Interview

Singapore Food Instagrammer of the Month: Criminal Lawyer @SunilSudheesan

Every month, we feature a Singapore food blog or instagram: (1) to cultivate goodwill and camaraderie among the online community; (2) to encourage more people to blog and instagram about food; and (3) to empower bloggers and instagrammers through an insight and understanding to their lives.  

(Instagram = IG, instagrammer = iger)

Heh

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I stumbled upon @SunilSudheesan and it has become one of my favorite food instagram accounts. He keeps it real, easily alternating between fine dining and hawker food. His earnestness, charisma, and openness, without an ounce of pretentiousness, shine through his instagram.

I did a little online sleuthing because I don’t know him personally, and I don’t want to feature a douchebag; Found his blog, Sunil Eats.  Although there are only 2 entries, last updated on Dec 2014, his blog shows a vivifying passion for food and life. A joie de vivre, so rare and seldom seen in this rat-race of a world we live in. Many of us have become zombies, but he’s vibrantly alive.

Be prepared to be charmed.

ST bday lunch…

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Tell us something about yourself. 

I am a criminal lawyer who loves food and drink. I currently head the criminal law department of Quahe Woo & Palmer LLC (“QWP”) and I serve as the Acting President of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore.

Good food is my escape from the oftentimes depressing world of criminal law. And while I find my day job fulfilling, there really is nothing like a good meal with close family and friends to re-center your life.

I am happily married to a great wife who shares my enthusiasm for food. I do not know how she keeps the weight off, but ST always focuses my thinking when it comes to food and life. She makes me think more about flavour profiles, pairing options, and nutritional benefits. I eat more vegetables because of her. Heh.

ST also introduced me to your blog and I am very happy that she did.

Block 91's "best lu mian in town"

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You wrote two blog entries in Dec 2014 and stopped. What is preventing you from blogging?

2 major factors I think. The first was my introduction to Instagram (“IG”) by my Legal Associate Diana Ngiam (@fudgerugby). IG was an easy platform to just get simple thoughts down fast. The blog unfortunately seemed unwieldy to a tech dinosaur like me, so maybe I should offer my services as a guest reviewer from time to time. In the meantime, I have to work on my photography skills and perhaps use my words more.

The second is perhaps more poignant. Life changed very significantly for me after December 2014 and I have not really written publicly about it. My late uncle, Subhas Anandan, passed away on 7 January 2015. That threw me headfirst into perhaps the worst period of my life. I had to stabilise our criminal law practice and essentially deal with the loss of a mentor, friend, boss, lunch kaki and favourite uncle. Things got better after I shifted to QWP but the challenges of developing a pipeline of work still remain and the opportunity to sit down and mull over a blog post diminished greatly.

Pork satay snack…

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Myself excluded, who are some of your favorite food bloggers and why? (I’m taking myself out of the equation, because I don’t want you to feel obliged to name me! haha)

You deserve special mention for your efforts in engaging your audience in my opinion. It’s a good-food community I see you trying to build and I am happy to be a tiny part of that. Your “best” lists are a product of hard work that many people probably do not fully appreciate.

I enjoy the posts of @willcookwilleat. Mainly because he re-ignited my love for har kiao. And partly because us lawyers are proud of fellow lawyers who have left the profession and have made their mark elsewhere (and especially in the realm of good food). That’s perhaps a dream of mine that I will chase someday. A simple bbq joint with 5 items on the menu, some grass and lots of good chili.

@ieatishootipost is class act with sublime and appetizing posts. A food influencer extraordinaire.

Let's hope this works…

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Why do you think there are so few Indian food bloggers in Singapore?

I really do not know. Indian food is quite underrated in Singapore. You have fantastic “atas” options at places like Rang Mahal (super lamb chops…) and the classic options like Samy’s Curry and Jaggi’s. Each Singaporean you speak to will give you their favourite Indian food joints. I accordingly look forward to your “Best Dum Briyani” or “Best Mysore mutton” or “Best Masala Chicken” lists in due course.

An alternative possibility is the inability of many to properly discern the nuances in Indian food. This might be too simplistic an explanation, but one cannot discount how many cannot get pass the “Wah Lau, so hot” moment when the chili hits. And a final theory is that many Indians cast aside commercial options because the best indian food is my mother’s cooking or my grandmother’s cooking.

Okay, that answers one version of your question (ie Indian-food bloggers). The other question is “why so few food bloggers of Indian origin?” (ie Indian food-bloggers). (Paiseh lah, lawyer is like that…)

The final theory I suggested above perhaps stops many Indians from rating commercially available options. Imagine the Indian boy who says this or that shop’s mutton curry is better than his mother’s. The guy will kena jialat. Hahahaha, but I generalise and maybe you should get the feedback from more Indians to get a more balanced picture. This however should not stop Indians from giving their comments on all the other wondrous food options available in Singapore.

Wah…

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What is your favorite eatery (a) in Singapore, and (b) around the world?

Kai Juan Kopitiam at Balestier road (adjacent to Boon Tong Kee). I am a massive fan of Da Lian BCM. Jason the lead chef says it is a fishball noodle, but either way, it rocks. The chilli packs a hefty punch and that for me seals the deal. The har kiao is not the best, but everything presented in that one bowl of magic works so well together for a chili fiend like me. Mee Kia, Jia Lah Jia Chu Jia Liao (no prawns). Best.

To complement this, the YTF at the stall less than a meter away from Da Lian. Go before 11am for all the best pieces. Some may find it a bit salty, but I love the simply crafted pieces (especially the Tao Pok). The perfect starter to the main course of BCM that follows.

Hog Wild at Batu Belig Seminyak Bali. This was formerly Naughty Nuri’s. The quality still remains as is evidenced by our 3 sessions there in December 2015. The pork chop is the star. Moist, charred and accompanied to perfection with the sambal chili combined with kicap manis.

The pork ribs there might have brought many a diner there to begin with, but the pork chop is the dish that keeps me coming back.

And so it begins!

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Putting Kai Juan on my to-eat list. Thank you, Sunil, for taking time out for the interview.  

You may also be interested in interviews with these bloggers and instagrammer:
Jan 2016: Iris Goh’s Easily Satisfied, Hard to Please
Feb 2016: Chef-Blogger Hairil Sukaime’s Eat Food, Live Food
Mar 2016: Ipoh Boy, Ridzuan Khaw @Mr.Duwe

Written by  and Sunil Sudheesan.

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