His cuisine of choice? Street food

Chef André Chiang requires no introduction. The decorated owner of Restaurant André in Singapore and RAW in Taiwan has earned more accolades than he can possibly remember. We had a chat with him to find out which of his achievements he is most proud of, as well as pick his brain on his favorite eats and travel habits.

Out of all your achievements, which ones are you most proud of?

I guess when Restaurant André and RAW were named the best restaurants in Singapore and Taiwan respectively, it meant a lot to me. When I first arrived in Singapore 10 years ago, it didn’t really have an iconic restaurant of its own. Nowadays people travel for food and they want a unique experience in Singapore, a restaurant of its own, and now we have it. That’s something I’m very proud of.

You mentioned people travel for food nowadays. When you travel, do you travel for food too?

Yes. I [grew up] with night markets so street food for me is so important. Everywhere I go I always look for street food. With street food you get to see the local culture and the produce that people use. You also see the different flavor combinations, like the differences between a Mexican taco and an American taco. It’s the street foods that tell you where you are and why people use certain ingredients. You have direct contact to culture through street food.

What are your favorite restaurants around the world?

There are many that I like. One is PIC, in Valence, France. Another I really like is in Copenhagen, called Relae. In Taiwan, there are three I really like. First, obviously, is RAW because it’s one-of-a-kind. Second is Shi Yang Shan Fang in Taipei county, which serves fine Taiwanese cuisine. The environment there is amazing thanks to it being on a mountain. I go there all the time. And then the last one will be Sasa, a Japanese sushi restaurant by a Taiwanese chef. I think it’s not only the best sushi restaurant in Taiwan, but it beats at least half the sushi restaurants in Japan. It’s really high level and I’m really impressed by it.

Besides food, what other reasons do you travel for? What kind of traveler are you?

I travel for work most of the time. Last year, I traveled to 21 countries for my book world tour. When I travel I try to see something I’m not familiar with. I’m an explorer. I don’t go through guides before I visit a city. I’ll just leave it open and get recommendations from one shop owner to another.

I hear you’ll be at Margaret River Gourmet Escape later this year. What can we expect to taste there this time?

I’m invited to Australia every year for different events and festivals but Margaret River is really special. I feel like Margaret River is the resort of Australia. It has a laid back lifestyle, the beach, good food and great produce. It’s very different from many other cities. In terms of food, I will focus a lot on the produce from Western Australia, of course. Abalone, yabby, finger lime if it’s in season when I go, truffle and a lot of the other great produce.