Celebrity Chow with local rapper Shigga Shay

Shigga Shay may play a humble kopitiam boy in Royston Tan's musical movie 3688, but he sure doesn't mind shelling out for gourmet food.

"Steak is probably in my top five list of favourite food," the 23-year-old local rapper-actor told M. "And I also love foie gras, ramen and sushi."

But Shigga is quick to add that it isn't just about expensive foreign food.

"I love local food too, like zi char. My usual order is rice with kang kong, har cheong kai (prawn paste chicken) and an omelette."

We are at Shigga's favourite kopitiam, Holland Village Food Court, nicknamed the "Pepsi" kopitiam because of the prominent display of the soft drink's logo out front.

"I grew up in the Queenstown area, so Holland Village is my regular hangout," he said.

For 3688, which is showing here, Shigga composed the catchy theme song Tapau, which has him rapping in a mixture of Mandarin, Hokkien and English and namedropping local drinks like bandung, Milo dinosaur and teh-o in the chorus.

But his favourite beverage is actually kopi peng (iced coffee).

"It's great when I need a little recharge. I like teh as well, but kopi gives me that kick," he said.

Shigga went on to order his usual favourites: A medium-rare prime ribeye steak with vegetables and french fries from Char Grill Bar and butter naan with mutton curry from Pepper Castle.

"I really like the steak here and the fries are pretty good, too. If I am here with my friends, we get the curry and naan because they are easy to share."

Since you play a kopitiam boy in 3688, have you any experience as a waiter?

I haven't been a waiter, but one of the part-time jobs I had when I was younger was being a "barbecue boy". I would go to private barbecues and assist the chef in grilling meat. It was fun, but I don't really consider myself able to cook a real meal. All I can cook is instant noodles.

Do you get recognised at coffee shops more often after 3688 came out?

I do get recognised a little more. A lot of times, people just stare... sometimes, people will come up to me and try to do the Tapau rap.

What do you like to eat when you are at home?

Well, my mum is the one who cooks for me most of the time. I like the simple dishes she makes, like brown rice with grilled salmon.

What is the most expensive meal you have ever ordered?

It was probably a Wagyu steak at Bedrock Bar & Grill that cost around $200. It was a really big plate. But that was just a one-time treat, because I was celebrating a friend's birthday.

Where would you take a girl for a romantic date?

Well, I am single now. It really depends on whether we are going for a fancy dinner or just a casual date. A good steak is always a classic, so I would pick Bedrock Bar & Grill for that. Or Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant at Jalan Besar - they have the best dimsum. I feel that for dates, though, it is not so much about the food but about the company.


This article was first published on October 07, 2015.
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