken is three quarters cooked, you can place about 6 pieces of already fried chicken into the pot. Remove pot from heat when all your pieces of chicken have been fried.
- Place a wok or heavy, deep set pan on medium-high heat.
- From the frying oil, carefully take 2 tbsp of oil with a heat proof ladle and pour it into your wok.
- Stir-fry onion until fragrant. Add in ginger, Thai chili and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
- Deglaze pan with shaoxing cooking wine.
- Pour in sauce mixture and allow to heat up for about 1 minute.
- Pour in chicken and toss gently.
- Plate and enjoy!
Professor Chef Frederick Oh
Chef Frederick Oh has been teaching at Seneca College in the School of Tourism and Continuing Education and George Brown College for over a decade. His background in the culinary industry encompasses baking and cooking in Asian and European formats.
He has represented Canada in international culinary events for over 15 years span and has taken the role of team coach and liaison representative since stepping down from active participation over 10 years ago. Internationally sanctioned events include Culinary Olympics (Germany), Culinary World Cup (Luxemburg), Hotel Asia (Singapore), International Bread Competition (Tunisia) and various engagements in United States.
Work experience includes hotels, private clubs and corporate catering. He has conducted special appearance and live demonstrations locally and abroad showcasing Canadian products and culinary talents.
Singapore Style BBQ Sambal Stingray Recipe – 三峇魔鬼鱼 by Chef Frederick Oh
1 pc Stingray (approx 300g)
Salt to taste
20 pcs Dried chillies, pre-soaked
5 pcs Fresh Red Chillies
5 pcs Bird Chili
10 pcs Shallots
5 pcs Garlic
3 slices Galangal
1 pc Lemongrass, white section
1 tsp Torch Ginger Bud
1 pc Candle Nut
Salt to taste
1½ tsp Balacan, toasted
1 tbs Brown Sugar
2 tbs Tamarind juice
1 cup Cooking Oil
Oil for spraying onto leaves
1 pc Red Onion, sliced thinly
Chinchalok Chilli, optional (for dipping)
- Preparation: Clean and pat dry the sting ray, lightly season with salt, reserve.
- Dipping Sauce: In a bowl, mix sambal olak and chinchalok, reserve.
- Rumpah: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend till it is blended (originally, it was pounded and that created some texture to the paste, a food processor is very efficient, but the texture is too fine). Heat the oil in a fry pan, add the processed rumpah and fry till the fragrance is formed (start with cold oil and pan). Remove and reserve.
- Preparing Banana Leaf: Rinse and wipe the banana leaf (choose a piece large enough to wrap the stingray completely), lightly toast the leaf over a flame or heat source (this will make the leaf pliable and supple to fold). Spray or brush oil on the leaf.
- Assembly: Spread some of the rumpah onto the leaf, place the stingray over the rumpah, spread some rumpah on the top of the fish to enrobe it completely. Wrap it with the banana leaf and use a piece of foil to over wrap the banana leaf parcel. Roast in a covered saucepan 6 minutes each side (an oven at 400F or BBQ is a good alternative). If the piece is over an inch thick, allow a couple more minutes to cook.
- Service: Unwrap and discard the foil, serve with the banana leaf. Garnish with the torch ginger slices, calamansi, and dipping sauce.
Professor Chef Leo Chan
Leo Chan enjoys sharing his stories and first-hand experiences as a speaker and Chinatown tour guide. He spent over 30 years in the culinary world, most notably as the Director of Operations for the Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation and Professor Chef at George Brown College and Humber College. The recipient of numerous awards from the hospitality industry, Leo has appeared on CFTO, TVO, CITY-TV and OMNI.
Born in Macau and raised in Hong Kong, Leo came to Canada in 1966 and is a graduate of Political Science (York University), Hotel, Restaurant and Resort Management (Ryerson University), and the Cornell School of Hospitality (Cornell University, New York). He is Chairman of the Chin Wing Chun Tong of Ontario (Chan Family Association), a member of the 8 Precious Pearls Research Group of Chinese food history in Toronto, and Co-Founder of the Cambridge Food and Wine Society of Canada.
Co-Organizers: Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.; Toronto Public Library; Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto; Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library, University of Toronto; Chinese Canadian Photography Society of Toronto; WE Artists’ Group; Social Services Network; Cambridge Food and Wine Society.
Asian Heritage Month Festival is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Asian Canadian Artists in Digital Age is funded by Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund.