Celeb Chow: Hallyu fanatic Julian Hee's hot for Korean BBQ
Mr Manhunt Singapore 2002 Julian Hee is a hardcore fan of Korean pop culture.
The 36-year-old actor told M over lunch last Friday: “Who can resist the Korean TV programmes?
“I love the (variety show) Running Man. The hosts are always attempting quirky, weird antics.”
Hee has also fallen in love with Korean cuisine.
“I like Korean barbecue dishes best. And the food here is as authentic as those in Seoul,” he said of Suntec City’s Kimchi Korean Restaurant, an eatery owned by Hee’s younger brother Haden.
“Haden and I are thinking of setting up a traditional French food eatery. We are still in the planning stages.
“In Singapore, there is too much French fusion fare, too much use of reduction and foam.”
Hee is starring in upcoming local R21 sex comedy, Rubbers, which opens here on April 30. He plays a plumber who is unwittingly seduced by a desperate and single career woman (Yeo Yann Yann).
“Filming was fun,” said Hee.
“Everyone in the cast got to be sexy in the movie except me — I didn’t even get to go topless.
“If given the chance, I would like to play Yann Yann’s role. It’s definitely more challenging.”
You’ve ordered ginseng chicken soup, kimchi tofu soup and hot plate beef. Are these your favourite dishes?
Yes. My favourite dish here is the beef. If I’m in a healthy mood, the ginseng chicken soup is perfect.
I like cooking at home but I usually whip up Western or local food. I come here for my Korean fix.
You took a break from showbiz. What have you been busy with other than working on your F&B business plans?
I travel a lot, too much, in fact.
I snowboard in France. I kitesurf in Aceh and Mauritius. Next week, I’m going kitesurfing in Phuket.
I’ve been diabetic since I was 13. I carry an insulin pump and inject myself four times a day. Maybe that’s why I feel that life is short and has to be enjoyed.
I still like acting. If a great script comes along, I’d beg for it.
You’re an avid cook. What are some of your signature dishes?
My kitchen is where I experiment. I like to try out different dishes.
I make a mean lasagne. I also like to do Asian stew dishes like beef rendang.
I like pounding my own spices, mixing and grinding everything from scratch.
I can do sinful local hawker dishes like char kway teow, laksa and chicken rice too. They aren’t too difficult.
Baking is more of a challenge. It’s not my forte. You have to be a lot more precise when it comes to baking. It’s like chemistry. Unlike cooking, I can’t rely on my intuition in baking.
What are your favourite restaurants in Singapore?
For a nice Chinese meal with my family, we’d go to Shang Palace at Shangri- La Hotel.
For a restaurant with fantastic ambience for a romantic date, my choice would be Jaan at Swissotel The Stamford. It serves modern French cuisine and the view is breathtaking.
Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands is lovely, too. Its Botan shrimp with uni (sea urchin) is one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted.
Have you put on weight over the last four years?
Yes I have. How am I supposed to lose weight when there is such good food?
As I age, I’ve stopped placing so much emphasis and importance on looks.
When I was younger, I hated the gym but I would still go regularly for vanity’s sake. I haven’t stepped foot in the gym for two years now. I prefer outdoor activities like tennis and snowboarding.
Were you pressured into losing weight for your role in Rubbers?
I didn’t feel any pressure to shed the pounds for Rubbers. I play a plumber, so I don’t think it’s realistic if my character looks too toned and hunky.