I struggled with my identity when I was young and denied my dad's Asian heritage. When my grandmother came to visit from the northern territories of Hong Kong, I made myself hate the food she cooked us – the tasteless broths and dried fish. Now I've learnt to love all that.
I love the raw peasant flavours of steamed egg, spring onions and water chestnuts, topped with dried salt fish, so strong you can eat it only in small mouthfuls.
I love juk, the poor man's dinner: two parts water, one part rice, with dried scallops and turnips. It sounds disgusting to a Western palette, but it's the Chinese chicken soup for the soul – perfect if you're ill or upset. Food goes beyond language. Through these dishes I've grown closer to my dad; taste is love!
Gok Wan is running a day-long apprenticeship for fashion students in London on 13 September, sponsored by Alliance & Leicester (www.prem21.co.uk).Reuse content