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People 2 minutes 13 February 2019

Valentine’s Day: Three Chefs From Michelin-Starred Eateries On Their Romantic Creations

Love is universal as three chefs from Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei share their favourite dishes from the heart.

Valentine's Day video

The MICHELIN Guide Digital cajoles three very different chefs — Longtail’s Lam Ming Kin, Ta Vie’s Hideaki Sato and Liao Fan Hawker Chan Hawker Stall’s Chan Hon Meng to get lovey-dovey and open up about their loved ones.
To Longtail's Lam Ming Kin, an ideal Valentine's Day is one that he doesn't have to cook.
To Longtail's Lam Ming Kin, an ideal Valentine's Day is one that he doesn't have to cook.

1. Lam Ming Kin

Chef-proprietor Lam Ming Kin of one-Michelin-starred contemporary European restaurant Longtail in Taipei, whips up modern European fare. He is in a relationship.

A dish that best represents your lover: Kaya French toast, soy caramel and espresso ice cream.

Kaya toast is a traditional Singapore breakfast that comprises coconut jam slathered on crisp toasted bread that is best accompanied with a cup of kopi (coffee) and a bowl of soft-boiled eggs doused in soya sauce. For his rendition, Lam soaks cubes of brioche in a mixture of egg, coconut milk, pandan leaves, coconut wine and vanilla seeds for a night, before deep-drying them.

Longtail's Kaya French toast, soy caramel and espresso ice cream.
Longtail's Kaya French toast, soy caramel and espresso ice cream.

After frying, he sprinkles pandan powder on the cubes that are soft and springy inside and crispy outside. The kaya toast cubes are dipped in soy caramel and served with espresso ice cream, which encapsulates the Singapore kopi culture. Drawing references between deep-fried French toast and lovers, he says tongue-in-cheek: “It is hard on the outside, but soft and sweet inside, but she will burn you if you’re not careful.”

Do you love or hate Valentine's Day?
I love it. It is sweet to see many cute couples at the restaurant.

What’s your ideal Valentine's Day?

My ideal Valentine's Day is one where I don’t have to cook.

Ta Vie's Hideaki Sato prefers to give his wife flowers rather than diamonds.
Ta Vie's Hideaki Sato prefers to give his wife flowers rather than diamonds.

Two-Michelin-starred Ta Vie in Hong Kong serves up unadulterated Japanese-French dishes from the kitchen of chef and co-owner Hideaki Sato. He has been married for 13 years.

A dish that best represents your lover: “Mille-Fleurs” aux framboises: rose, raspberry, red dragon

The Japanese chef hopes to inject romance into this traditional French pastry, which is on Ta Vie’s Christmas and Valentine’s Day menus. The delicate red and pink-themed dish is served on glassware adorned with flowers placed beneath and features raspberries, red dragon fruit and rose-shaped raspberry cookies. He says: “It has colours of red and pink that I think my wife would like.”

“Mille-Fleurs” aux framboises is a floral pink and red dessert that is by Ta Vie's Hideaki Sato.
“Mille-Fleurs” aux framboises is a floral pink and red dessert that is by Ta Vie's Hideaki Sato.
What’s your ideal Valentine's Day?
My ideal Valentine’s Day is one where I can have the experience of being a customer so that we can enjoy the meal and our conversation.

Flowers or diamond?

Flowers, as they are more from the heart, whereas diamonds are from the wallet.
Chan Hon Meng of Liao Fan Hawker Chan Hawker Stall likens his wife to old cucumber soup.
Chan Hon Meng of Liao Fan Hawker Chan Hawker Stall likens his wife to old cucumber soup.

3. Chan Hon Meng

Chan Hon Meng, the founder chef of one-Michelin-starred Liao Fan Hawker Chan Hawker Stall and the Bib Gourmand-lauded Liao Fan Hawker Chan Quick Services Stall, has been married for 15 years.


A dish that best represents your lover: Old cucumber soup

The Malaysia-born chef opts for a nourishing Cantonese classic, old cucumber soup, that is brewed with pork bones, old cucumber and dates. He says candidly: “We Chinese like to cook with old cucumber. Similarly, my wife grows more lovable with age. Just like the soup, she is sweet, fragrant and delicious.”

Old cucumber soup  is a norshining bowl of soup.
Old cucumber soup is a norshining bowl of soup.

What’s your ideal Valentine’s Day? 
Spending it with my family — my daughter is a little lover, while my wife is the love of my life. So we are a family of lovers. That's what makes the day meaningful to me. 

Dine in or dine out?
I prefer to celebrate at home as it is the most heartwarming place.

What would you like to say to your wife?
Dear, I will love you always; consider me blind to the other women in the world.

Valentine’s Day: Three Chefs From Michelin-Starred Eateries On Their Romantic Creations

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