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Good food is constantly on the minds of Singaporeans, and searching for good nosh is practically an OCD symptom. Take anyone aside and he or she will be able to map out the best places for char kway teow, hokkien mee, eggs benedict or pulled-pork burgers, like a walking HungryGoWhere.
 

Or we may be specialists in finding brand-new makan places, because a new food fad is a disease that can only be cured when you’ve eaten it. It’s clear that we can’t get enough of this heavenly sustenance.

 

Here are two couples’ foodie adventures, reproduced with permission from April – June 2015 DUET, a magazine by SDN.

 

A MATCH MADE IN FOODIE HEAVEN
By Chua Kim Beng

 

 

Bryan Chua and Joan Hoo are two people whose love for food bonded them and saw them through the road humps in their relationship.

 

“Our interest in food kind of brought us together,” reveals Joan. “We love hunting down the latest trendy cuisine. We like to go to different places and not stick to the same restaurant.” But their fervour for fine food sometimes blinds them to other issues at hand.

 

Bryan remembers their second date well. “I took her to a stall that sold great fish soup as I remembered Joan liked that dish,” he recalls. The problem was that he received his information from an ex-girlfriend!

 

When that cat got out of the bag, “Joan became angry with me.” He got off the hook only after explaining that he was only thinking of her preferences. “This showed me that she has a big heart to forgive,” claims Bryan.

 

ROAD HUMPS

 

Although Joan and Bryan were a good match, there were road humps along their path to marital bliss. For example, the two of them had divergent hobbies: he likes movies and manga; she enjoys shopping and running. Still, they believe in maintaining their individuality.

 

“I will not impose my interests and hobbies on her,” Bryan insists. But that’s not to say they can’t be supportive. “He sometimes comes along with me to Punggol Park, where I like to jog, but he doesn’t join me because of his leg injury. He cannot run so he walks lor!” quips Joan.

 

A bigger hump came in the form of objection from Bryan’s parents. “It was a shock for my parents and they were not able to accept that Joan and I applied for a house so quickly,” Bryan says, revealing that they committed to a Build-to-Order flat in Punggol just four months into their courtship, too whirlwind for his parents’ comfort.

 

However, Bryan and Joan stayed true to who they were, dating one year and seven months in total, and managed to win over Bryan’s parents. “It was three months prior to my wedding that my parents accepted that we were going to marry,” notes Bryan.

 

BOWLED OVER

 

It all started at – surprise, surprise – an event involving food. “It was a three-in-one, consisting of a bowling session, lunch, followed by a movie at Marina Square,” Bryan says of the day they first laid eyes on each other at a Love Express-run event on 12 Mar 2011. “He tried to teach me to bowl, but I kept rolling the balls into the drain,” Joan laughs. “I was quite surprised and felt lucky that I met my future husband there,” discloses Joan.

 

So how did Bryan propose? The setting was their usual haunt at Punggol Park. “I didn’t see it coming at the park, that’s for sure,” says Joan. “It was about 8pm when he suddenly sat down. Just as I was getting suspicious, Bryan unexpectedly got down on his knee and brought out a ring. Then he started singing ‘Would You Marry Me?’ by Bruno Mars.” Awww!

 

Their wedding took place in a Catholic church on 20 October 2012. Since the birth of their son Joel, Bryan and Joan can indulge in their foodie pursuit only once in a while. But what they gain in exchange is a deeper understanding of each other. “We’re finding out that we really have a lot of things in common, and we’re constantly amazed by how similar we are in our thinking,” comments Bryan.

 

FOOD GETS IN THE WAY
By Martell Chan

So you’ve met someone and you’re compatible in every way save one: dinning preference. How do you get over that in food-mad Singapore? Here’s someone who’s found the middle path.

 

I met Jenna at a New Year’s Eve party. She’s a small and quiet girl with a disarming presence. Those minutes of small talk soon progressed to regular movie dates and weekly outings. As I gradually broke down her defensive walls, I learnt that we have a lot in common. We are both avid readers (we both love horror fiction) and music lovers (we gravitate towards classic rock).

 

To my sweet surprise, she, like me, is also a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac! It was a match made in heaven. For a 29-year-old, my taste in leisurely pursuits border on what my more polite friends refer to as “vintage” while the rest would just call “uncle.” Thus it amazes me that I had the fool’s luck of meeting someone with interests so close to my heart when I was a lonely singleton not too long ago.

 

THE GREAT DIVIDE

 

Despite all our common interests, there is one particular mismatch that threatened to tear us apart: our food preferences. Over the course of several lunches and dinners, it soon dawned on me that we had widely differing opinions on what tastes good.

 

I’ve been averse to seafood since I was a kid, not because I was allergic to them, but because I hated the fishy odour. Jenna, on the other hand, relishes them. It’s no surprise that she loves Japanese cuisine, with its emphasis on raw seafood.

 

My choices are severely limited when we dine in a Japanese restaurant. What I am a fan of is chilli based grub—the spicier, the better.

 

However, Jenna finds conventional chilli sauce too hot to handle. I found this out the hard way when I innocently ordered a plate of Buffalo wings—“it’s only mildly spicy,” assured the waitress.

 

After the dish arrived, Jenna took a teensy-weensy bite and proceeded to emit a bloodcurdling scream. After crying out that her lips and tongue were burnt, she even accused me of not paying attention to her needs. I was flabbergasted, and she was fuming. If memory serves, she didn’t talk to me for two days straight after that incident!

 

Although we are not polar opposites in the diet department— think vegans versus carnivores—it does make cooking a meal or dining out rather challenging.

 

LOVE & UNDERSTANDING

 

Wouldn’t it be great if music alone were the food of love? But it takes a little more than that in our situation.

The first step is to recognise each other’s likes and dislikes, so that we can avoid my Buffalo wings situation in the future. It also helps to know your partner’s degree of aversion to various types of food. Is she mildly or wildly disagreeable towards anchovies? Is it okay to add a dash of pepper into her soup? It doesn’t hurt to discuss this. One solution that Jenna and I have come up with is to dine at restaurants with extensive menus—there should be some dishes that cater to our diverse palates.

 

Say we have a hankering for Thai food. A restaurant that serves spicy dishes exclusively just wouldn’t cut it—she’d blow her top, literally and figuratively! On the other hand, if the restaurant had a wider range of dishes, Jenna could dig into the mild Pandan Chicken while I feasted on the fiery Pork and Basil with Rice.

 

Another solution is that Singaporean icon: the hawker centre. There, we have the luxury of ordering from different stalls that suit our personal chilli ratings. Still, I wouldn’t mind joining her occasionally at sushi joints just to keep her company – it’s still worth it even though the non raw fish dishes are few and far between. Our dissimilar tastes might mean we seldom share our food, but at least we get to dine together as a couple. All it takes is a little bit of love, insight and understanding.

 

~ END ~

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