US brothers behind music video about local food have never been here

US brothers behind music video about local food have never been here

They have never stepped foot in Singapore.

But that hasn't stopped American brothers David and Andrew Fung, 27 and 26, from making a video about our local cuisine that has gone viral.

In the video, titled Singapore & Malaysia, the brothers sing and rap about Hainanese chicken rice, satay, nasi lemak, char kway teow (they pronounce it as "char kuai tew"), roti prata, laksa and curry chicken, and it has garnered about 224,000 views on their YouTube page since it was uploaded last Monday.

The duo, who call themselves The Fung Bros, collaborated on the video with a US distributor of Singapore-based food company Ayam Brand.

"Any time we get to talk about different cultures in a positive way while still talking about real things - it's amazing," David told The New Paper in an e-mail interview.

Born in the United States to immigrant parents - their father was from Hong Kong and their mother from Shandong, China - the brothers grew up in Seattle, but now live in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County.

Since starting their YouTube channel, FungBrosComedy, three years ago, they now have close to 323,600 subscribers.

The brothers used to be part-time retail assistants, but their comedy careers have become successful enough that their "day jobs" now include doing stand-up comedy, hosting, rapping and producing videos for their channel.

DID RESEARCH

For the "Singapore & Malaysia" video, the brothers reworked the lyrics of famous songs like Classic by MKTO and Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo and said they had to do a lot of research about the food.

The video starts in a classroom, where students are giving a presentation on the two countries.

In it, the brothers rap: "Do ya like to eat curry with coconut milk? Maybe laksa or roti prata, or a plate of char kway teow."

Apart from food, the duo also give a quick lesson about the culture and rules in Singapore.

One sample lyric goes: "Wanna know the truth about Singapore? You can chew gum but you can't import. Plus don't litter or spit it out, cuz there's a whole lot of fines to be given out."

The second part of the video has their "mother", played by actress Cici Lau, dancing along with them as they sing about their favourite Asian dish, curry. They replace the original line, "talk dirty to me", with "Cook curry for me".

David said that making the video has made them want to visit Singapore even more.

"We haven't gotten the chance to go to Singapore yet, but we definitely want to. So people should bring us out.

"We've got a lot of good YouTube friends over there like Ryan Tan from Night Owl Cinematics in Singapore and JinnyBoyTV from Malaysia," he said.

Growing up, the brothers had to help out in the kitchen.

David said: "Momma Fung definitely made us take an apprenticeship in the kitchen and my favourite thing to make with her was chicken curry.

"There's so many different ways to flip curry - that's why you gotta 'Cook Curry For Me'," he said.

In a post on its Facebook page, Ayam Brand said that it gave the brothers consent to do the video, which features actors using its products to make the dishes "because the musical pays tribute to Malaysian and Singaporean Food Heritage and Culinary Traditions. It also places both countries on the map for many Americans."

Student Navin Pillay, 19, said that he liked the video for its creative and innovative way of portraying Singapore and Malaysia.

"It is also very relatable as the music is from popular songs and the comedic element is something everyone can appreciate," he said.


This article was first published on July 22, 2014.
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