Andy Law learned his craft in the kitchens of Hong Kong and has practised it in kitchens on the east coast of Australia for 21 years.
His father was a purveyor of Asian condiments in Hong Kong and Andy and his three brothers and three sisters were literally brought up amidst the flavours of the orient. Today one brother and sister in Sydney carry on the family tradition as importers of Asian sauces, seasonings and flavourings.
After stints in Sydney, Melbourne, WeeWaa, Tamworth and Pottsville, Andy arrived in Byron Bay three years ago drawn by the beautiful location and social life. He’s recently opened his Happy Chilli Garden in Byron Street after a name change from ANJ Chinese Restaurant because of the popularity of his chilli dishes.
He makes his own chilli sauce and believes it’s the secret to maintaining his core group of regulars.
‘My regulars liked my chilli sauce so much that I changed the restaurant name for them,’ says Andy.
It takes some experimenting to get the strength just right for each of them.
‘I remember how hot all my regulars like their food. We work it out together, step-by-step until we get it right and then I don’t forget.’
Andy’s restaurant is known for its welcoming atmosphere, good value, fast service and friendly staff. Also he can cook just about anything.
‘I can do anything with some advanced warning if it takes special ingredients.
‘Recently I had someone ask me to make them a congee so that took half an hour. If someone wants Peking Duck they can let me know by Sunday as fresh ducks are delivered on Monday and I can make it for them.
‘Some customers will give me their own recipe. I like to make anything to have satisfied, happy customers.’
His customers include a cross section of Byron society from backpackers to lunchtime workers, families picking up takeaway on the way home, to Chinese tourist groups on day trips from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Most popular choices from the menu include Pad Thai, barbeque duck, salt-and-pepper mud crab, and Andy’s own favourites; hot chilli chicken and curried beef noodles.
His brother Stanley was an executive chef in Hong Kong for 20 years and is currently helping out as Andy had an accident in the kitchen a few weeks ago and burnt his hands.
With his hands nearly healed and Stanley due to go home in a week Andy looks forward to getting back to what he does best – cooking for his customers in the Happy Chilli Garden Restaurant.
Byron St (opposite Aldi), Byron Bay
Open Monday – Saturday 12pm til late
Sunday 5pm til late. Phone 6680 9191
BYO / Dine-in / Take away / Home Delivery
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