What's the best way to get stoic, media-savvy Hong Kong celebrities to loosen up - and open up?
Over a sumptuous lunch of bird's nest broth, crab claw and baked rack of lamb, it seems.
Actress Bernice Liu, 34, and actor Him Law, 29, tucked into the specially-prepared, finely-plated Cantonese cuisine at Yan Ting at The St. Regis Singapore.
There were in town last Friday to promote their upcoming slew of dramas, movies and infotainment programmes on SingTel's newly-launched cHK channel (mio TV Ch 510).
Liu was affable and forthcoming about her enormous passion for wine. At one point, she even briefly alluded to her much-publicised 2008 split with former boyfriend, actor Moses Chan.
Law was endearing with his playful nature and boyish candour.
As our meal wrapped up, Law yakked away in Cantonese with his entourage of minders about why Singapore and Malaysian durians are the best.
You are welcome back anytime, leng lui and leng zai (pretty girl and pretty boy in Cantonese).
What are your favourite dishes in the world?
Law: I love Peking duck. I like cuisine from the northern part of China best. If I'm having Western food, I prefer a simple salad.
Most Chinese cuisine is pretty rich in flavour, so on the rare occasion when I have Western fare, I try to eat light and consume more vegetables.
Liu: Seafood is my ultimate favourite. I grew up in Prince Rupert (a small city in British Columbia, Canada), which is near Alaska, and the seafood is super fresh. As a child, I'd often go fishing with my dad.
What are some Hong Kong dishes you would highly recommend to overseas visitors?
Law: The fishball hor fun near my house at Tai Po is fantastic.
Liu: Definitely polo bun (sweet pineapple bun) and Hong Kong milk tea. There are some restaurants and cafes that still serve milk tea the traditional way, through a silk stocking-like filter.
Law: For family gatherings, I'd say do it over hotpot (steamboat). Ingredients are fresh and you can sit for hours to chit-chat.
Liu: My family members are fond of going for afternoon tea and dim sum.
My brother-in-law's British, but his two young kids love dim sum more than fish and chips.
Bernice, you have your own wine label, Bellavizio. How did that come about?
Liu: It happened by accident. Back in 2008, I was going through a huge break-up and travelling alone in France.
A chance encounter with famed French wine consultant Eric Boissenot kick-started this side venture. I must stress that it's just a boutique business, acting is still my full-time job.
There aren't many places in Hong Kong where you can find my label.
I carry one of my wines at my bar Racks, which I co-own with (model-host) Lisa S.
What are some foods that have turned you off?
Law: I can't take cockles, especially if they are served raw. It's a little, erm, bloody. Frog's legs are not for me too.
Liu: In mainland China, where I once stayed for nine months to film a television series, there were many places where they served all kinds of "exotic" food. But I don't have the heart to eat dog meat or horse meat.
Law: Me too. No dog meat for me.
Liu: I'll kill you if you dare to eat dog meat! (Grin)
Any places in Hong Kong where you would go for a romantic date?
Liu: In Hong Kong? I don't think it's even possible, what with the paparazzi constantly around us.
Law: If you see people in Hong Kong wearing caps and masks, they must be celebrities. (Laughs)
Liu: For a dinner date, I'd just stay home. I love to cook and bake. You know, I make a great roast chicken.
Law: Yes, home is the best. I don't cook much though. I once bought expensive beef to whip up a steak and ended up wasting it!
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