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Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a top-notch dining experience.
This week, Dining Out got the inside scoops from Canton Seafood’s executive chef Sou Keung Wong, who gave us a little taste of Canton Seafood and shared just what fuels his culinary drive.
Name: Sou Keung Wong
Title: Executive Chef at Canton Seafood
Training/Education: 27 years in restaurant industry
Who or what inspires you as a chef/manager/owner?
I started as a kitchen helper at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant in Waikiki almost 30 years ago. The talented executive chef at the restaurant taught me an enormous amount of skill and influenced me to enjoy cooking so much, and that was how I became a chef. Cooking is interesting to me because it combines knowledge from a lot of different fields — you have to know about ingredients, but also about the chemistry or science of food. I love being the head chef here because I receive so many compliments from our customers, and it means a lot especially when they say the food is authentic or just like home. I take pride in every dish that goes out and want everything to taste perfect.
What is your favorite dish on the menu? Why?
I love all kinds of seafood, especially crab. My absolute favorite dish is our Hong Kong-style live, whole Dungeness crab, which is served with crispy golden garlic on top. We can prepare crab many different ways, with ginger and green onion, salt and pepper, black bean sauce, or garlic butter sauce. Our deep-fried flounder with seasoning herbs is another item I enjoy, and it’s become one of our most popular dishes. It’s currently on special for $9.99.
What is your favorite ingredient to work with? Why?
My favorite ingredient surely is fresh ginger because ginger has a unique ability to rid poultries and meats of any bad smell. Chinese consider ginger an antidote to shellfish poisoning, which is why Chinese fish and seafood dishes are often seasoned with the herb. Some popular dishes that we have are Beef with Ginger, Seafood with Ginger, and Ginger Chicken.
Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request?
Certainly there is. We strive to bring in fresh, local produce as much as possible by including Hawaii-grown ingredients. For example, our steamed, live Kona Abalone with fresh garlic sauce is available upon request for $6.99. Another one is Seafood with XO sauce. We make our own XO sauce in-house, so it’s very special. You can choose your favorite seafood such as shrimp or scallop, or do a mixed seafood. You can choose to have it with other meats too, but seafood is the best!
What are your culinary goals? What do you hope to improve on?
Since most people are more health conscious nowadays, my goal is to keep creating new dishes, and to feature them in the contemporary trends and concepts by infusing more healthy and fresh local ingredients. I am working on some dishes now that we should be adding to the menu soon.
923 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu
Open daily, 10 a.m.-midnight