Tan Kee Yun
The New Paper
Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015
Having a baby changes the mealtime dynamics between a married couple. Just ask Andie Chen.
The 30-year-old local actor, who has a year-old son, Aden, with his wife, Taiwanese actress Kate Pang, described a typical eating-out experience with his child.
"Things changed after Aden came into the picture," he said over lunch with M at A-One Claypot House at Suntec City Mall last Thursday.
"Last time, Kate and I were very romantic. Whenever we ate out, we'd exchange sweet nothings like, 'Here, try this,' and 'Have a bite of that.'
"These days, our conversations are always hurried, like, 'Quick, quick, you eat first while I look after the baby. After that, I eat. Okay?'"
Pang, 32, whom Chen describes as an amazing cook, is also unabashedly biased towards their son when it comes to whipping up dishes for the two men of her life.
"Kate cooks simple stuff for me, like soup and grilled chicken. No sauce, just a sprinkle of chilli powder," he said. "But for Aden's food, she would put in much more effort, like steaming the pumpkin before pureeing it and topping it with sesame. Aden's food is so pretty compared to mine."
Local theatregoers can catch Chen in Toy Factory Productions' new musical December Rains, which will run from Aug 28 to Sept 6 at the Esplanade Theatre. Chen and local singer Chriz Tong play student lovers separated in the tumultuous 1950s.
He is also reprising his role as lawyer Hong Dangyong in the new Channel 8 period drama The Journey: Our Homeland, the third and final season of the nation-building trilogy that airs on weeknights at 9pm.
You're making your theatre and singing debut in December Rains. Have you made any changes to your diet to keep your voice in tip-top condition?
Yes, I have to sing a lot, which is a huge challenge for me. Plus, my character is supposed to be vocally strong and powerful. His name is Ying Xiong, which means "hero" in Chinese.
I've cut down on fried and spicy food. And no more coffee for me since milk apparently causes inflammation in my throat. We're having dried scallop sliced fish porridge, meatballs with spinach soup and honey chicken. It's a healthy meal.
Are you a fan of veggies?
To be honest, I hate vegetables, but I eat a lot of them. I eat spinach (pointing at the soup), steamed vegetables, boiled vegetables, salads.
Anyone who sees me eat would exclaim, "Wow, Andie, you love your greens!" And in my mind, I'd go, "No, I bloody hate my greens, but no choice, lah, I have to eat them."
I have to be responsible for my health. Growing up, I binged on junk food. It's not good. I try to eat cleanly now and I'll make sure my son follows in my footsteps.
What ill effects did junk food have on your body?
I have many food allergies and intolerances. I can't eat crab, peanuts, cashew nuts, prawns, lobsters. Most crustaceans are out for me.
I went to see a doctor and he told me it's caused by heavy metal poisoning and the fact that I have an unhealthy gut, built up over the years by my uncontrolled diet of junk food.
I fear Aden will have the same allergies I have, but thankfully, he's not showing any symptoms yet.
Any favourite restaurants that you and Pang take Aden to?
Aden's still entirely on homemade food, but we do eat out together. But we pack his food with us.
Recently, we've been visiting (restaurant chain) Marche a lot, as their outlets have nice play areas for children. Aden likes to mingle.
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