Before they got married, supper was a twice-weekly affair for Cheryl and Soon Hong. It’s not surprising that they bonded over food, considering how well their palates are aligned. Their favourite post-party meals include Teochew porridge, bak kut teh (pork rib soup) and other local fare, and they also share a love for Japanese, Italian and Peranakan cuisine. Although they don’t have as much time to eat out these days now that kids are in the picture, they still make time to check out the newest speakeasies or dine at their favourite zi char joints with their friends.
What is the one dish you can’t live without?
Cheryl: Sup tulang (mutton bone soup)! I usually buy two versions of it from different stalls at Newton Food Centre at the same time. Faizur Famous Muslim Food sells the classic reddish-brown salty-sweet variety with a rich and aromatic broth, while Al-Amin Indian Muslim Food does one with an umami-rich turmeric gravy.
What were some of dishes you loved when you were growing up?
Soon Hong: My grandmother’s mee siam and Peranakan dishes, which had such fresh flavours. She was an amazing cook. Sadly, she didn’t pass on her recipes to the next generation before she passed away.
What are some favourite supper haunts?
Soon Hong: Of late, I’ve been gravitating towards Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh at Geylang, which serves up caramelised bite-sized pork ribs cooked in claypot, seasoned with herbs, dried chilli and generous shreds of dried cuttlefish. The last lends the dish savoury depth and an addictive flavour.
What is one local dish you miss when you’re abroad?
Cheryl: I don’t miss a particular dish, but I find myself craving local flavours such as rempah (a spice mix used in dishes such as beef rendang).
Soon Hong: For me, it has to be one-dish wonders such as wonton noodles or nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk and served with an assortment of ingredients).
Are there any foods that you didn’t like as a child that you now appreciate?
Cheryl: None. I was brought up in a family of foodies and was encouraged to try everything at least once.
Soon Hong: I’m not fond of offal in general, although I don’t mind the occasional pig intestines with my kway chap. Being with Cheryl has encouraged me to be more adventurous, especially when we travel!
Who are some people you enjoy dining with?
Cheryl: My family, because they’re true-blue foodies. Next on the list is Caroline Low-Heah, because she enjoys hosting and prepares the most delicious home-cooked meals. I think of her as the local Julia Child. Then there are the members of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society that both my father and husband are part of – it always organises amazing epicurean events throughout the year. And I love that friends such as Lynn Yeow-De Vito and Chan Kwai Sum are always sharing their culinary recommendations and making bookings on our behalf!
Art Direction: Audrey Chan
Photography: Micky Wong
Hair: Sean Ang, using IGK