Hong Kong's Creative Powerhouses to Watch: JJ Wu Chang

Before dating apps and swiping became mainstream, matchmakers – and over-enthusiastic parents or relatives pushing you to meet their “friend’s son who’s so handsome. And single!” – were in the ascendant. From reading palms to configuring the likelihood of marital success through numerology to good old-fashioned profiling, the possibilities were endless.

In 2016, JJ Wu Chang brought a modern, fresher perspective to the industry after he began working as a matchmaker and dating coach, a role he describes as akin to headhunting.

During the pandemic, business took a dip. “Everyone was scared to go out but, more significantly, people were shying away from the thought of meeting strangers,” Wu Chang says. “You don’t know where they’ve been or who they’ve been in close contact with – and these are not things I can guarantee, of course.”

Faced suddenly with time on his hands, Wu Chang decided to embark on a venture he’d been toying with for a while: local, handmade charcuterie. What started out as a hobby to get away from the stresses of working in a highly social business environment became a therapeutic process with delicious results. He recently opened a kitchen and tasting room in Wong Chuk Hang where he’s expanded his curing ingredients beyond pork to poultry, beef and even fish.

JJ Wu Chang in his private tasting room

“I wanted to focus on creating something new while honouring the history of each piece”

What are you doing that’s different? And how do you hope to shake up the industry?
Charcuterie is everywhere, but every major supermarket offers the same few product lines. I wanted to focus on creating something new while honouring the history of each piece, keeping things fresh and interesting by incorporating flavours that would pair well with it. This is evident in one of the most popular offerings: the Sichuan peppercorn duck prosciutto. I wanted to put a Chinese spin on a traditionally European product. When it comes to the industry at large, I just want to focus on offering something unforgettable. I hope to work with custom pieces made for different restaurants such as a Japanese-spice mixed ham for sake pairing, or even an Indian-spice infusion.

What does an average workday look like for you?
During production periods, there’s a lot of butchering and prep work in the kitchen for me until the late hours. However, normal days see me taste-testing new recipes and fulfilling orders for customers. It ranges from babysitting pieces that are ageing to prepping orders to hosting private tasting sessions.

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