Give Tosh Zhang potatoes and sushi and he’s a satisfied man. Over lunch on Monday at Marina Bay Sands Hotel’s Rise restaurant, the suave 24-year-old vlogger-rapper-actor admitted to being a “huge eater”.
According to The New Paper, the way he indulged in three rounds of the sumptuous spread of salad, fresh seafood, Western and Asian cuisine and dessert said it all.
Potatoes (“love them, especially with chicken curry”) and sushi (“I always have them”) might have been the mainstays on his plate, but the Ah Boys To Men breakout star would have loved to top his meal off with a hot bowl of ramen.
“I am a super big fan of ramen. The last time I was in Japan, I had ramen every single day,” he said.
Zhang, whose new lion dance-themed movie The Lion Men is set to premiere during the Chinese New Year period next year, shared with us his love for the ubiquitous Japanese noodle, his inability to cook and relishing his one-year stint as fast-food chain Burger King’s ambassador.
You and fellow Ah Boys To Men star Wang Weiliang are fronting the ad campaign for Burger King (BK). We see you guys literally everywhere. So do you get to eat at BK for free?
No lah, I don’t go up to a BK outlet and have free food. I’m given vouchers. (Smiles sheepishly) It’s a dream come true for me to be the ambassador for BK — since secondary school, the Mushroom Swiss has been one of my favourite burgers.
But my first food endorsement was for bak kwa chain Bee Cheng Hiang, where I launched their Mini-EZ Jerky, targeted specifically at teens.
I think established old brands like getting us Ah Boys to front their products (Joshua Tan is the ambassador for traditional pastry shop Thye Moh Chan) as we help to reach out to youngsters.
Do you prefer Western or Asian food? And what are your all-time favourite dishes?
I can live without Western fare, but I cannot do without Asian food for too long. This realisation came after a trip to the US. My first couple of days there, I was excited about tucking into American stuff. But I got bored of it and started craving for familiar Asian food.
I love shellfish like oysters, crabs and lobsters. Ramen is one of my favourites too. I really like it when the char siew and broth are just nice and the flavoured egg is made right.
There are so many types of ramen — the noodles come in different thickness, the broths are different and there are so many toppings to choose from. It’d be cool to learn how to make ramen for my significant other.
Are you a good cook?
Nope! The only thing I can cook is instant noodles. (Laughs)
I took Food And Nutrition at O levels and I was the only boy in class. The only reason I took the subject was because my other option was accounting. There was no way I could take that, given my lousy mathematics.
Anyway, I scored F9 for Food And Nutrition. I have no cooking skills at all. In class, my dishes would look great on the outside but taste horrible.
Where are your favourite eating places in Singapore?
I love the laksa stall at Queensway Shopping Centre, in front of the Nike shop. I used to go there often to buy sneakers and discovered one day that the laksa is delicious.
I also like Founder Bak Kut Teh in Balestier. It serves, hands down, the best bak kut teh in Singapore.
Swee Choon Tim-Sum Restaurant is great too. Shigga Shay and I shot the entire music video for (hip-hop song) Lim Peh at Swee Choon, using its restaurant, office and back alley. The owner was really nice and in between scenes, he’d provide us with dim sum.
Does Ah Boys To Men and The Lion Men director Jack Neo treat you and the other Ah Boys to meals?
Usually, on the set of The Lion Men, we would just eat economical rice. But during long, tough shoots, Liang Dao (director Neo in Mandarin) would buy “special” meals for all of us.
There was one time when he bought Hainanese scissors curry rice, and another time, bak chor mee. It was a nice touch and kind of like a morale booster too, to motivate everyone to hang in there.