Celeb Chow: Nicole Chen misses local breakfast fare when overseas
For a globetrotter like Nicole Chen, home is still where the heart is, especially when it comes to enjoying comfort food.
The 28-year-old model-DJ has spun at clubs and events all over the world, but still counts waking up to a hearty breakfast of kaya toast and eggs one of her favourite things in life.
"If I'm back in Singapore, I usually wake up around noon," she told M over lunch at The Exchange, a restaurant at Asia Square Tower One.
"I have a cup of tea and my mum makes me soft-boiled eggs and kaya toast, kind of like Ya Kun's (the coffee stall chain).
"It's the best. Whenever I'm working overseas, this is what I miss most about Singapore."
Tucking into a delectable spread of turkey, soup, and hazelnut praline, Chen said she travels up to eight times a month during busy periods.
The year-end period is when her schedule finally slows down. Her upcoming big gig is countdown fiesta Celebrate With The World on Dec 31, at The Promontory at Marina Bay, which will also feature performances by local artistes Sheikh Haikel, Juz-B and Nic Lee.
Tickets from $10 are available from the official site www.celebratewiththeworld.com.
"This year, I've spun at huge outdoor electronic dance festivals like Ultra Japan and Ultra Korea, where there were more than 100,000 people in the audience," she recalled.
"The ambience was lively and energetic.
"I've always wanted to participate in a festival in Singapore, so when Celebrate With The World presented me with this opportunity, I jumped at it."
What local food or hawker fare do you miss when you've overseas?
Carrot cake and black pepper crabs. Also, my dad likes to take us to a claypot rice joint in Geylang. It's delicious.
You are used to pulling all-nighters. Do you try to eat healthy to counter your topsy-turvy lifestyle?
Yes, I started a tea detox diet recently. I also take vitamin pills regularly. Working in the nightlife industry, I drink a lot of alcohol, so it's important that I detox from time to time to cleanse my system. It's effective. I don't feel as lethargic as before.
I plan to start on a six-day juice detox programme soon.
Are you a good drinker?
Yes. (Smiles) I've always enjoyed partying, even before I became a DJ. But when I'm working, I try to limit myself to one glass.
Where would you take your family for a nice meal in Singapore?
Japanese food is at the top of my list. I like Chotto Matte on Blair Road. It has an amazing omakase menu.
Shinji by Kanesaka at Raffles Hotel is good too, but it's very expensive. (Laughs) I can only go there once in a while.
My all-time favourite food is uni (Japanese for sea urchin). It's healthy and high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Where would you go for a romantic date in Singapore?
Stellar at 1-Altitude, Ku De Ta at Marina Bay Sands' SkyPark and ME@OUE. Paris Hilton deejayed at Me@OUE once, and I was there to catch her set. I like rooftop bars as they provide a fantastic view of the city.
Which cities have you spun at? Any memorable food experiences?
I've spun in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, New York, New Delhi and several Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
I like the food in New Delhi. I got to try so many different types of curry. China has become my favourite country to play in. The Chinese are extremely hospitable people. When they treat you to dinner, they bring out not 10, but 20 to 30 dishes! The cuisine is really varied too.