No shark fin soup for Tay Kewei's traditional Chinese wedding
Eating out is a relatively fuss-free experience for Tay Kewei and her beau.
The 31-year-old local singer, whose boyfriend is Project SuperStar's newly-crowned champion Alfred Sim, said the couple are simple folk when it comes to curbing hunger pangs.
"Neither of us are fussy," said Tay over dinner with M last Friday at Hard Rock Cafe at Resorts World Sentosa.
"The only difference is that I am consistently conscious of what I eat and I prefer an clean diet overall, whereas he is more 'extreme'.
"On some days, he will monitor what he eats, whereas on other days, he will pig out on deep-fried stuff."
Tay, who has three studio albums under her belt, including her full-length Mandarin effort Turn Back And Smile, said she is still reeling over the recent closure of the couple's favourite restaurant.
"We loved to go to B@Rochester at Rochester Park, which serves fusion Western-Japanese cuisine. I just found out it has shut," she said with a sigh. "It's very upsetting."
As she tucked into a sumptuous spread of Cobb salad, barbecued ribs and macaroni and cheese, Tay spoke about the latest milestone in her current career upswing - being the composer and voice behind Channel 5's new theme song, Good To Be Home.
"It was difficult coming up with the lyrics, as it was the first time I had to write for a specific brand," she explained. "Plus, Channel 5 is a brand most of us are so familiar with. I spent a lot of time working on it."
When Sim won Project SuperStar last month, you must have been the happiest woman in the audience. How long have you two been dating? Do you mind that your relationship is out in the open?
I can only say that it's been many years. (Smiles)
All along, I've seen him as a superstar. He is a really good singer, he just didn't have the platform to show off his talent. It's great that everyone knows it now.
We are very open about our relationship.
In the past, we didn't mention it, not because we wanted to hide it, but because Alfred wasn't a public personality then.
Throughout the competition, he downplayed our romance because he wanted to go as far as he could without dropping names.
Any favourite restaurants that you'd go for a lovely date?
Besides B@Rochester, we like hanging out at cafes. There's one, Loysel's Toy at Kampong Bugis, which we go to pretty often.
Who's the better chef between the two of you?
I don't know how to cook. (Laughs.)
I hope to develop an interest in it some day. Right now though, I think it takes too much time.
Alfred is more interested in cooking than me. His cooking skills aren't fantastic too, but he likes to experiment and use his intuition to mix the ingredients.
Once, we tried cooking a Thai dish - basil chicken - for fun. He didn't even look at any recipe. He just went ahead to mince the chicken, everything else he agak agak (Malay for estimate).
Another time, we tried doing steak using a HappyCall pan. Thankfully, it turned out okay.
Have you thought about your dream wedding? Would it be Chinese-style, or a destination wedding?
Probably not destination wedding. It's logistically difficult.
I would opt for an indoor traditional Chinese-style wedding, as I believe my parents are still more comfortable with that.
I once casually asked my mum how she'd feel if I were to do a beach wedding. She simply replied: "Your father will feel very hot."
Also, no shark's fin soup on the menu. I'm part of the Shark Savers' I'm Finished With Fins campaign.
Any memorable overseas food encounters?
I travel frequently to China for work and I've eaten quite a number of exotic things there, including pig's brain and Lai Liu Ha (Cantonese for mantis shrimp).
The latter dish is mala-flavoured and the shrimp comes in a mountain. You have to wear plastic gloves and peel them open to eat. Very delicious!
Earlier this year, I recorded a jazz album in Tokyo. Japan is filled with surprises. We went to Gonpachi, the famous eatery that inspired Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman's fight scene in Kill Bill: Vol 1.
It had a nice, bustling old-school feel and I remember we had so many dishes, including yakitori (grilled skewered items) and gindara (sablefish). Everything was amazing.