Celeb Chow with Chen Yi Xi
When the menu was placed in front of Chen Yi Xi, his eyes lit up. He and his family hardly ever eat this sort of food and he was excited to try it.
Chen, an artist-actor who is better known as the son of veteran actors Edmund Chen and Xiang Yun, sat down with The New Paper at Bugis Junction's Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory & Kogane Yama.
The 26-year-old ordered the Rosemary Chicken, Garlicky Tenders, Topokki and Cheese, Mixed Bowl Rice Set Meal, and a Blue Sky Tok! Tok! cocktail.
After taking a bite of the tenders, he said: "It's crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside with an extra layer of sauce that makes it so flavourful.
"I'm committing an extreme sin right now. My family doesn't really take salt, sugar and fat... But, we must enjoy life, and what is life without all this wonderful food?"
Following in his father's footsteps, who published the colouring book My Little Red Dot series in 2015, Chen is also working on a book, Xi The World.
It features his sketches of Mediacorp at Caldecott Hill when he was working as his mother's personal assistant after graduating from Nanyang Technological University's School of Art, Design and Media last year.
"I have always had the habit of sketching wherever I go, especially during holidays or when I'm waiting in a queue. Then, I was given the opportunity to work with my mother so I was running around Mediacorp.
"The last time I was there, I was about nine or 10 years old, so it brought back a lot of memories. I wanted to record all of these areas as the place was going to close down...
"I made sure to pen down any significant areas to me. The whole experience was very soul-searching," he said.
Chen also got other Mediacorp celebrities to write messages about locations in his book that held significant memories for them.
He particularly loves drawing historical places like Katong or Peranakan shophouses.
"...I love to take down and observe, to live in the moment and at the same time translate it into a different perspective. I think that's a unique approach," he said.
Chen is also making his big-screen debut in Wonder Boys, a biopic about composer Dick Lee that opens here on Aug 3.
The Sam Willows' Benjamin Kheng plays Lee, and Chen plays one of Lee's old band members.
His parents may be two of the biggest names in the industry, but acting was something that he has been putting aside for a long time.
Said Chen: "Honestly, acting was something that I was afraid of as a child as I was more introverted, so I drew a lot.
"I told myself that I already took a step back from it, and at this age I thought I should give myself more opportunities to experience more of the acting field rather than running away.
"Wonder Boys gave me a good stepping stone to dabble in acting and understand it a bit more.
"I've seen how difficult it was for my family, seeing them come back at 2am or 3am when I was a child...
"I just feel that when I choose to do something, I should do go all the way."
Despite their long working hours, Chen's parents still try to make it a point to cook and have dinner as a family.
"My mother cooks well, and I really miss her spaghetti with tomato sauce, where she would use angel hair pasta and put a lot of cheese into it.
"My dad makes a very good chicken mushroom soup, while my younger sister bakes souffles very well.
"I just eat very well," he added, laughing.