Dry Aging

With Liwei Liao

Chef Liwei Liao stunned us with his 2019 entry to the Ōra Awards. Using his trademark #freshisboring Liwei turns dry ageing fish into an artform and opens our minds to the possibilities dry ageing presents.

After dry-ageing, Ōra King salmon is more juicy, more tender, more succulent, more delicious. That’s the opinion of Liwei Liao, owner of The Joint, Sherman Oaks, California. Within the Joint’s industrial-chic interior sits Liwei’s custom-built dry-aging cabinet where fish are hung and gently rest like fine wines until Liwei determines that the moisture content, texture and flavour have reached their optimum.

Liwei likes to age each fish for four to seven days before he takes the first cut. But it needs to be checked regularly to ensure its ageing well “I’m looking at my fish every day and kind of assessing it,” Liwei says. He’s achieved some amazing longevity with the ageing process too – he took on the challenge of an Ōra King TYEE, at over 30 pounds, ageing it beyond 90 days.

“It was unreal, the texture and density of the flesh is unlike anything I’ve experienced when it comes to salmon.”

While people can be intimated by dry-aged fish, Liao says, “After a little bit of education, they understand that they should just treat it like fresh fish. They don’t [need to] do anything different. It’s just a superior piece of fish.”

“…They don’t [need to] do anything different. It’s just a superior piece of fish.”

He’s so passionate about dry-ageing that he has hung and dried fish for other local chefs, who don’t have the space or equipment to do it themselves. We love Liwei’s respect for quality fish like Ōra King salmon, and also his willingness to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone who will stop, taste and listen. If you are in the area, make sure you stop by The Joint to experience prime dry-aged fish at its best. Follow Liwei on Instagram @dry_aged_fish_guy and read more in this Food and Wine article