An Interview with Chef Song Yao Su, Executive Chef of Uncle Su, The Star

Uncle Su officially opened its doors to the public this week, offering a delicious blend of Cantonese style favourites with a selection of signature Beijing and Szechuan dishes.

We interviewed Executive Chef Song Yao Su, after whom the restaurant is affectionately named.

Chef Song, what are you best known for as a chef?

I like to think that I am known for the care and consideration that I put into my cooking. I prefer using fresh ingredients and letting their natural flavours shine through, so I choose cooking methods that allow people to taste the produce rather than just the oil or spices.

Fresh locally-sourced seafood is my favourite to cook with – particularly steamed lobster, as the steaming process helps retain the natural sweetness of the lobster meat.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

In 1999, I was invited by one of Hong Kong’s Four Masters (one of the most decorated and awarded chefs in Hong Kong), Pui Wing Hui to join his kitchen in The Mansion, a property managed by and adjacent to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas which welcomed VIP guests by invitation only. He has taught me so many invaluable techniques about using simple fresh ingredients to build subtle flavours that have a great impact.

What specialty regional Cantonese dishes can we expect on your menu?

Cantonese cooking uses light flavours – not too salty and not too sweet – and lots of fresh produce. You’ll notice that many ingredients are often steamed, and garlic and ginger feature very heavily. So, you can expect to see lots of beautiful locally sourced fresh seafood served with garlic, ginger and green onions.

Our Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger and Scallions is a personal favourite – it will be carved and served table side. In Cantonese, we have a saying Nian Nian YouYu 年年有余 which is used to wish people to have ample surplus by the end of every year to better prepare for the next year. In Chinese language, the character “余(surplus)” shares the same pronunciation with “鱼(fish)”, so having a whole fish on the table is seen as lucky.

There will also be dishes like Black Pepper Steak served on a sizzle plate, which harks back to my roots working in the local barbeque shop.

What specialty yum cha dishes on your menu must we try?

Uncle Su’s menu will feature a specialty dim sum menu, full of authentic dishes that I grew up eating, handmade to order by our chefs daily. This includes Char Siu Bao, a fluffy steamed bun bursting with delicious Chinese BBQ pork, or Siu Mai made with Australian pork and prawn meat and topped with Australian abalone alongside classics like Har Gau (steamed prawn dumplings) and Egg Tarts. I want people to be able to order their favourite Yum Cha dishes, just with my family’s spin on them.

What Australian ingredients are you looking forward to using?

I am really excited about all the Australian seafood we will be offering guests. We will be working closely with farmers who will supply daily fresh seafood to Uncle Su.

Like many traditional Chinese restaurants, we will have live seafood tanks featured in the room with Australian lobster, crab, abalone, coral trout, grouper, parrot fish and barramundi for guests to choose from.

Will some of these new ingredients lead to a new interpretation of traditional cuisine?

At Uncle Su, we source all our ingredients and produce locally – from our vegetables to our meats, poultry, and seafood. I love using fresh ingredients and Australia offers some of the best in the world – I truly believe in letting those natural flavours shine through.

For my secret homemade XO sauce, for example, I tend to opt to purchase prawns and fish from right here on the Gold Coast to ensure that they are fresh. The quality of the ingredients and making sure that they have that fresh, natural flavour is so important to elevate the complex balance of this special sauce.

Which signature dish must we be sure to try?

My Peking Duck, which is marinated in my own secret sauce for 24 hours before being roasted and cooked to perfection. It’s then served and carved right next to your table.

READ MORE about Uncle Su here.

Uncle Su, The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach Island, Broadbeach

Ph: 07 5592 8757 Open: Wed – Sun 12 noon – 2.15pm; 5.30pm – 9.45pm

NOTE: Photos supplied by The Star Gold Coast.

Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of The Star Gold Coast.

Open: Wed – Sun 12 noon – 2.15pm; 5.30pm – 9.45pm
      
The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach QLD, Australia