For Buncrana man Kwanghi Chan, formerly of The Wing Tai House, it has been a very busy year.
He has written the first ever Irish-Chinese cookbook – Wok.
And within its pages there’s a strong Buncrana influence.
The book, just published by blastabooks, is available in all good bookshops.
Kwanghi runs a well-established restaurant, Bites by Kwanghi, in Dublin’s trendy docklands
He is also well-known from TV as a resident chef on the Six O’Clock Show, Virgin Media’s daily TV magazine show.
Furthermore, he has a range of his own sauces on sale in fashionable food shops.
And on top of all that, Kwanghi is a Bord Bia food ambassador.
He moved to Buncrana from Hong Kong when he was seven years old and began helping out at his uncle’s restaurant a year later.
“Growing up in Buncrana influenced me hugely,” Kwanghi told the Inishowen Independent.
“My uncle had a Chinese restaurant called The Wing Tai House. It’s closed now, but that’s where I started learning how to cook.
“Starting from washing the dishes to running the kitchen when I was 13 and cooking all the dishes, I was able to give my uncle days off the business.”
Wok showcases recipes that combine Chinese and European influences.
It is split into nine sections: dumplings, street food, rice, beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetarian and sweet.
“It’s very humbling to be the first Chinese immigrant – who grew up here from a young age – to be able to write the first Chinese cookbook to be published here in Ireland.”
He says it is difficult to choose which recipe he’s most excited for people to try.
“There are so many recipes in there that are my favourite,” he says.
“There are recipes in there that I have been cooking on the Six O’Clock show on Virgin Media TV over the last six years so there’s a lot to pick from.
“If I was to pick one, I would go for the Spice Bag Bao Bun as it’s probably the dish that I won the RTE Battle of the Food Trucks programme with.
“It is one of the best sellers in my restaurant Bites by Kwanghi in Dublin.”
Fruit and veg
Earlier this year Kwanghi was appointed as campaign ambassador for the first year of An Bord Bia’s new campaign, ‘Life is Better with Fruit and Vegetables’.
The campaign is focused on encouraging young people to eat healthier by choosing sustainably sourced, fresh, locally grown, in-season fruit and vegetables.
“I absolutely love their focus on Irish food and producers, from pork, beef, and the vegetables campaign. I use a lot of seasonal vegetables in my cooking in the book Wok and in my restaurants.”