We meet the Chuas of Ieat&eat to chat with the family of four over the Singapore Brunch buffet at Makan@Jen. Dad works in a bioscience manufacturing company; mum is an I.T. project manager, while sis and bro are students. Can blogging transform a family? We find out.
Who: The Chua family (ieatandeat.com): Teng Kuan (dad), Hui Ping (mum), Jia Qi (daughter, 20), Yu Sen (son, 14)
Blogging since: June 26, 2013 (son’s birthday). They turned their foodie outings into a blog after TK’s friend with an I.T. background suggested it. TK: “I wanted a total SEO setup and technical support instead of relying on those free blogs.” HP designed the logo (a plate, always looking for food) and came up with the name (spontaneous and easy to remember).
Influences from dad: Photography. JQ loves taking photos of food, while YS is into snapping supercars.
Influences from mum: Peranakan background, so they’ve been eating spicy food from young as they stay with their maternal grandma (speciality is assam chicken that’s cooked only during CNY reunion dinner). Kids and mum love spicier, stronger flavours and are more particular about taste. Dad who is Teochew has a lighter palate, but even he has been ’trained’ by them.
On being a food blogging family: HP: “When there’s a company or team event, my colleagues will say, ’Let the blogger decide what to eat.’ So I will plan.” JQ: “Initially they will say ’Oh wow, you are a food blogger! So you get to eat a lot of free food?’ They think it’s an easy job but they don’t realise the responsibilities and work that come with it. After all there’s no free lunch.”
Blogging dynamics: The parents cover mostly hawker fare while JQ goes cafe-hopping. TK: “I do the final editing; sometimes her post is a bit too harsh or aggressive. I agree it’s her genuine opinion but I feel sometimes the F&B owner might not feel good so I moderate it a bit.”
Teaching through blogging: HP: “Weekends is family time. We eat, blog and talk–aspirations, interesting happenings, and inculcate the right values like not wasting food or returning one’s tray.”
A palate change: JQ: “Honestly, I’m quite an introvert. I used to be extremely nervous when meeting people and very, very quiet. Through many food tasting sessions, I got over the obstacle of talking to people. I’ve also learnt to eat foods I once avoided like sashimi and red meat. If I don’t eat anything then I can’t call myself a food blogger, and I feel it’s disrespectful to leave a dish untouched when it’s been served.”
Ultimate comfort food: YS is a carbo guy and loves wok hei. They’re not fussy, but JQ loves homecooked dishes like broccoli and fried egg by her grandma. As a family they’ll go to Eastern House tze char at Chai Chee Drive for pig trotters beehoon and salted egg prawns/chicken.
Don’t offer them: TK: salmon or raw food; HP: raw food (except salad); JQ: shellfish (mushy and pungent) and durian; YS: seafood and meat (except processed ones like sausages or those fried and coated like sweet and sour pork).
THE BUFFET: Makan@Jen at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway, Level 10, 277 Orchard Road ($38++ for Weekend Singapore Brunch, free-flow wine add-on available at $19++. Sat-Sun 12.30-3pm)
Time of visit: 19 April, 12.30pm
Strategy: TK: “We will share to try a wider variety.” HP: “I will always walk around first then try those unusual dishes like the herbal chicken and honey ham. For the kids it’s different; they don’t take meat so they’ll go for prata first to fill their stomachs. If there is stomach space after, I’ll go for the DIY station like the salad but I’ll definitely have dessert.”
Not on their minds: JQ: “You should go for the seafood station first. I wanted to take soft shell crab sushi but it was gone.” TK: “The crab was fresh though it’s not from Sri Lanka. It is quite meaty and sweet.”
Sweet versus savoury: Votes go to the dessert spread (ice cream in local flavours and the tart), even for non-dessert people. It’s laksa (two helpings–lemak but not spicy enough) and the siew mai for YS.
Shouldn’t have taken: Roti prata. JQ: “I like it with a good curry, but the curry was not spicy enough and the vegetarian one was too sweet.”
Most memorable? TK: “It’s spacious, not cramped. The outdoor area is probably good at night.” Bright, with glass windows and natural light, hence good for photos. HP: “The savoury food’s also arranged separate from the desserts but everything’s within easy reach for a quick overview.”
After a quick family huddle:
Value for Money: 3.5/5