A classic staple of Cantonese cuisine, siu mei – which covers a range of Chinese-style roasted meats – is an easy choice when adding an extra dish to the dining table. A small chain of market stalls has reinvented the classic Cantonese delicacy by combining Chinese and Western cooking methods. Since opening in 2018, Siu Sa Family has set up branches at three modernised fresh markets, including the latest one at Hin Keng Market in Sha Tin.
Siu Sa Family founder Wayne Chung said, “Siu mei is a popular Chinese delicacy, and roasted pork knuckle is a famous German dish. We combine their features to create a new-style fusion roasted pork knuckle as our signature dish. We marinate the pork knuckle using Chinese ingredients such as brine, Sichuan peppercorns and star anise, and we serve the finished product with Western-style honey mustard sauce. During the roasting process, we stick to the Chinese methods of skewering and applying vinegar to ensure crispiness."
Before launching Siu Sa Family, Wayne helped out at his parents’ Cantonese siu mei stall located at the pre-renovation TKO Market (then Hau Tak Market), where he helped serve customers and tend the stall. Later, he joined his friend’s German restaurant as a trainee, an experience that familiarised him with the making of authentic German pork knuckles and the ins and outs of running a restaurant, from customer service to food preparation and merchandising. Instead of taking over his parents’ traditional siu mei stall, Wayne decided to start his own business specialising in westernised siu mei by adopting modern management principles, which emphasise conformance to procedures and standards.
His experience in the German restaurant impressed on him the importance of maintaining both food and service quality. "Serving hot with crispy skin is the key to roasted meat ,” said Wayne. “To maintain quality, the roasting process is done at the stall, and we turn out four to five rounds of freshly roasted meat every day.” Pig ears and chicken wings braised in brine are common offerings at a traditional siu mei stall. Siu Sa Family has similar cold dishes, marinated in alcohol to provide a fun, flavourful twist. In reference to this cold dish series, the first part of the stall’s name “Siu Sa”, homonymous with words meaning “at ease”, also contains the character “Sa”, which resembles the Chinese word for “drunkenness”.
Specialising in take away food, Siu Sa Family has adopted a minimalist stall front design with an attractive food display to appeal to customers. Wayne said: "Our customers are mostly housewives and people returning home from work. New-format fresh markets are a natural choice for us since younger customers prefer shopping there. Having our stalls at these markets enables us to serve a large group of established siu mei lovers while also reaching young customers. The image of these new markets also matches ours.
"In terms of publicity, we actively interact with our customers through our social media pages, and we invite online commentaries. Starting a new business is full of challenges, and it requires dedication and hard work, but the satisfaction that comes with seeing the business take hold and grow stronger is beyond description."
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