I'm focused on using the freshest ingredients and fragrant herbs like lemongrass and blue ginger. Herbs that are not really Chinese but I love the mix of flavours. I want to present the Far East. Chef Sam Pang
Meet the charismatic Chef Sam Pang from Breeze Restaurant on the 51st floor of the Tower Club at lebua. He pays homage to Asian cuisine with a tantalizing menu that celebrates the ancient culinary traditions of the Far East with large helpings of haute cuisine style.
Why did you want to become a Chef?
“My father had a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. So from a young age I was in the kitchen. I really enjoyed it. When I grew up those memories remained special. I loved going to the market to buy ingredients. I knew all the vegetables and spices by name. How they would taste and what they could become. That time in my life made me what I am today.”
When did you become a chef?
“I spoke to my parents and decided to finish high school and work in a restaurant. That was my passion and all I wanted to do. I started working at 15 years old (which was actually illegal). So now I have worked 29 years.”
How did growing up in Malaysia influence you?
“There are many great cultural culinary influences. We had so many different kinds of food growing up. Before Independence, we were a British colony. Many Indians immigrated during that time. We also have Malay cuisine and Peranakan cuisine – from the early Chinese settlers who arrived in the 19th Century. I studied them all then added the technique and structure of Hong Kong cuisine.
How would you describe your presentation?
Modern Western style, which is artistic and creative. We have a tasting menu, a Peranakan cuisine menu and we also have a set menu. So, three options, and three different types of cuisines to experience the food culture of Asia.
How would you describe your personal style?
Mostly in Malaysia and Singapore they follow the Cantonese style cuisine, however, the root of my culinary style is more Hong Kong cuisine. It's more focused on the flavour of the ingredients. The sauces are simpler and the stock more complex, which means it takes longer to make. I'm very focused on using the freshest ingredients and fragrant herbs like lemongrass and blue ginger. Herbs that are not really Chinese but I love the mix of flavours. I want to present the Far East.
What has influenced your cooking style the most?
Definitely travel. When I was 24 years old I worked on a cruise ship travelling around Asia for six years. This is the reason I have authentic Asian culinary expertise. For example - my first time in Vietnam - when I tried the street food; it was so much more than I expected. I leant about those techniques and flavours. After that, I worked in Singapore. This, ironically, was when learnt about Hong Kong cuisine. Then I decided at a certain point that, one day, I wanted to change to Asian cuisine.
What are your Signature Dishes?
The Charcoal Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Chinese Chives, Wok-fried Maine Lobster with Curry Leaves in Spicy Yellow Bean Sauce, Wok-fried Andaman Tiger Prawns with Okra and Coconut in Tamarind Sauce and Jasmine Tea Smoked Wagyu Beef Ribs…
Come and try and tell me what your favourite is!