Veteran actor Li Nanxing shares late mum's dishes for Mother's Day

PHOTO: Fullerton Hotel Singapore

Miss your mother's home cooking?

It won't be quite the same, but veteran local actor Li Nanxing will be whipping up a nostalgic feast at Town Restaurant at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore in celebration of Mother's Day.

Inspired by his late mother's Teochew-Peranakan cooking, the 54-year-old will share his mother's favourite recipes with the public as part of the restaurant's A Special Mother's Day With Ah Ge dinner buffet promotion from May 3 to 19.

On Mother's Day, which is on May 12, catch Li in action as he prepares one of his signature rustic dishes.

On the menu are sotong masak hitam (black ink sotong), fried tau kwa with leeks, mala chicken, assam fish, sambal petai prawn and white fungus dessert.

The pop-up collaboration marries Li's cooking hobby with his desire to pay tribute to his mum - who died in 2012 of a heart attack at the age of 70 - and contribute to a good cause.

The Fullerton will donate part of the proceeds from this promotion period to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which supports more than 10,000 students each year.

Li, who has been hosting private dinners at his home for his celebrity friends for the past year, said his culinary passion was ignited when it dawned on him that "the kampung type of ingredients and rare spices are something that people don't use anymore" in their dishes.

He told The New Paper last week at a media preview at Town Restaurant: "The fragrance really is different. As I got older, the memories came back to me. I miss the taste of my childhood."

It was during The Fullerton Knight & Stars Charity Cook-out event late last year that Li first presented his mother's assam fish head speciality dish, and it was a hit among the invited guests.

Li, who is of Peranakan descent, said: "Fullerton then invited me to present these dishes at the Mother's Day event, but for charity this time.

"They were touched because my mum didn't teach me how to cook - I had to recall the recipes from my memories of watching her cook.

"She didn't teach me anything. She would always ask me to leave (the kitchen). She was a superwoman who could whip up many beloved dishes."

Even though Li clearly has the makings of a chef, acting is his still his top passion.

He is also fearful that going pro would "take the fun out of the hobby".

Li, who will be reprising his role as assistant superintendent of police Wei Lantian in the popular Channel 8 police crime drama C.L.I.F. 5, said: "Acting makes me feel like I'm in a different world. I can be anyone. There are no limits.

"Cooking is different, everyone has a different palate. There's a limit to what I can do, based on the recipes and what the customer wants."

A Special Mother's Day With Ah Ge dinner buffet at Town Restaurant runs from May 3 to 19, 6.30pm to 10.30pm. The dinner buffet is priced at $59 (adult) and $30 (child) from Sunday to Thursday; and $85 (adult) and $43 (child) on Friday and Saturday.

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.