Hossan Leong says rojak best represents history of S'pore food culture
Celebrity Chow with veteran local comedian Hossan Leong
Local comedian, host and entrepreneur Hossan Leong is set to tickle our funnybones in new cabaret revue Dim Sum Dollies - The History of Singapore Part 1.
The youthful-looking 45-year-old picked dishes he thought best represent the history of our local food culture.
Over lunch with M last Thursday at mezza9 restaurant at Grand Hyatt Singapore, Leong shook his head when this reporter suggested the chilli crab.
"I don't think so. If you're allergic to seafood, how to eat?" he mused.
"Rojak would be my choice. It's a very nice melange of the different sort of tastes we have.
"All races in Singapore can enjoy rojak. It doesn't have pork or beef.
"It's a problem only if you are allergic to nuts."
Leong, who runs entertainment company Double Confirm Productions, added: "Rojak is perfect! It should be Singapore's racial harmony dish.
"I can write a theme song for it.
"Rojak has been a side dish for way too long. Plus, all of us Singaporeans are 'rojak' (mishmash) and proudly so."
Dim Sum Dollies - The History of Singapore Part 1, will run at the Esplanade Theatre from June 5 to 21.
"This production was first staged in 2007 and the crowd loved it."
Steamed garoupa, lobster noodles, sashimi, lamb shank and Pinot Noir. It's a spread we have here!
My partner and I always come here for the wide variety of food, from Thai to Japanese to Western. There's also a dessert station.
The martini bar at mezza9 has amazing cocktails, too.
My favourite dish is the steamed garoupa. When I'm feeling under the weather, I come here and order just the fish.
As the male lead of the upcoming Dim Sum Dollies show, are you a huge fan of dim sum?
I'm Cantonese and a typical dim sum fella.
Without even flipping the menu, I'd order har gow (shrimp dumplings), siew mai (chicken dumplings), cheong fun, pork ribs, chicken feet and char siew sou (baked barbecued pork pastry). I must also get my century egg porridge.
I try to eat dim sum once a week.
If I want to pamper myself and give my parents a treat, we go to Yan Ting at The St. Regis Singapore.
On a normal day, I like The Cathay Restaurant.
If I wake up early, I'd go to Red Star Restaurant at Chin Swee Road.
How would you describe the three Dim Sum Dollies actresses (Selena Tan, Pam Oei and Denise Tan) as dim sum dishes?
Selena is really a dai bao (Cantonese for big bun) because she likes to "bao ga liao" (Hokkien for doing everything herself). Pam is xiao long bao (Chinese pork dumpling) because like xiao long bao, she is small and hot. Denise is the sweet lotus paste bao.
How can you eat so much and not put on weight?
It's in my genes. But I've noticed that as I grow older, my metabolism has started to slow down.
A few years ago, I put on weight - on my tummy and nowhere else. I could feel the flab around my tummy, which was soft and loose, it was horrible! I was a "skinny fat man".
Do you cook? What are your signature dishes?
Back in the old days, in our little HDB flat, mum made me stand beside her whenever she cooked. Dad can't cook and my brother is five years younger than me. So, mum would grab me and say, 'You better look at what I'm doing carefully because if something happens to me, you have to cook!'
I learnt to cook almost everything - Chinese, Italian, Japanese, French.
My signature dish is geong cong ngau yuk (Cantonese for beef with ginger and spring onions).
The only thing I can't do is bake because I didn't grow up with an oven.