• Tue
  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:50am

Peter Chang

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am

Peter Chang was born in Taiwan and educated in Japan and the United States. A former banker who now works in the hedge fund industry in Hong Kong, Chang started his food and wine blog, Diary of a Growing Boy (diarygrowingboy.com), in 2006.

How did you first become interested in food?

My mum is an excellent cook and we ate good food at home, so I was kind of jaded. We never ate out much when I was a kid - my mother cooked so well and restaurants [in Taiwan] were not as good as her home cooking - her philosophy is why pay someone money if I can do it better myself.

As I grew older, we started going out and I had exposure to non-Chinese food. I started looking forward to tasting more exotic cuisines. I moved to Japan when I was 12 and that was my first discovery of food outside home, when we started to have French, Italian and, of course, Japanese.

What's your favourite cuisine?

I love Japanese food, but judging by the number of meals I eat, my favourite would be French. There's fine dining, refined French food at places like Caprice [in the Four Seasons] and Petrus [at the Island Shangri-La], and there's really basic, hearty meaty food - and it's all interesting and delicious. We often joke that 'we're Chinese, we eat everything' and the French are similar in that they also have a taste for game and exotic items - snails and frog legs being the most cliched. They don't waste the animals either - instead of just using the prime cuts of meat, you will also find things like intestines, blood, trotters, etc. And over the past few years I've been drinking a lot of wine, it's a big part of my life. I'm not saying it only goes with French food, but I drink a lot of French wine and they do go together.

Why did you start the blog?

I just wanted to try it out - before, I couldn't understand why people blog. It was after a long trip to Spain and Portugal, and I decided to write something about it to preserve my memories. It's like a diary and I put it online, so I could access it any time.

My primary reason was to write about food, wine and my travels, but then I discovered that other people find it interesting, too. My blog is relatively esoteric - I live in a Chinese-speaking society but write in English, and my eating and drinking are skewed towards the higher end.

What was your most memorable meal?

El Bulli. I went with five others and for obvious reasons we all had high expectations.

We knew it would be a long meal, full of stuff the chefs had come up with in a lab. But what came out was surprise after surprise - no matter what form it took - whether the dish involved spherification, ingredients being frozen into powder, or something that was more regular - it was all delicious.

What we were tasting was the pure essence of ingredients - the dishes might not have looked the way we expected them to, but once they were in the mouth, we could recognise the flavour. Sometimes it was more concentrated than the original - everything was just so intense, it was just amazing.

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