Old friends, different tastes
Celebrity Chow with local TV stars Elfaeza Ul Haq and Fauzie Laily
They may play close-knit family members on the new Channel 5 drama Tanglin, but don't bet on Elfaeza Ul Haq and Fauzie Laily fighting over food.
The long-time buddies - they became friends in 2005 as fellow contestants of Suria's reality TV singing contest Anugerah - "attack" different items on the Ramadan buffet line.
M broke fast with the TV stars, both 30, last Friday evening at StraitsKitchen at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.
Fauzie's staple choices are carb-heavy and meaty fare like "roti prata, fried rice and satay", while Elfaeza goes for her favourite crabs.
"My whole family loves crabs, be it black pepper crab, chilli crab, or the one I'm enjoying right now - salted egg yolk crab. Hmm, so delicious," she said while Fauzie playfully made a face beside her.
He said: "I developed an allergic reaction to crabs when I was a teenager. I cannot eat them. If I allow crabs into my system, I'd become unrecognisable!
"My face would bloat up and I'd break out in rashes."
Tanglin centres on the lives and relationships of four multiracial families - the Tongs, the Bhaskars, the Rahmans and the Lims - who live in the Holland Village, Tanglin and Commonwealth area.
In the 199-episode drama which airs weeknights at 8.30pm, Fauzie plays a doting, henpecked husband and Elfaeza his career-driven single sister-in-law.
Any fun, hilarious food encounters on the set of Tanglin?
Fauzie: Whenever we have food on set for our family eating scenes in Tanglin, Elfa will finish everything herself. She calls it "method acting". Our crew members will have to top up the food for our subsequent scenes. Don't be deceived by her slim figure.
Elfaeza: He's exaggerating. I only eat those dishes that are nice.
Fauzie: Which is pretty much everything.
Hari Raya Puasa is around the corner. Are you looking forward to the festivities?
Fauzie: After I got married in 2013, there is a lot more visiting to do. There are two sides of my family I need to visit. I go to my grandmother's and uncles' houses, then my wife's family.
Elfaeza: I'm the only unmarried one among my four siblings, so it's natural that during Hari Raya, some of my extended relatives ask, "When is your turn? You're the last one." In my mind, I go "Here we go again." My immediate family knows me very well though, so they don't give me that kind of pressure.
Are you good cooks? Any signature dishes?
Elfaeza: I prefer baking cakes and cookies, as I like creating pieces of artwork. I don't like cooking, as I don't know how to plate my food like a chef.
Fauzie: Whoa, so cheem (Hokkien for profound).
Elfaeza: So Fauzie, can you cook an egg or not?
Fauzie: My speciality is boiling water (deadpan expression). I can't cook for nuts. Once, I had to cook on a TV cooking show and I was so stressed. It's the most stressed I've ever felt in my life. You can get me to cry on camera, or do a dying scene, but cooking, no way! My wife is the better cook between us. Her signature dish is seafood fried brown rice.
Elfaeza: Nice, I will come to your house this Hari Raya.
Fauzie, do you still go for dinner date nights with your wife? Are you big on romantic ambience in restaurants?
Fauzie: Coincidentally, my wife messaged me not too long ago, "It's been a long time since we spent quality time together." (Laughs.)
We're a very simple couple. Most of the time, we eat at simple, no-frills places. StraitsKitchen is a rare treat for us. We come here once in a blue moon. Last year, I had my birthday treat here.
Elfa, what are some of your first-date turn-offs?
Elfaeza: Actually I'm not very particular. I haven't dated in a long while.
Well, I like looking at men eat. For now, as long as there's a guy who takes me out on dates, can already! (Laughs.) Just kidding.
Fauzie: Ha ha, beggars can't be choosers.