Maria: My name is Maria Wong and I was born in Hongkong in 1947. I grew up in Hongkong and moved to Japan later to study and work. After my marriage in Tokyo I moved to Germany and have been living here for over 30 years now. It was always my dream to become a doctor or a teacher because I always wanted to help other people. Finally three years ago I started the cooking channel "Wantanmien" on Youtube and somehow my dream came true. I started to help people cure their homesickness by teaching them to cook.
Ms Z: 2. Wow, cool, I like people who have YouTube Channels, who filmed the videos for you?
Maria: My only son "Stefan" is my cameraman. He is also my food taster, the director and the purchaser of all ingredients that need to be bought in Asian supermarkets in Frankfurt.
Ms Z: 3. Tell us the similarities and differences between the different Chinese cooking styles, what are the unique qualities of Hong Kong dishes?
Maria: China is so big and each region has its own unique dishes and ways to cook. I must admit that I am not familiar with many of them. My father was from Shandong therefore I am familiar with Shandong cuisine and I learnt to make Dumplings and Spring Onion Pancakes from him. Hongkong food just as the city itself is a melting pot between traditional southern chinese and modern/ western influences. Many dishes are steamed and light. You have a large variety of ingredients and flavours. Seafood for example is a very substantial part of Hongkong cuisine. You can eat anything you like in Hongkong, no matter how fancy it is. But the first thing I do when I come to Hongkong is to go straight into a small noodle restaurant and have a cup of Wan Tan noodles (Wan Tan Mien). This my favourite and makes me know I am at home.
Ms Z: 4. While living in Germany, does it make you miss and appreciate your traditional dishes a lot more? Can you find the ingredients where you are? Do the locals like your cooking? Did you learn German cooking along the way?
Maria: I learnt to cook many German dishes but all the time I missed my Hongkong food. The pineapple buns, the roasted pork belly, the wan tan noodles, the shrimp dumplings... First I started to teach people the things I knew how to cook. It was my attempt to share my knowledge and I hoped to help Chinese living abroad to cure their homesickness as I knew how important our food is for us. Over time I started experimenting and learnt from my younger brother a professional chef in Hongkong and also from other chefs who shared their knowledge online. That way I learnt new recipes and I am happy to share them with everyone for free. My aim is to share my experience and teach other people to cook. But my hope is that one day others will follow me and start sharing their knowledge and experience as well.
Ms Z: Maria's cooking skills are not less than a professional chef! In The Genius Salon, fame and fortune don't come into the equation, we mainly look into the quality of the substance, and Maria has achieved just that! Why not log onto Maria's YouTube Channel and have a browse, no matter you are Chinese or not!