The New Paper
11 February 2015
Call it cliched or romantic. Whichever way you slice it, love is in the air, with V-Day about to hit this Saturday.
There are many who bend over backwards on Valentine's Day to show how much they love their partners. Others think Feb 14 is just an occasion for businesses to exploit hopeless romantics.
Do frequent date nights work better at keeping the flame burning? And do certain kinds of food or restaurants inject more magic into the relationship?
We ask local celebrity couples whether the way to one's heart is truly through the stomach.
1) PRISCELIA CHAN AND ALAN TERN
Local actress Chan can't live without coffee. Her husband Tern, a former MediaCorp actor, is the same. In fact, that's how the couple got together - over cups of the caffeinated brew.
"Coffee is the 'magic' that keeps us going," joked Chan. "We used to have coffee at Changi Village Hotel... We like the place so much that we held our wedding there."
The couple, who tied the knot in 2007 and have no children, love cafe-hopping. They are not big on Valentine's Day, but Chan, 35, writes love notes in cards for Tern, 38, on days that are special to the two of them.
One of their favourite hang-outs is One Man Coffee at Upper Thomson Road.
"Our date nights are coffee nights," said Chan, adding that they visit the quaint cafe at least twice a month. Their cakes are yummy too... Perfect match with their 'magic' coffee!"
2) JEAN DANKER AND GLENN ONG
They celebrate everything, from birthdays to anniversaries and most definitely, Valentine's Day.
"Glenn always makes sure we have a nice meal, and he always gets me flowers and a gift," said radio DJ Danker about her fiance Ong, adding that "he's very traditional and sweet".
For the pair, who have been dating since 2009 and engaged since 2011, every night is a date night if they are not working.
She meets Ong, 45, a director in an F&B and hospitality consulting firm, for dinner on most nights when her shift ends at 8pm.
"We eat out usually, then catch a movie," said Danker, 36. We've been trying to catch up on all the Oscar-nominated movies before the Academy Awards ceremony later this month. But I'm just as happy staying in and letting him cook pasta!"
While a home-cooked meal would suffice, Danker said they usually dine at one of their favourite restaurants on Valentine's Day - DB Bistro Moderne at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. "We love that it's fine dining, yet it doesn't feel stuffy and formal. It's vibrant and has very good energy."
She added: "Once we were hosted by owner chef Daniel Boulud and he was warm and down-to-earth and chatted with us all night. Service of course is excellent."
The couple are regulars at the restaurant, which features traditional French bistro cooking incorporating contemporary American flavours. They even go there for other special occasions, such as Christmas.
The coq au vin (chicken in wine), original DB Burger and seafood platter ("Glenn loves his oysters!") are some of the couple's favourites.
Occasionally, fans do go up to them during dinner for autographs and photographs.
"Sometimes, (even) while I'm in the middle of chewing!" Danker said. "But it's all good. I know it takes some guts for them to come up to us so I appreciate all the love and support. I just hope I didn't have vegetables stuck in between my teeth in those photos!"
3) ANDIE CHEN AND KATE PANG
Local actor Chen professes to being more of a homebody than one who enjoys eating out. It's not surprising, since his wife is a fantastic chef.
"Kate is such a wicked cook that eating out has lost much of its appeal," raved the 29-year-old, citing favourites dishes such as fried nian gao and white cabbage with meatball soup.
When they do eat out, cosy and casual cafes such as Little Part 1 Cafe off Upper Thomson Road and Grub at Bishan Park are their preferred venues.
"I think we are like the heartland couple of Caldecott Hill to our fans," Chen joked, adding that their fans still ask for photos even when he and Taiwan-born Pang, 31, are in shorts and slippers.
This year's Valentine's Day will be different for the couple, who got hitched in 2013 after two years of courtship, as now there is seven- month-old son Aden in the picture.
While they have eaten out with their baby, Valentine's Day will be spent at home as that's just how they like it.
"While Kate and I are not big on occasions like Valentine's Day and anniversaries, we do surprise each other with small gifts pretty often," said Chen.
"It sounds crazy but with Aden around, it actually makes spending time together more romantic. It just feels more complete."
See the gallery below for images of the celebrities' favourite hang-outs.
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