Suhaimi Yusof loves sushi so much that during Hari Raya - two years in a row - he served family and friends the Japanese delicacy instead of the traditional ketupat.
"I wanted to try something new. After all, it can get very boring, eating ketupat at every house you visit," said the jovial 45-year-old comedian.
"Unfortunately, my guests didn't take to it well. With the exception of one fella who had visited Japan before, nobody touched my sushi.
"I was upset until I realised its unpopularity meant I could finish all the sushi I made by myself!"
As you can tell, Suhaimi - who plays "mat rock" field reporter Jojo Joget on Channel 5's satirical skit show The Noose -is obsessed with his California rolls and futomaki.
Over lunch with M last week at Carousel restaurant at Royal Plaza on Scotts, where he indulged in a sumptuous international buffet spread that included mouth-watering seafood delights like mussels and clams, the father of three teenagers said he is skilled in the art of sushi-making.
"Several years ago, I got some experts to teach me so that I could make sushi at home. That was back in the days when halal-certified sushi eateries were hard to find in Singapore," explained the Fly Entertainment artiste.
"Now, I can make my own mix of vinegar and cook the fragrant Japanese rice from scratch. I even own a bamboo rolling mat to roll sushi. Unbelievable right?"
Besides sushi, what else do you never tire of eating?
I love this East Javanese dish called nasi rawon, which is rice smothered with a beef buah keluak stew.
The first time you see it, you'd be surprised - the gravy is black.
What halal restaurants and food stalls would you recommend?
I hosted food variety programmes on Malay television for eight years, so naturally, I became close friends with some F&B bosses.
There are a few whose businesses really grew. Like Evertop Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, which started out as a tiny chicken rice stall at Tanglin Halt.
After trying Evertop's chicken rice, I told myself I'd never eat chicken rice elsewhere again. The rice is so good it can be eaten on its own!
For authentic Javanese nasi rawon, Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang at Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre never fails me. It's the Academy Award winner of nasi rawon.
Tang Tea House serves delicious halal dim sum and probably comes closest to the taste of original dim sum.
Do you have any memorable food encounters to share?
I had the best seafood in Cape Town, South Africa, and the best kebabs on the outskirts of Istanbul, Turkey.
When it comes to food, I'm quite adventurous. In South Korea, I decided that I wanted to eat as the locals do. So instead of eating with our tour group, I ate with our bus driver.
Once, I led a tour group to Yunnan, China. Our mainland Chinese-Muslim friends hosted a dinner for us and served one of their most famous delicacies, a duck dish, not knowing that most of our Singapore makciks (Malay for aunties) don't fancy duck.
In the end, I finished all the duck on our tables!
Do you allow your children to cook?
Allow? They MUST (laughs).
Every Sunday, which is my maid's day off, our whole family cooks together.
My kids either pick a dish from my wife's recipe books, or they Google a dish they like and all of us prepare it.
It's fun and they are able to put their home economics skills to use.
My youngest son came home from school the other day, proudly showing us the cookies he baked during class.
I said, "Good! Now, you can bake for us every week".
This article was published on April 23 in The New Paper.
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