Celebrity chow with Jade Seah

Some say that the key to a good marriage is give-and-take and making compromises.

Local actress-host Jade Seah, 31, will be tying the knot with her sweetheart in January and she knows all too well that compromise applies to one's dining choices too.

"My fiance and I don't have the same favourite foods," she said over lunch with M at Japanese restaurant Shirokiya at Chijmes.

"I adore soup and steamboat, especially mala hotpot with all the pork belly and beef inside. I (wouldn't) mind having that every day.

"He, on the other hand, has a heavier palate and loves stuff like murtabak and nasi briyani."

With a laugh, the slender 1.72m-tall beauty added: "It's odd. I actually grew up eating a lot of Indian food with my mum's side of the family (her mother is Eurasian), but somehow, I prefer my food lighter."

But Seah explained that things are not always so divided.

"He's sweet, though, he usually gives in to me. But the minute he's alone with his friends, he'll have chicken rice and nasi lemak, one of those heavy things."

Given how much of a steamboat fan Seah is, it seems fitting that we were enjoying a hearty hotpot in chicken and collagen stock, served with side dishes of cold tofu and mackerel.

Seah described herself as a "very fussy eater", but she still loves her food and cannot understand people who have no culinary interest. She recalled a recent baffling dining experience with the "most un-foodie person I ever met".

"I was like, 'What do you want to have?' and she didn't seem to care. She was totally uninterested in food. I won't say I am a huge foodie, but I am picky about what I consume. You can say I live to eat."

Your big day is just a few months away. Do you foresee yourself going on a pre-wedding diet?

Not really. I'm quite happy with my size now. I work out five times a week - it's been part of my lifestyle for a long while. I'd probably just maintain my current weight. I wouldn't look nice in photos if I'm too thin!

Are you particular about the quality of food at your wedding?

It has to be good enough for my guests, that's for sure. My wedding dinner banquet will be roundtable Chinese-style. I'm traditional in that sense... And also because I like Chinese food. (Laughs)

As for my wedding lunch reception, it'll be an international buffet with something for everybody.

Where do you and your beau go for a nice meal?

It's embarrassing. Due to my immense love for mala hotpot, we always choose Hai Di Lao, a restaurant chain from Sichuan with outlets at Clarke Quay and 313 @ Somerset, and Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant. We go there A LOT.

Of late, my fiance has been limiting our mala hotpot sessions to once a week. Unlike me, he doesn't like to eat the same thing every day.

Do you or your fiance cook? Any signature dishes?

Neither of us is a cook. Our kitchen has been utilised less than five times. (Laughs) And most of the "cooking" we do is pouring milk into cereal, boiling water, or cooking instant noodles. That's about it.

I'm not interested in cooking. I don't get the joy from it like some of my family and friends do. It's a lot of work and it's so hot. It's much more enjoyable to just head out and dine.

We've both tried to cook for each other on special occasions, but we don't love it enough to make it a regular affair.

Do you and your fiance have memorable overseas food encounters to share?

We just came back from Tokyo where we went to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Omotesando. The food is Western with a Japanese twist. Everything is kept clean and simple, ingredients and flavours are fresh.

The star of the show was the steak, it was fantastic. Plus it's sliced up, so you don't have to cut.

The place is pretty unique, too. We were taken into another room for dessert.

Another winner for me would be Bouley in Tribeca, New York. You almost feel like you're dining in someone's house, as there is a fireplace in the restaurant. The reception area had a whole wall of green apples.

I like presentation and I'm the sort who notices decor and details.


This article was first published on Sep 10, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.