Dan Hong won the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year Award in 2008 and is now executive chef at Merivale (Ms G's, El Loco, Mr. Wong and Papi Chulo). He's co-author of the Mr Hong cookbook and his sneaker game is pretty strong – he owns around 100 pairs.
Dan Hong recommends the best places to eat and drink in Sydney
What did you enjoy eating when you were growing up? Asian food was a given every day, so as a kid I always loved McDonald's because it was a treat. I also loved the local corner shop takeaway – potato scallops and burgers, chips or any fried item that was in the hot display.
Where in Sydney is worth travelling for a meal? Cabramatta, in general, is worth the travel. I like to go to different restaurants for specific dishes – all in one day. Start at Phu Quoc for roll-your-own sugar cane prawns, then Dong Ba for bun bo hue, Tan Viet for crispy skin chicken, Thy for banh xeo, Huong Xua for Hanoi-style dishes, Battambang for Cambodian food, Kaysone for sweets and Red Lea for hot chips. Then you can check out the markets for exotic fruits and vegies as well as seafood shops and fabric stalls.
What's your favourite cheap eat in Sydney? It would have to be Malay Chinese Takeaway on Hunter Street in the city for its laksa and har mee.
And your favourite special-occasion place? Sokyo at The Star – for some of the best sushi in Sydney.
Favourite place to get a sugar fix? Lorraine's Patisserie has the best pastries. For ice-cream, I go to Cow and the Moon in Enmore. I also love Aqua S soft serve and I pretty much get a Chatime iced tea at least once a week
Favourite guilty pleasure? McDonald's breakfast.
If you dine out with a friend who is a vegetarian or on a special diet, is there a place you like to take them? Probably any restaurant that is run by Brent Savage (Yellow, Monopole, Bentley). His wife is vegetarian, so he seems to have a way with vegetables.
Best spot for fried chicken? Belles Hot Chicken or Arisun.
See Dan Hong at Wok On, which takes place on March 2 at the Establishment Main Bar in the Sydney CBD.