Nat Ho on what local food he misses the most

6 January 2016 / 9 months 3 weeks ago

Lisa Twang
The New Paper
30 December 2015

Fresh off the set of long-form Channel 5 drama Tanglin, Nat Ho arrived for our interview at Bam! Tapas-Sake Bar hungry.

Turns out the restaurant's owner, Tanglin co-star Constance Song, had asked him to save his appetite for the tapas there.

The 31-year-old local actor-singer, who plays chef Jay on the show which airs on weekdays at 8.30pm, told M: "Constance said, 'Hey, don't eat so much lunch, so you can try more things later.

"I've been meaning to visit Bam! for a while, but I've just been too busy. My weekdays are spent filming Tanglin and on weekends I'm always doing promos or working on my new album. So I'm glad I finally came."

As the restaurant operates omakase-style, where the chef selects the dishes, the menu changes often, sometimes daily.

After requesting a recommendation from the chef, Ho ordered a variety of fusion tapas dishes, such as the squid stuffed with otak-otak and Spanish octopus with vizcaina sauce (made with red peppers) and squid ink, and an egg souffle with soft chicken bone and chicken comb with cherry sauce.

"The octopus dish has an interesting texture, like ondeh-ondeh kueh, and the homemade otak-otak is really rich. I also really enjoyed the egg souffle - poking the yolk is a lot of fun, and the chewy texture of the chicken comb combined with the cherry sauce is just amazing."

Ho will perform a medley of pop songs with his Tanglin co-stars at tomorrow's New Year's Eve countdown show Celebrate 2016 held at The Float @ Marina Bay, headlined by US singer Adam Lambert.

It airs live on Channel 5 at 11pm.

Tickets to the event - which starts at 8pm - are at $38, $88 and $168 from Sistic. "I'm used to working on New Year's Eve. I've done a few countdown shows previously and it feels weird not to be doing anything on that day," said Ho.

"I'm looking forward to meeting Adam Lambert backstage, and hopefully I can take a selfie with him."

TNP asked the actor a couple of questions:

"You were based in Taiwan for two years. What did you eat while you were there?"

"I made lots of meals in a pressure cooker, like beef stew. I'd buy chunks of beef in bulk and freeze portions of them, then make them into a stew I could eat for a few meals in a row. I'd also make bak kut teh using the Prima Taste packets when I missed home."

My favourite food from Taiwan is ice-cream peanut rolls. They contain crushed peanuts, three scoops of ice-cream, parsley and spring onions, wrapped in popiah skin. It sounds weird, but it's delicious."

"What local food did you miss most while you were away?"

"I missed chicken rice, but fortunately Boon Tong Kee opened a branch in Taipei called Boon Keng Chicken, which is really authentic. So I would go there for my chicken rice fix. My comfort food was kaya, and I would eat that straight from the bottle while watching Netflix.

But the food I missed most was my mum's cooking. I love the simple dishes she makes, like mee suah soup."

"What does the Tanglin cast like to eat on set?"

"We don't actually film in Tanglin because our studio and outdoor locations are in other parts of Singapore. One dish we like to order is the char siew rice from ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, as the char siew is really hearty and fatty, and perfectly crispy.

Sometimes, we'll also order Korean bibimbap from this website called Dosirak. We were eating that every day at one point."

"Have you ever thought of opening your own restaurant, like your other celebrity peers?"

"I did consider it when I left MediaCorp in 2010, but it wasn't feasible then. I'm thinking of going into the F&B business next year, but it's still in the preliminary stages.:

"What are your New Year resolutions?"

"This year I planted a lot of seeds, so I'm hoping to see some sprouts next year. Food-wise, I'm hoping to eat more healthily, which means less carbs, and more protein and vegetables."


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