Celebrity Chow with local singer-songwriter Gentle Bones

Local singer-songwriter Gentle Bones is a fan of Japanese cuisine and he will whip up Japanese dishes at home.

"I love Japanese food, not just the usual sushi, sashimi and ramen, but also Japanese snacks and tidbits," said the 21-year-old musician, whose real name is Joel Tan.

"My mum stocks up a lot of mentaiko (spicy pollock roe) in our freezer. I'd mash that up with rice and make my own chirashi bowls."

He added: "I'd love to visit the fish markets in Japan one day. I've been to Tokyo and Osaka, but I didn't have time to check out those places."

M met Tan for lunch yesterday at Men-ichi Japanese Ramen at Jurong Point Shopping Centre, a stone's throw from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where Tan is a first-year undergraduate at Nanyang Business School.

Men-ichi Japanese Ramen is part of the mall's colourful, vibrant Shokutsu Ten food street.

Perhaps it won't be long before Tan starts travelling to Japan for work.

His latest single, Sixty Five, hit the top of the iTunes Singapore chart within 24 hours of its release last month and he has been dubbed "Singapore's Ed Sheeran" by fans, referring to the British singer-songwriter.

Tan is already going places. Next month, he will tour Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong as the opening act for Japanese-American YouTube star Kina Grannis' Asian tour.

It means he has to put his plans to bunk at NTU's hostel on hold.

Said Tan with a grin: "I have a room, but I don't know whether I'll be moving in. It depends on my workload, on the music side."

Yesterday was your first day at NTU. How was the canteen food?

I had ban mian for breakfast at one of the hall (hostel) canteens, it was pretty nice. Plus, it's cheap. A musician's life, you know? (Laughs)

You're having Aka Shio Tonkotsu Ramen, Ago Dashi Chintan Ramen and Ebi Yakimeshi (fried rice). Are you a carb monster?

Well, I like my carbs, but I put on weight easily and I don't really exercise. So I have to control myself and not eat too much.

Do you identify yourself as an indie hipster?

Nah. Eighty per cent of the time, if I'm drinking beer with friends, it's at kopitiams. I rarely go to cafes. I love hawker food like nasi lemak and hokkien mee.

Where would you go for a date?

I'm not much of a date guy, but if I were to have a date right now, I'd take her to Spruce at Fire Station.


This article was first published on August 12, 2015.
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