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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Yummy, it’s Ben, Kevin and Charmaine!

Ben Yeo’s a hawker food connoisseur; Hong Kong TVB artiste Kevin Cheng swears by cheese crab and starlet Charmaine Sheh teaches you how to avoid getting foul breath after eating smelly tofu!

For the discerning Singapore TV viewer, Channel U’s new drama Food For Life (Chinese title: Yummy Yummy) will strike a chord not just with its food theme but also with its young stars. Featuring familiar Hong Kong TVB faces like Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Lam, Kevin Cheung and Tavia Yeung, it also features local artistes Ben Yeo, Lynn Poh and Michelle Chia.

The drama chronicles the lives and friendships of a group of youngsters from their participation in a food competition to struggles with the many hurdles in life, and airs every Wednesday to Friday from October 5, 10pm on Channel U.

Two of the Hong Kong stars, Charmaine and Kevin, came to Singapore last week for promotion and we sat the two of them down with Ben for a chit-chat.

What’s yummy in Singapore?

Charmaine: I like laksa; I even managed three bowls in one day! And pepper crabs; I can finish one crab on my own easily; satay, pandan cake and Hainanese chicken rice.

Kevin: Ben brought me to try out food that he likes. The crab mee sua and cheese crab are fantastic; I’ll have them again next time. Hong Kong doesn’t have roti prata with sugar too.

Ben: There are too many yummy food in Singapore! Personally I love hawker food, like fried Hokkien mee, fried carrot cake, fried kway teow, barbeque stingray, barbeque chicken wings… basically all except prawns, very ‘fishy’ fish and beef which I had too much of in the past.

Ben, what did you miss when you were in Hong Kong?
All the local hawker food like fried carrot cake, fried kway teow and fried Hokkien mee! These are food that you can only find in Singapore. Even if you can find it in Hong Kong, the flavour isn’t he same; like their Hainanese chicken rice is different from ours.

What’s yummy in Hong Kong?
Charmaine Sheh: I like road-side tidbits like gai dan zai (egg-shaped waffles) and chou tofu (smelly deep-fried tofu). Although it’s very smelly, it’s still very delicious!

(Any tip from a local on how to remove the pungent bad breath?)

There will be sacrifices in whatever we do. You can try chewing gum, even though that’s useless as well. Don’t eat the tofu in the morning, because then you’ll have bad breath for the rest of the day! Take it at night before you go to bed; the smell will be gone when morning comes.

Kevin Cheng: Tourists must try the wanton noodles and the seafood at Bi Feng Tang; it’s spicy and has a very Hong Kong-Cantonese flavour… quite suitable for the Singaporean palate.

Ben Yeo: We went to a tea café in Tsimshatsui after filming and the bo lo yau (a local pineapple bun with butter inside) was so huge! It’s different from and much better than the others that I had. Kevin was shocked because the locals don’t like butter but I love it. I always slather on thick layers of butter on my bread. He’ll wonder why I don’t get fat. Haha, what to do, I have good genes!”

What’s the yummiest food you tasted while filming this drama?
Ben: When we were in a national forest in Zhuhai, a restaurant there serves really delicious mud-wrapped chicken. But then, we had that everyday for six days and got sick of it. We had to cook the dish during the show too.

Kevin: The best food was abalone but I didn’t get to eat it! I was supposed to, but Tavia wanted to eat abalone so I let her have the chance instead…little girls.

Who’s the yummiest guy/girl in the cast?
Charmaine: (giving us a bewildered look before answering) All the guys are good-looking, but for me, the yummiest would be Kevin because he’s my age and more suitable for me; the rest of the guys are younger than me!

Kevin: Hahah! All are quite yummy. I’ve worked with Charmaine twice before, both were happy experiences. Tavia’s a cute little girl, like a younger sister.

Ben: All the girls are yummy of course! They are attractive in different ways, like Charmaine is very cool but sweet as well. If you don’t know her, she’ll be cool and quiet, but if you’re friends with her, she’s another person altogether. Tavia looks blur but she can be quite crazy too. She’s like a girl-next-door.

What yummy characteristics do you look for in your partner?
Charmaine: He should be optimistic, likes to laugh and can make me laugh and loves me!

Kevin: Her character must first be yummy. I prefer girls who are easy-natured, a little child-like, cheerful, independent, don’t have a temper and of course we must get along well.

Ben, what’s yummy about your wife?
She loves me a lot, and dotes on me. She’ll take care of me and do the household chores. She’s very thoughtful too; she’ll think what to cook for me and leave little notes for me. When I reached Hong Kong and unzipped my luggage, I saw a small card from her. Thinking that was all, I opened my pencil case and found another note. Then I took out my shaver and there was another note there too! This is the first time any woman has done this for me, so I thought I must have married the right woman!

Give us two reasons to watch Food For Life.
Charmaine: Firstly, because I’m in it. Secondly, it’s really a good show. This is the first time I’m working with Singapore actors and I find it very refreshing. The audience will probably welcome it too as this is the first time there’s a collaboration between actors of the two countries. The drama was filmed in Hong Kong, Singapore and Zhuhai, China, and all three cities are very beautiful, so you must all watch!

Kevin: I’m in it and maybe you’ll learn how to cook!

Ben: It’s the first time so many Singaporean actors are working with Hong Kong actors. People may think we are very different but the feedback so far is quite food. Our characters play a part too; from strangers to being close friends after spending a lot of time together. I still keep in contact with Kevin, Tavia, Raymond Lam and the crew members.

(At this point, I noticed Ben’s eyes had suddenly turned misty and reddish!)

No lah, where got.

Are you sure?
Maybe it’s because I place a lot of emphasis on relationships. I get sentimental when I talk about my family and close friends.

p.s. Special credit to Qingwa for providing the link

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