Celebrity Chow with TVB actor Oscar Leung

We were dining in Papi, a chic Italian-Mediterranean restaurant with wooden tables and impossibly sleek designer chairs, at the upmarket Elements mall in West Kowloon.

In such a romantic setting, it's no wonder that Hong Kong TVB actor Oscar Leung waxes lyrical about his softer side.

Over egg spinach salad, mozzarella cheese sticks, beef tripe and a trio of desserts, the 35-year-old rising TV star said in Mandarin: "I've done the most oldfashioned romantic 'trick' in the book.

"Once, I prepared a three-course candle light dinner for my wife, including a heart-shaped steak and her favourite banana split ice-cream.

"I feel that old-fashioned gestures are the most heartwarming."

Leung married his long-time girlfriend, 31-year-old Tina Lok, in January after dating for 11 years.

The couple have no children.

Leung, who cut his teeth playing supporting roles in his early showbiz years, is on a roll.

Audiences here can catch him in two hard-hitting series - as a sniper in gritty cop drama Tiger Cubs II on VV Drama (StarHub Ch 855) every Sunday at 9.30pm, and as a debt collector in crime thriller Line Walker, which premieres on VV Drama on Dec 30 at 9pm.

For his sniper role, Leung worked hard to build up a buff bod, complementing his exercise regiment with an extremely strict diet.

Not only did he avoid sweets and drinks for nearly six months, his meals consisted of boiled chicken breast and vegetables with no seasoning.

"It was very painful," he recalled with a laugh.

"The food I ate was bland and tasteless, I was basically just swallowing protein."

As a Hong Konger, what would you say is the food most representative of Hong Kong?

Wanton mee and Hong Kong-style French toast drizzled with condensed milk.

I have my favourite eatery for French toast.

It's called Han Fa and it's a no frills da pai dang (roadside coffee stall) at Sham Shui Po.

I took my friend, fellow actor Raymond Lam, to try it once and he instantly fell in love with it.

Now, he's a regular there.

Are you a good cook? What are your signature dishes?

I'm definitely a better cook than my wife.

In fact, I'm always imparting my skills to her.

She's like my disciple.

She is my biggest fan and tries all the dishes I make.

I picked up cooking at a young age as I was influenced by my maternal grandfather and my mum.

My grandfather was the head chef of a catering company and my mum inherited his cooking skills.

My signature dishes would be Cantonese fare like soy sauce chicken and sweet and sour pork ribs.

As for Western dishes, I can do simple ones like spaghetti and steak.

Have you thought of going into the food & beverage business?

Yes. I hope to open my own cafe someday.

I've discussed this with a cousin who's in the F&B business and he is keen too.

Hopefully we'd be able to work something out.

What food would you never tire of eating?

I love spicy stuff.

I think that if my wife doesn't nag at me about it, I can eat mala hotpot three times a week.

Also, I've been to Kuala Lumpur for work and I absolutely adore the curry noodles there.

It's a must-have for me every time I'm there.

Have you been to Singapore? Do you fancy any of our local dishes?

I haven't, but I definitely hope to visit in the future.

Hainanese chicken rice and black pepper crabs are two of my favourite dishes and I'm dying to try them in Singapore.

This article was first published on December 17, 2014.
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