Nothing's spicy enough in Singapore for popular YouTuber Mark Wiens - so he goes around with his personal bottle of ghost peppers

Mark Wiens speaking to Chef Justin Quek about the rise of fine dining in Singapore, then having nasi lemak at a hawker centre in Tiong Bahru later in the episode.
PHOTO: HBO Go

Whether it's a hawker stall in Thailand, a diner in Spain, or a Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore, wherever Mark Wiens goes, his bottle of ghost pepper powder follows.

"I veer towards spicier everything," muses the popular food vlogger with over nine million subscribers on YouTube as we chat over lunch. 

"I have this bottle of smoked ghost peppers and it's very convenient for me to go incognito. I have been able to be discreet so far, but I think Asians wouldn't be offended [if they find out about me adding chillies to their dishes]. Europeans might get quite offended," shares Mark while discreetly adding some onto his plate at one Michelin-starred restaurant Candlenut.

And indeed, none of the servers seem to have taken notice of his skilful sprinkle.

From YouTuber to TV food series host

Spice-loving tales aside, the multi-hyphenate is here in Singapore to promote his food series on HBO Go, titled Food Affair with Mark Wiens.

Mark discovers what a three Michelin-starred restaurant experience enjoyed over three storeys would be like at Restaurant Zén, a Japanese-inspired French-Nordic restaurant with Chef Tristin. PHOTO: HBO Go

From everybody's favourite hawker fare to luxurious fine-dining cuisine, the six-episode series will focus on Singapore's obsession with food and the stories behind the delicacies.

This food paradise is currently home to over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants and more than 60 Bib Gourmand eateries, which include hawker stalls such as Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa.

While the aforementioned stalls won't be featured in the series, viewers will get to learn about the artistry and history of well-loved dishes like Hainanese chicken rice and laksa through each episode's guests comprising of Mark, a fine-dining chef, culinary veteran and a hawker hero.

Mark and Chef Tristin end episode one with Chef Tristin’s favourite Malay dish at Selera Nasi Lemak. PHOTO: HBO Go

"What's different [this time around] is that while filming, we were able to learn more about the stories of the fine-dining chefs, hawkers, and also the food experts in that cuisine — how they got into it, how they developed their passion and even a bit of their life story," shares the 36-year-old who has been to Singapore "quite a few times".

"It was most rewarding to learn the stories of each restaurant owner and how they have followed their passion — sometimes against many challenges — which is truly reflected in the taste of their food', Mark adds.

A 'perfect' day in Singapore

If you've seen any one of Mark's YouTube videos, you might have noticed his signature green t-shirt that says, "if it's not spicy, I'm not eating". And that holds true when he shares with us his 'perfect' day eating his way through Singapore.

Mark at the Golden Triangle. PHOTO: Instagram/migrationology

For breakfast, the spice-lover says he'd go straight in for some South Indian food.

"Komala Vilas' dosai and idly (a savoury rice cake) are very good for breakfast", shares the foodie, adding that he'd grab some prawn vadais after.

"I really like the clay pot rice at Chinatown Complex. It is always awesome.

"And of course I cannot miss the fish head curry in Singapore, which is again, an Indian-influenced dish, yet it's adapted to the locals.

"I love Samy's Curry (Restaurant). He's one of my favourites. I also appreciate fish head curry because there are variations of it — you have the more Indian style ones, and also the Chinese and Malay style ones."

And to roundup his 'perfect' day of eating, Mark says he'd go for a zi char feast.

"I love zi char with a lot of seafood and pepper. Black pepper crabs are my favourite," Mark adds.

So, there you have it, Mark's (food) itinerary if he ever has a free day to explore Singapore.

Any spice-lovers keen to join him?

Food Affair with Mark Wiens premieres on Nov 18 on HBO Go.

ALSO READ: I queued up and tried these Michelin Bib Gourmand stalls to see if they were worth the hype, here's my verdict

lynette@asiaone.com

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