When it comes to comfort food, sometimes the simplest dishes from childhood land closest to the heart.
That's the secret behind the recipe Chef Han Lin shared, when he was interviewed for a Telus documentary, House Special Episode 3: Hungry for Home.
House Special is a docuseries exploring Chinese-Canadian history through small town restaurants and the families who run them. In episode 3, the host explores secret menus and hidden Chinese supermarkets, and even features a Kelowna driving range. The episode caps off with a lesson from Han, who shares a recipe for Pork Fat and Rice that he would make for a snack after school most days.
"When you're feeling strange in a strange land, all you want to do is feel like you're safe. I think that for most people, that childhood memory of food makes people feel safe and secure," explained Jackie Kai Ellis, host of House Special.
Han walks the viewers through the process of rendering the pork fat while infusing it with ginger flavour, to drizzle over a dish of white rice with a topping of soy sauce, chicharrones and lime zest. He explains that his mother would leave out the simple ingredients for him to prepare the snack, and that the dish always transports him back to childhood.
Han completed his Red Seal in 2012 and embarked on his own catering company for several years. The documentary filmmakers approached Summerhill Winery for help, seeking out a Chinese-Canadian with a chef background. Stephen Cipes at Summerhill immediately suggested Han, who used to work at the Summerhill winery.
Now he is a substitute instructor for OC's Culinary and Pastry Arts Department, with the opportunity to influence the next generation of chefs. He also works with OC's Central Stores team, and can be seen on campus with his trademark smile and friendly greeting.
You can watch his appearance on House Special on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BejMjX_ZFtI?t=1362.