You would think that with his back-to-back starring roles in Channel 8 football drama World At Your Feet and basketball-themed local movie Meeting The Giant, Ian Fang would be the epitome of a sports buff.
After all, he does look like someone who works out regularly and follows a strict diet to maintain his toned physique.
But as M found out over coffee with the 25-year-old Shanghai-born actor last week at coffee joint Necessary Provisions at Eng Kong Terrace, near Bukit Batok, looks can be deceiving.
"Actually, I'm a pretty lazy guy, I hardly exercise. I eat supper often and usually, it's a lot of food in one sitting," he said.
"For example, I can eat three McDonald's burgers for supper. I guess it's my digestive system... I don't grow fat."
Sipping a glass of iced black coffee and biting into his rosemary chicken sandwich and toast with cashew butter and jam, Fang admitted he is "not a cafe person".
Gesturing at the quaint surroundings, he added that the place would probably have been a better fit "for the likes of (fellow MediaCorp stars) Elvin Ng, Desmond Tan and Rebecca Lim".
"I mean, my image doesn't go with cafes, right?" he said with a laugh.
Fang, who plays optimistic basketballer Xiaodi in Meeting The Giant, Tay Ping Hui's directorial debut now showing here, added that many people have misconceptions of him.
"I give off the vibe of a party animal, but I'm not. I'm a homebody."
Any favourite local foods and hawker haunts?
I love roti prata, wonton mee, prawn noodles and most of all, economic bee hoon with chicken wings and fried egg.
Redhill Market has, hands down, the best economic beehoon stall (in Singapore). I've been frequenting it for so many years, especially when I was living in the Redhill Close area. Now, even though I've moved, I still go back to have my fill of beehoon.
The other stalls there, from carrot cake to curry rice, are fantastic, too.
Where do you take your mum for a nice meal?
If it's with my mum, it's usually to atas (Malay for high-class) restaurants.
I have no qualms splurging on her. Every time we eat out, I foot the bill, even if a single meal costs $500 or $600.
We like going for Korean barbeque at Super Star K at Tanjong Pagar and Japanese barbeque at Ito-Kacho at Mandarin Gallery. My mum also loves Chinese food, so sometimes we go to Chinese restaurants at Ion Orchard.
Do you cook? Any signature dishes?
Of course! I had to learn to be independent from the age of 12.
I can do a number of Shanghai dishes pretty well, such as fried eggs with tomatoes, shredded pork in spicy sweet and sour sauce, and stir-fried shredded potatoes with green peppers.
I do a mean instant noodles too. It's not easy to cook great instant noodles, you know? (Laughs)
Besides Singapore, where are your favourite places in the world for good eats?
At the top of my list is my grandma's house back in Shanghai. Very simple but lovely home-cooked food. Eating there warms my heart every time.
To me, my grandma's food is better than anything served in restaurants.
I must say that Hong Kong and Japan have some of the world's best food. I love the char siew in Hong Kong and the sashimi in Japan.
This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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