The words “Made With Lau” may sound simplistic, but to thousands of viewers who follow this YouTube channel, these three words are synonymous with the essence of Chinese and Cantonese cooking. Curated by Randy Lau, the channel aims to pay homage to the gastronomic treasures of China, particularly Cantonese food. From noodle recipes to congee, the channel is a haven for those craving authentic Chinese food.
Bridging cultures: the beginnings of MadeWithLau
Randy Lau, a Chinese-American chef, is the creative force behind the MadeWithLau YouTube channel and its companion website, www.madewithlau.com. Randy inherited his culinary flair from his father, Chung Sun Lau, affectionately known as Daddy Lau. With over 50 years of experience in cooking, Daddy Lau has been Randy’s mentor and inspiration. He’s not just a father but a Chinese chef who passed on the traditions of Cantonese cooking from their roots in Guangzhou, China, to their home in the Bay Area, America.
Randy, along with Daddy Lau and the entire Lau family, have a mission to share the family recipes that have been honed over generations. And they’re doing so in a way that’s easily accessible to both novice cooks and aficionados of Chinese cuisine. Through their website and Patreon, they offer insights into techniques, secret family recipes, and other nuances that only years of experience could bring.
A spectrum of flavors: what’s cooking?
At the heart of MadeWithLau lies a treasure trove of Chinese recipes, with a focus on Cantonese style. Take noodle dishes, for example. Whether it’s chow mein, lo mein, or other stir-fried noodle classics, each recipe is meticulously presented. The steps are detailed in English, with subtitles available for a wider audience, and the ingredients are listed with both American and Chinese names to bridge cultural gaps.
But MadeWithLau is not just about noodles. The channel explores an array of dishes, from fried rice to steamed fish. A segment on Cantonese dishes wouldn’t be complete without featuring congee, the classic Chinese rice porridge. Then there’s the all-time favorite, char siu, a Cantonese-style barbecued pork that’s crispy on the outside but succulently tender on the inside.
When it comes to sauces, the channel often highlights the importance of oyster sauce, an indispensable ingredient in Cantonese cooking. Another treat that awaits viewers is the recipe for mapo tofu, a dish that showcases the diversity of Chinese food by bringing in flavors from other parts of China.
The Canto Cooking Club
One of the unique features of MadeWithLau is its “Canto Cooking Club,” a community-driven project supported by Patreon. The club aims to create a collective space where viewers can not only learn but also share their own experiences and variations of traditional recipes. Here, you can find specialized courses on classics like steamed eggs, egg drop soup, and more.
Resonance and reach
MadeWithLau’s outreach isn’t limited to YouTube. They’ve also made waves on other social media platforms like TikTok. During the pandemic, when many people turned to cooking as a new hobby or a comforting routine, the channel saw a surge in popularity. A part of its charm lies in how the Lau family shares not just recipes but stories, embedding their culinary wisdom within a broader cultural context. For instance, special attention is paid to dishes like taro cake and zongzi around the Lunar New Year. These are not just recipes but cultural artifacts that hold significant meaning. With such content, MadeWithLau goes beyond being a cooking channel; it becomes a celebration of Chinese and Cantonese culture.
A family affair
The Lau family is deeply involved in the project, making it a collaborative family affair. Randy’s mom is often seen contributing her own recipes and techniques to the channel, particularly for dishes that she has perfected over the years, like baked cod (焗鱈魚) and salmon dishes. This aspect adds a multi-generational perspective to the channel, making it relatable to a wide range of viewers.
If the Lau family and their culinary empire were likened to a well-oiled machine, Daddy Lau would be the engine driving it. With over 50 years of experience in crafting Chinese dishes ranging from congee to mapo tofu, Daddy Lau embodies the very essence of traditional Chinese cooking. His wisdom isn’t merely technical; it also covers the nuances that turn a recipe from good to exceptional. It’s Daddy Lau’s touch that adds authenticity to each dish, making it truly Cantonese or truly Chinese in character.
