Celebrity Chow with local host-actor-DJ Dennis Chew

Celebrity Chow with local host-actor-DJ Dennis Chew

To many of Dennis Chew's chums, he is the go-to guy for recommendations on where to grab good eats.

"I'm definitely the food directory among my friends," said the popular host-actor-DJ, 40.

He is best known for playing iconic TV character Aunty Lucy, a giggly, curly-haired, bespectacled middle-aged woman.

"Frankly speaking, I'm a little irritated by them. There are days when I run out of ideas but they still keep pressing me for suggestions.

"They say, 'Never mind, we'll wait. Just let us know.'"

With a sigh, he said: "My friends think I'm an expert because occasionally, I introduce eating places on air.

"The truth is, I'm familiar only with Chinese food. A couple of months back, when I was in Paris for a holiday, I ate at the same Chinese restaurant every day, despite its standard being merely average."

He is not entirely averse to Western fare though.

Over lunch with M last week at American-themed restaurant Buddy Hoagies Cafe & Grill at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, the boyish-faced bachelor ordered his all-time favourites: Pork chops, fish and chips ("Men my age tend to choose this, as you can't go wrong with it... Some items on the menu are a little too inventive,") and a side order of garlic bread.

Fans of Chew's cross-dressing ways can look out for his next gig. In Ah Boys To Men The Musical, which will run from April 18 to 27 at Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa, he will play the nurturing mother of army recruit Ken Chow (Benjamin Kheng).

"Mrs Chow is totally different from Aunty Lucy. She's much prettier," he promised.

What are some local dishes you'd never tyre of eating?

Lor mee is at the top of my list. I love its starchy texture.

Hawker stalls usually serve lor mee with half a braised egg, which is a clever move, because it taps into human temptation, like dangling a carrot in front of you. It makes the egg feel precious. If they served lor mee with a full egg, I won't treasure the egg as much. (Laughs)

There are three places where I love to have my fill of lor mee: Amoy Street Food Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre and a coffee shop along Bukit Purmei Road.

I also love Hokkien mee but I order only from one particular stall - Tian Tian Lai Fried Hokkien Mee at Toa Payoh Lorong 1. The stall owner is my godfather, so I feel a special connection to it.

Chinese rojak is one of my favourites too. I like the stall at Dunman Road Food Centre.

Any restaurants you adore in Singapore?

Good Chance Popiah Eating House at Silat Avenue has, hands down, the best popiah. When you're at the eatery, you wrap your own popiah, so you feel an immense sense of satisfaction. They are very generous with their ingredients as well.

I also like Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant at Paragon a lot. I have to eat there at least once a month.

Do you cook?

Not really. I can do only one dish, apple soup. It's soup with pork ribs, apple and almond, a nice combination of sweet and savoury.

I do it only when I'm in a good mood. Once, I prepared it while I was on Channel 8's cooking show 3-Plus-1 and earned praise from the chef (who was part of the judging panel).

If I had to learn one dish, it'd be Hainanese chicken rice.

It's for a very practical reason - it's the most-loved dish among my local and overseas friends. It would be great if I could master it so that they can try my cooking. I'm the sort who goes all out for my friends.

Any memorable overseas food encounters?

When I was in Paris with my friends, we went to buy macarons at famous French bakery Laduree.

It was so popular the cafe queue's waiting time was 20 minutes and the takeaway queue was 10 minutes.

It was expensive too - though not as expensive as the Singapore branch at Takashimaya. I decided to buy only five macarons, one for each of us. The service staff's attitude was really rude.

After buying the macarons, I headed out of the bakery and complained to my friends: "They're so hao lian (Hokkien for arrogant)!"

Then, I took a bite of my lemon macaron. It was delicious, simply the best thing I've ever tasted. Immediately, I turned to my friends: "Can I go back in again? I'd queue even if the service is bad and I have to wait another 10 minutes."

It was so embarrassing! (Laughs)


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