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)
Former contributor of RERG, 14K, is now based in Bangkok. When he was back in Singapore recently, I asked, “What do you do in Bangkok in your free time?”
He said, “I stay at home.”
“What?! There are so many things to do in Bangkok! What are you doing at home?”
“I binge-watch Mata Mata on repeat on Toggle.”
“Hahahaha. You really miss Singapore!”
“Mata Mata is really good, you know,” he said.
I replied, “Oh, I follow Cheryl Wee [who acts in Mata Mata] on instagram.”
He squealed, “OMG!!! She’s so prettyyyyyyy! And she is so real!!! You must interview her for your blogger/ig series.”
If you follow Cheryl Wee on her instagram, you’ll know that she’s a foodie. But do you know that she has a personal blog, which talks a lot on food? When I received her replies to my interview questions, I read it with goosebumps. She’s extremely real and down-to-earth and honest. Now, I’ll go watch Mata Mata on Toggle too!
Few people know that the Peranakan veteran Chef Baba Jolly Wee is your grandfather. He ran 20 canteens in his prime, and he is responsible for revitalizing the Peranakan buffet at Concorde hotel. What is it like growing up in a family of foodies?
Firstly, Wow!! It’s refreshing to know that you know about my grandpa. I’m so proud to say I really come from a family of foodies. Not only on my paternal side, but my maternal side too. My grandpa’s a Peranakan Chef and he is so so passionate about food. Till this age of 89, his eyes still light up when he talks about coming up with some food promotions or when he’s cooking for us.
On my maternal side, my popo [grandmother] used to operate a Char Siew Siew Yok stall. And my gong gong’s [grandfather] family was in food business as well. Practically everyone in my family can cook, including chef papa Wee who cooks the only Hokkien mee I eat, and mama who can cook very well.
I’m really, really blessed to be fed well since birth and be exposed to food from different backgrounds such as Peranakan food, Chinese food from different dialects (soups cos my mom is Cantonese, Hakka food from my uncle’s Wife, Asian food that mama is good at…and the list goes on).
It’s really true that a family that eats together stays together. Mama always cooks for our weekly or twice weekly family gatherings, and our family is a close-knit one, and it’s perhaps the good food and family bond that go hand in hand, keeping us close and fulfilled all the time.
The entertainment industry keeps a rigid standard on how a leading actress should look. (OK, Hollywood is more diverse now, but the Asian market hasn’t changed much.) As a young actress, do you feel pressurized to be thin? How do you manage to balance staying slim and your love for food?
I used to think I wouldn’t be one of those who’d get sucked into the whirlpool of the entertainment industry’s standards or what they expect me to be. However, both fortunately and unfortunately, I was. Plus having this immense love for food and eating, it’s an uphill battle.
I got caught up in it and went through a period of a food disorder: starving myself to wanna lose weight quickly while bingeing over weekends, stuffing sugar and chocolate and bread and cakes till my tummy hurt. This escalated while I was alone in Taiwan, especially when the industry’s experts kept telling me I wasn’t thin enough or looked good enough. Fortunately I went through that rough patch and I’m still on the road, and relearning how to really enjoy food and have a healthy relationship with food.
I’ve been trying to find ways and answers on how to quit this yo-yo-ing/overeating habit and recently someone posed an interesting question. “Since you say you love food so much, when you chow down your food so quickly and binge, or even when you eat, do you really know the taste and texture of what you’re eating? Are you really enjoying eating the food itself? Are you really committed to eating well?”
And it hit me that I haven’t been fully committed in the past to eating well or really tasting and enjoying food. That said, exercising and eating moderately are important (haha that’s probably what you’d expect me to say because ultimately we all know that’s how to keep trim, but can’t seem to carry it out).
What I’ve been working on, other than the physical aspect, is really to be more aware of what I’m eating, when I’m eating. And those successful moments that I am aware, I get full burst of flavours and am more selective of what I eat. It’s also a great way to “grow” as a foodie because I’ll be able to expand my taste vocabulary than simply, “nice or not nice.”
Are there plans to combine your love for food with your career? Maybe host a food programme?
Your question is really on point! Haha it’s like you know me already. It’s my childhood dream!! When I was about 7 years old, I’d put out ingredients on our kitchen table and have an imaginary camera and host my own food show. And pretend I’m at some location talking about the food I’m eating. Yeah I would love too!!! In fact I’m in works with a friend to film some YouTube videos on food and wellness. And we’re looking to launch it some time this year. And yes I’d totally wanna do my own food show one day :))
You have been blogging since 2012. I enjoy reading the white matcha cake recipe that you came up with after several trials. And your food reviews show your gentleness and compassion. But you haven’t blogged in 2016! How come?
Awww… thanks for reading my blog. Really started blogging for fun and for the love of food and I love baking too. Now that you remind me, I really should speed up working on my blog. It’s currently under renovation. I wanna improve on the layout, the content and focus on writing about things I love. So yes!!! I’ll be starting soon. Ok I’ll be getting down to doing right now!! *procrastinator caught red handed yikes!!* This is really encouraging though to get me started again.
What is your favorite eatery (a) in Singapore, and (b) around the world?
To many to name!!! In Singapore, Burnt Ends, Mad About Sucre, Hyang-to-Gol Korean BBQ, dim sum at Kai Garden, Angus steakhouse, Waku Ghin, 2nd Mini Steamboat at Novena for the super addictive chilli, Tai Wah Bak Chor Mee at Crawford lane, etc etc!
Around the world: The tempura omakase at Hiraishi Tempura in Osaka is amazingly good. Egg tarts at Tai Cheong bakery in Hong Kong. Chat Thai and Shinji in Sydney. Sola in Paris. Dishoom in London.
Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing with us such intimate details of her life. I identity very strongly with her love of food and wanting to stay healthy. And I’m also putting her food recommendations on my to-go list.
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
Apr 2016: Criminal Lawyer, Sunil Sudheesan
May 2016: Universities’ Dining Clubs, NTU Deli Aprecio Club @NTUDAC and SMU Gourmet Club @SMUGC
Written by A. Nathanael Ho and Cheryl Wee.