Food Wars Asia host loves Singapore's version of Hokkien Mee
She's a Hong Kong citizen but Food Network host Debbie Wong would still pick Singapore's Hokkien mee over Hong Kong's.
"It's a matter of taste. I prefer South-east Asian flavours," she told M.
"I like punchy, spicy food, with sambal in it. I've had Hokkien noodles in Hong Kong but I've got to say I prefer the Singapore version."
Wong was in town last month to film the second season of reality TV food series Food Wars Asia, which pits eateries from countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Two episodes will be dedicated to Singapore eateries battling it out over chicken rice and Hokkien mee.
The series will premier over Food Network (StarHub TV Ch 433) on Jan 11 at 10pm.
Wong became one of Food Network's new faces to watch when she was one of two winners of reality TV cooking competition Food Hero Asia this year. The other winner was Malaysia's Ili Sulaiman.
Born in Hong Kong, Wong, who is in her 30s, grew up in Canada and is now based in Hong Kong.
She currently hosts Food Network's original web series Kitchen Quickies, introducing recipes for people on-the-go, and has hosted her own web series Wok and Gong since 2011.
Armed with a degree in fine arts from the University of British Columbia and a diploma in performing arts from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Wong is certainly no stranger to the limelight.
What's it been like filming Food Wars Asia in Singapore?
It's been great. There's been a lot of good, exciting food.
I really like Singaporeans, they're an interesting breed. Singapore is an immigrant country of Asians and I can't think of another Asian city that is so ethnically diverse.
I've really enjoyed walking around places like Chinatown, taking it all in.
What are some of your favourite dishes here?
Chilli crab, laksa and nasi padang - those are really good. I love how you can find Chinese, Indian and Malay food here.
That said, I do enjoy diversity, too. I had Mexican food last night.
What was it like growing up in Canada?
I consider myself a complete mishmash. It'd be weird to say I'm Chinese-Canadian because I feel like a child of the world.
I grew up in Vancouver, which has a large immigrant population from Hong Kong, so I'm familiar with the food. But as a child, I never really visited Hong Kong, so now that I'm living there, I feel like I'm rediscovering my roots.
The food I miss from Canada is mainly sockeye salmon, which is orange-red and has no fat but is very tender. It's so different from the orange salmon you usually find elsewhere. And of course, pure maple syrup, croissants and coffee.
What are you most likely to cook when you're at home?
My go-to meal is always pasta because I can whip up a sauce in a pan very quickly.
It's usually a red puttanesca sauce, made with anchovies, chilli and tinned tomatoes, which I always have in my kitchen. I cook most of the time and my husband, whom I've been married to for five years, usually helps with the dishes.
Do you indulge in junk food?
Of course. I'm a fan of salt-and-vinegar chips. I'm exactly the opposite of a food snob.
I just appreciate food that's been done well, even if it's not the most expensive.