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In 2022, Junda’s innovative creations led to him being nominated as a finalist for ‘Chef of the Year’ by Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide.

Ho Jiak Town Hall was also named as one of the top 80 restaurants in Australia by Gourmet Traveller and was awarded one Chef’s Hat in recognition of the dedication and excellence of dining experiences delivered.

His new cookbook, Ho Jiak. features more than 100 staple dishes, showcasing a dynamic cuisine steeped in tradition, from street food classics to true homestyle cooking.

Khoo draws inspiration from the recipes passed down to him from his beloved amah (grandmother) as well as the street vendors of Malaysia. Ho Jiak, translating to ‘good eats’, is Khoo’s modern interpretation of Malaysian cuisine.

Main photo by Katje Ford/Ho Jiak 



Char Kway Teow.

When I came up with my version of this dish, I was trying to recreate the CKT that Amah used to buy for me from the wet market, the same ones where I got the Economy bee hoon.

The wet market hawker chefs just want to feed people quickly, and the quickest way to give something flavour is dark soy, light soy and chilli. It’s much darker than the usual CKT.

I wanted to capture that taste but also incorporate typical Penang ingredients, like pork fat and lap cheong (Chinese sausage), and fry it in a very, very hot wok to give it more wok hei (the smoky flavour you get from a hot wok).

I received a lot of criticism from other Malaysians when I first made this at Strathfield –‘it’s not authentic’, ‘it’s not traditional’ – but I thought it was delicious.

Little did I know it would become the most popular dish across all Ho Jiak restaurants and my signature dish. I like that. I think it sums up what I do. I am not trying to be authentic or original, I just want to make delicious food.



2 tablespoons pork oil

4 raw king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

250g (9oz) fresh flat rice noodles

2 tablespoons prawn oil (or more as needed)

1 teaspoon chilli giling

8 slices lap cheong (Chinese sausage)

8 clams

5 fishcake slices (thinly sliced)

1 tablespoon crispy pork lard

2 tablespoons dark soy blend

2 eggs

pinch of white pepper

5 chives, cut into 3cm lengths

1 handful bean sprouts



Heat the pork oil in a wok to smoking point, then add the prawns and fry until half-cooked (about 1 minute). Add the garlic and noodles and toss on high heat, splashing with a little prawn oil and water as needed until the noodles are glistening and soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the chilli giling, lap cheong, clams, fishcake and crispy pork lard and stir-fry until the rice noodles are evenly coated and start to caramelise.

Add 1 tablespoon of the dark soy blend, give it a good mix, then push everything to one side of the wok.

Pour some of the prawn oil into the empty side of wok and break the eggs in. Pop both yolks and swirl the wok so the egg coats the empty wok base. Season with white pepper then flip the noodles back onto the eggs and leave until they are fully cooked, about 30 seconds. This part is crucial – if you stir before the eggs are fully cooked, they will get clumpy and stick to the noodles.

Once the eggs are cooked, give it all a good stir, breaking the eggs and stirring them into the noodles. Add the chives and bean sprouts and continue stir-frying until the bean sprouts are half-cooked and still crunchy. Add the second tablespoon of dark soy blend, give it all a stir and then serve.

This is an edited extract from Ho Jiak: A Taste of Malaysia by Junda Khoo, published by Hardie Grant Books. Available in stores nationally, RRP $55.00. Photography by Alana Dimou.