20 Sep 2016
Huang Biren fires up her wok for Chen Hanwei’s mum
Photos: Elis Ching
Video: Vina Chia
Local actor Chen Hanwei’s recent post on Instagram tugged on everyone’s heartstrings, as he revealed that local actress and good friend Huang Biren took it upon herself to cook lunch and dinner for his mother, who had just gotten out of hospital.
Toggle sat down with Biren at the press conference of her latest drama, Fire Up, where we found out more about the kind deed.
When we last visited Biren and co-star Thomas Ong on-set whilst they were filming Fire Up, Thomas had shared that Biren used to be “a princess” who doesn’t set foot in the kitchen at all. Now, it seems that things have changed entirely, with Biren’s recent cooking endeavours.
During our interview, Biren immediately waved off her kind gesture when asked about it, sharing that “it wasn’t exceptionally good food”.
She then went on to reveal that Hanwei’s mother recently underwent an operation, and he had sought Biren’s help with his mother’s meals, as he was busy with work.
“As you know, they can’t eat food that is too oily or salty [after an operation], so it’ll be hard to buy ready-cooked food. I had just finished filming, so I was free at that time as well,” she said, revealing why she had agreed.
The actress later shared that she had cooked lunch and dinner for around three to four days, and that she even delivered the meals personally to Hanwei’s mother a couple of times.
20 Sep 2016
The cast of Fire Up on food and cooking
What is the most memorable dish that a fellow celeb has cooked for you?
Huang Biren: Zoe Tay’s tea eggs! She gave me one to try when we were filming for The Dream Makers 2 , and it was really good. I personally prefer eating food that has a strong herbal taste, and I’ll buy some tea eggs to eat occasionally when I’m out. I can say that the egg she cooked is better than those that I’ve eaten outside.
Thomas Ong: All my co-workers know that in order to make me happy, all they’d have to do is to feed me. For example, when I was filming You Can Be An Angel 2, Zoe brought ikan bilis that her mum fried, and sambal belacan, amongst other food.
What have you cooked or baked for your fellow celeb pals before?
Hayley Woo: I made an oreo cheesecake for Carrie Wong this year, as her birthday present. I also once made a strawberry cheesecake for the 118 cast, although the cake was a little melted by the time I got there.
20 Sep 2016
The actor shared that he rarely steps into the kitchen, as he has some trauma related to cooking.
“Whenever I cooked [in the past], it was always because someone has passed away, so I used to avoid cooking. Now, however, it has turned into an excuse for me to try and avoid cooking,“ he laughed.
The proud grandfather also shared more about his 1-year-old grandson, Anson Zhang, whose birthday party was held at the press conference’s venue, Café Melba at the new Mediacorp campus.
“He was named Anson because his father is named Alex, and my daughter [Anson’s mother], is named Natalie,” the actor let on.
“I do visit him sometimes, but I’ll adhere to the schedule set out for him by his mother, as children need to stick strictly to a schedule for them to grow up well,” he smiled. “I’ll visit him whenever I have a break from work, and I’ll try to get him call me ‘Gong Gong’, but to no avail. In the end, I’m the one who’s ‘gong gong’ [loosely translated to confused in English].
20 Sep 2016
“While we were filming Fire Up, we’d really hire a chef to cook meals to use as props. In the drama, we had quite a number of scenes where we’d all sit down for a meal. [So], in the midst of acting, when we hear the words ‘Cut!’, we’ll pull out a bit of the chicken here to have a taste here and there,” Thomas shared.
However, the foodie, who often posts pictures of his meals on Instagram, revealed that he has no plans to open a restaurant of his own. “Wouldn’t I have to hire Zoe Tay’s mother or Terence Cao [to cook] if I opened a restaurant?”, he laughed, sharing that he rarely steps into the kitchen himself.
The actor also revealed that we might just see him in an overseas production soon, though he remained mum on the details.
20 Sep 2016
The actress, who has been busy jetting off to Taiwan, Boracay and Penang in the last few months to play, shared more about her holiday exploits as well.
“In Taiwan, we [Jayley, Carrie and Hayley] went to a karaoke place to sing. While we were there, Jayley had a little too much to drink, and she was hungover for the rest of the trip. It was very amusing when you talked to her, because she’d just be on auto-pilot mode,” Hayley laughed, as she imitated Jayley.
Hayley also flew to Boracay, Philippines for a short getaway with her boyfriend, former actor Kang Chengxi, whom she has been dating for close to seven years.
“We have talked about getting married before, [but there’s no concrete plans] right now. Jayley has been egging me on by saying how our parents would love to have some grandchildren to carry as well.”
20 Sep 2016
It’s been close to six years since we’ve last seen the actor on-screen, with his “comeback role” requiring him to reveal part of his butt for a “pivotal scene”.
“Of course, when the director first told me about the scene, it was a little awkward. However, the director also told me that the scene was an important one, so I easily agreed after that,” Haden shared, adding that it was harder for him to get in character, as it has been a while since he last acted.
During his hiatus, Haden shared that he was busy running his two Korean restaurants, Kimchi Korean Restaurant and Guksu, as well as his wholesale business.
“The two restaurants, which are manned by chefs well-versed in Korean cuisine, are basically running by themselves now,” he shared with a proud smile.