Who is Andrew Hsieh? I’m the owner and chef at White Chaco restaurant in Braddon.
Best recent dining experience: The Italian Place just near us in Braddon. I can never get enough great Italian food and wine. I love the vibe and the friendly welcome, particularly from owner Tony Lo Terzo. My favourite dishes on the menu are the porchetta and the saltimbocca alla Romana.
Most embarrassing pantry item: Chicken salt. We just love it. It’s a secret umami bomb to elevate a staff meal to another level quickly and effectively.
Must-buy ingredient: Premium-quality soy sauce. My choice would be Kimlan soy sauce from Taiwan.
Next big thing: Meat analogue – more commonly known as plant-based meat. It’s an indispensable part of a vegetarian and vegan diet, which has been important in the Asian culinary scene for centuries due to the Buddhist and Taoist influences. Now it’s increasingly popular due to its health and environmental benefits. In the past, it was mainly soy-based products, but now there are more fungus-based choices, which allows me to exercise my culinary skills to present Asian-fusion plant-based dishes.
My Canberra food secret: Can Tho Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant in Belconnen. They serve really good pho and fried duck. You don’t want to miss it.
Favourite cookbook: It’s a Chinese book, the name of which translates to something similar to Encyclopaedia of Fish for Dinner by Guo Zongkun. It’s about aged fish!
What’s on the menu this week: Sashimi, soupy gyoza and ramen. All are fantastic components for staying warm in winter, especially the sashimi, which might seem unlikely. But fish have more fat in winter (healthy fat), and they taste even better than in the summer.
Who I admire on the Canberra food and wine scene: I give all my credit to my team. Like everyone else, we had a challenging year with the bushfires and COVID-19 lockdown, but I’ve been lucky enough to work with an adorable and supportive team. Big applause to them!
Where I’m going next: Mu Omakase, the new restaurant from Chairman Group that’s opening in the Constitution Place precinct this month. I’m really looking forward to experiencing a fine Japanese omakase restaurant in Canberra.
Death row meal: Good ramen for sure!
My COVID-19 response: It’s great to see the pandemic has largely been kept under control in the ACT, but we must all be vigilant. We focus on maintaining social distancing and hygiene training to keep our service and establishment a COVID-safe place as part of our daily routine.
My really simple recipe tip: Sunny egg with soy sauce and nori seaweed on steaming hot rice – it’s unreal.
White Chaco in Lonsdale Street, Braddon, focuses on Asian-fusion cuisine with strong Taiwanese and Japanese influences. It’s open for lunch Thursday to Monday (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) and dinner Wednesday to Monday (5:30 pm – 8:30 pm).