FOODIE CONFIDENTIAL

Mum's chicken rice is best

Actor-host Fauzie Laily goes to Carousel in Royal Plaza on Scotts on special occasions, such as his second wedding anniversary this week.
Actor-host Fauzie Laily goes to Carousel in Royal Plaza on Scotts on special occasions, such as his second wedding anniversary this week. ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

Home-cooked comfort food keeps actor Fauzie Laily going

Actor-host Fauzie Laily is a bundle of energy who loves cracking jokes. But he is perky only if he starts the day with a proper breakfast.

The 30-year-old says he gets cranky when he is hungry. "I am not a morning person, I don't drink coffee and I have a sinus problem. I need a proper breakfast or I get grumpy."

Fuelling his days are egg sandwiches and lempeng (Malay pancakes) prepared by his mother.

He also has mee siam, nasi lemak and laksa from "a lot of breakfast scenes" while filming Tanglin, a Channel 5 drama series (weeknights, 8.30pm). It is about the lives and relationships of four families. In the 199-episode drama, which ends in March, he plays a henpecked husband and firefighter.

  • WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL BE?

  • Chilli crab, because I am allergic to crabs, and I want to give them a last shot.

"I would just taste a little food while filming; if not, I will look fat in the next scene," he says in jest.

He says the biggest eater on-set is Elfaeza Ul Haq, 30, who plays his sister-in-law. "She eats before shooting starts and claims that she is in character."

Filming dining scenes in Tanglin is a fun-filled affair because of the chemistry shared among the cast, who include actresses Mastura Ahmad, 47, and Syirah Jusni, 26.

He says they take turns to pull funny faces and do goofy poses when the camera is not on them. "We have to entertain each other while filming a long-form show."

He got his big break when he was second runner-up in Anugerah, Suria's singing competition, in 2005. He went on to release a handful of Malay songs and acted in Malay dramas before crossing over to act in English language serials such as Code Of Law three years ago. He will co-host the Channel 5 dance competition, The Dance Floor, later this month .

The second of three children, he is married to a 30-year-old principal of a pre-school centre. The couple does not have children. His father, 58, is a crane operator, while his mother, also 58, is a housewife.

What are your earliest memories of food?

When I was young, I refused to eat vegetables. My mum cooked dishes separately for my father, who loves vegetables, and for my brother and me. I am fine with eating vegetables these days, except for beansprouts. If you put them in my mee rebus, I will scold you.

What are your favourite local foods and where do you go to eat them?

I like Springleaf Prata Place in Jalan Tua Kong, which sells interesting takes on murtabak and prata. They have a prata that comes with a beef burger patty and an Eggs Benedict- inspired prata that is topped with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. There is also red bean prata.

I also like chicken rice, and used to frequent the now-defunct Tong Seng Coffeeshop as it had a nice ambience and was the cheapest dining option in the Bugis area when I was growing up.

What are some of your favourite dishes that your mother cooks?

Mum's cooking is always the best. I like her chicken rice (both fried and steamed versions), as the rice is fragrant, and her pucuk ubi (tapioca shoots) cooked with assam pedas gravy. We have it with egg omelette and fried ikan selar.

What are your favourite cuisines?

I like western food such as fish and chips from Fish & Co and steaks from Badoque Cafe in Simpang Bedok and Upper Thomson Road.

What is comfort food for you?

Rice with eggs fried sunny side up and ketchup.

Are you an adventurous diner?

No, I am allergic to crabs. I found this out when I was in secondary school. My face gets swollen and I will get fever, rashes and asthma.

Once, I ate chilli crab gravy with bread and was admitted to hospital. I had gone to the same hospital earlier that day to get treated for a slight fever. My face was so puffed up that the same nurse who attended to me earlier could not recognise me.

What is the most memorable meal you've had overseas?

I will always remember the wagyu beef I had at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort in Sabah during a holiday with my wife this year. I loved the soft texture of the beef and I savoured it slowly. I felt like a rich man eating it.

Have you had any strange encounters when dining out?

Last week, I was "lectured" by a diner at a cafe in Kampong Glam. A woman and her son approached me for a photograph. I remained in my seat as it was easier to pose for photos. Later, a middle-aged man came up to me and lectured me for two minutes on how I should stand up when posing with fans. It felt very weird.

Which are your favourite hawker centres?

I've been going to Bedok Inter- change Food Centre for the mee soto from Inspirasi stall for a long time. I also like going to Nur Janatun Naim stall in Kaki Bukit 511 Food Centre for sabsuka, which is baked minced meat with eggs; roti john and fried spring chicken.

Where do you like to take your wife on dinner dates?

We like to go to Fish & Co, as we had our first date at the now-defunct outlet in Wheelock Place. We were primary schoolmates but only reconnected years later via Friendster.

We frequent eateries such as Enak Enak and Spize in Simpang Bedok. We also go to Carousel in Royal Plaza on Scotts for buffets to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and our second wedding anniversary earlier this week.

If you could choose anyone to have a meal with, who would that be?

My late grandfather, who died 15 years ago when he was in his 70s from ill health. I want to relive memories of him picking me up after primary school and taking me to eat mee rebus that cost $1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Mum's chicken rice is best'. Print Edition | Subscribe