Not just a restaurant experience
It’s one thing to walk into a Chinese restaurant in America and order General Tso’s Chicken or scallion pancakes, but MadeWithLau offers an authentic experience. Through their platform, they make dishes that most Chinese and Cantonese restaurants in America wouldn’t typically offer on their menus. These recipes have been passed down through generations and capture the authentic essence of Cantonese food as cooked in the Lau family’s home kitchen in Hong Kong before they moved to America.
The power of ingredients
One of the aspects that Randy emphasizes is the quality and specificity of ingredients. Whether it’s using a wok for that perfect stir fry or selecting the right kind of oyster sauce, every detail counts. The channel also pays attention to the “crispy” factor, an essential part of many Chinese dishes. They carefully outline how to achieve that perfect crunch in dishes like fried rice.
The language of cooking
While the channel does an excellent job of explaining recipes in English, it also includes elements of the Cantonese language. Certain dishes are introduced with their original Cantonese names, and subtitles are available to ensure that the recipes are accessible to people who may not speak English fluently. This linguistic duality enriches the viewer’s experience, offering a blend of the modern and the traditional.
Representing Chinese-American identity
MadeWithLau does more than offer cooking tutorials; it offers a slice of Chinese-American life. It portrays the beautiful amalgamation of cultures that defines the Chinese-American identity, combining elements from both sides of the Pacific.
A collaborative community beyond YouTube
While YouTube and TikTok serve as the primary platforms for MadeWithLau’s outreach, they have successfully built a community through their Patreon channel and website. Here, subscribers get exclusive access to specialized content, including deeper dives into recipes, cooking techniques, and ingredient selection. This gives a more rounded education in the art of Chinese and Cantonese cooking to the genuinely passionate followers. The Patreon platform also allows the Lau family to connect with their audience more intimately, receiving direct feedback and suggestions for future recipes.
A labor of love and heritage
MadeWithLau is clearly a labor of love for Randy and his family. The meticulously curated website, www.madewithlau.com, is an extension of the YouTube channel. It hosts a wealth of articles and recipes that are easy to follow, complete with high-quality images and tips on where to source some of the more exotic ingredients. If you’ve ever been daunted by the prospect of attempting Chinese dishes at home, the site serves as an invaluable resource.
The importance of understanding and appreciating different cultures cannot be overstated. And what better way to do so than through food? By sharing family recipes that have been passed down through generations, and by putting a spotlight on dishes that are not just food but a part of their cultural heritage, MadeWithLau is doing exactly that.
Bridging culinary and linguistic gaps with Speechify Transcription
In the realm of cooking tutorials and culture-sharing, platforms like MadeWithLau are invaluable. However, as the channel grows in popularity and diversifies its content, there’s an increasing need to make it accessible to even more people. This is where products like Speechify Transcription come in.
By using cutting-edge AI to convert videos into accurate transcriptions, Speechify can make the nuanced world of Chinese and Cantonese cooking more accessible than ever. For viewers who want to read along or need a quick reference without scrubbing through a video, Speechify’s transcriptions offer an efficient alternative. It helps break down the language barriers even further, aligning perfectly with MadeWithLau’s mission of sharing Chinese culinary wisdom with a global audience. Try Speechify Transcription today!
How do you say beef chow fun in Cantonese?
Beef chow fun is called “牛肉河粉” in Cantonese, pronounced as “Ngau Yuk Ho Fun.”
What is the difference between chow mein and Cantonese chow mein?
Chow mein generally refers to a stir-fried noodle dish made with a variety of ingredients. In contrast, Cantonese chow mein features crispy fried noodles topped with a heavier sauce and vegetables, meat, or seafood. The major difference lies in the texture of the noodles and the method of preparation.
What is Chinese Chow Foon?
Chinese Chow Foon, also known as “河粉” (Ho Fun) in Cantonese, is a type of wide, flat rice noodle. It is commonly used in stir-fried dishes and is known for its soft, chewy texture. It’s a staple in many Cantonese and Chinese-American recipes and is the primary type of noodle used in dishes like beef chow fun.