Within minutes of my first meeting with them, Van and Kwok are talking enthusiastically about food. With his thick cap of graying hair, expressive brown eyes, and bemused air, Van is at once calm and engaging as he discusses the virtues of long-cured ham and young bamboo shoots. Kwok has a gentle demeanor, earnestly explaining cooking techniques with deft gestures, then leaning forward with a quick, soft laugh. She talks with obvious pleasure about taking a fish just minutes out of the water and steaming it whole and unadorned, to retain its sweet tenderness; of quickly stir-frying bok choy with peanut oil and browned garlic, so that the vegetable's crispness is not destroyed. She describes dishes for cold weather—rice cooked with Chinese sausage and fresh herbs; rich soup combining hearty pork with delicate lotus root. In summer, she says, she serves shrimp quickly panfried, sprinkled with coarse salt, and garnished with cashews and slices of mango. Or she might steam duck and then panfry it with pickled ginger shoots, pieces of fresh pineapple, and slices of red bell pepper.