THE NEW PAPER - Hunky Australian food show hosts and surfer dudes Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn clearly love their seafood.
The laidback duo were in town last week to promote Surfing The Menu: Next Generation, a food travelogue which sees them cooking, eating and surfing their way through Australia.
New episodes will air every Monday from Oct 10 at 9pm on TLC (StarHub Ch 427/Singtel Ch 254).
For breakfast at the Toa Payoh West Market & Food Centre, Churchill and Quinn made a beeline for Hokkien mee from Tien Tien Lai Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee and laksa from Liang Heng Food Stall.
"I love laksa," Churchill, 26, told M, and he proved it by slurping up every drop of his laksa gravy. "My dad used to make it for us, and put all kinds of things in there like fishballs, prawns and so on.
"The cockles have that explosion of salty, briny flavour, which reminds me of the seafood in Australia. And that coconut gravy is not too spicy, and has a tropical, nutty flavour."
Added 30-year-old Quinn: "The Hokkien mee has that sloppy, wet noodle texture and I can really taste the dried shrimp and seafood flavour. The pork lard cubes make it so good."
Quinn and Churchill ended their meal with ham chim peng (salted buns) and you tiao (dough fritters) from the You Tiao Man stall, dipped in warm soybean milk.
"The you tiao is nice and crunchy, and I can taste the Chinese five spice in the ham chim peng, which makes it sweet and savoury at the same time," said Quinn.
"I don't know if I just changed the rules there, but I'm dipping these in the laksa," joked Churchill.
It's your first visit to Singapore. What local foods have you tried?
Churchill: Last night we had chilli crab, and I loved that. It's one of my favourite Asian dishes, and I like making it as well. We're excited to try other local dishes too, like chicken rice.
Quinn: I had a look around this market earlier, to scope out what other people were eating. That's what I do when I travel; have a look at what the locals are having so I can try it myself.
What are your favourite and least favourite seafood dishes?
Quinn: Ooh, my favourite seafood would be oysters. Absolutely love them.
Churchill: I'm so torn. Japanese-style miso cod is amazing to me as it's so buttery and flaky, but you also can't beat a good pan-fried salmon with crispy skin.
Quinn: I'm not a fan of Spanish bacalhau (dried and salted codfish). It's a bit stinky. Any sort of fermented seafood is a bit weird for me.
Churchill: I'm going to say bad mussels. Having those will do you over.
What are the most exotic foods you've tried?
Churchill: Duck blood curry in Thailand, where the blood was part of the coconut milk base. Talking about it doesn't turn your stomach too positively.
Quinn: For me it was stinky tofu in Taiwan and mopane worms in South Africa. The worms are dried out and you eat them. They taste very chalky, dirty and nutty.
What is the best dish to cook on a date?
Quinn: You can't go wrong with spaghetti bolognese.
Churchill: You get to test your date as well, because you don't want her to be all prissy about eating. You want to be real, twirl it up, slurp it up...
Quinn: Get messy.
Churchill: It gives you an excuse to touch each other, too. (Laughs)
Quinn: I reckon that's a good idea.