Ask the Chef

Swissotel Krasnye Holmy
Henry Wong, a chef from the Kopi Tiam restaurant in Swissotel The Stamford Singapore, is a guest chef for Swissotel Krasnye Holmy's Singaporean Culinary Week, which runs from June 2 to 8 at Cafe Swiss.

Best dish

"I would say Hainanese chicken rice, traditionally done. Everything, including the sauce, is freshly made."

Most popular dish
"That would be the fish head curry, which is a dish where the fish head is semi-stewed in a thick curry sauce made of spice, fragrant fresh coconut cream and tamarind juice."

Favorite food
"I have many choices here, and it is hard for me to name one. All I am looking for is authenticity in the way the food is cooked."

Favorite (other) restaurant in Moscow
"I don't have a favorite, but by the end of the week I'm sure I will."

Favorite (other) restaurant worldwide
"It is a three-story Peruvian restaurant by the sea with an awesome view in Peru. The food there was sour and spicy, which is very close to what we have in Asia."

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten
"In Thailand, I had crocodile meat and snake blood."

Do you try to be authentic or adapt the cuisine to the local market?
"I try to be as authentic as possible, but there are times when I make a little modification to bring out the flavor of the food to make things interesting. Other times, I make modifications to the spice level. There are some customers who cannot handle it when the food is too spicy, so I will tone it down for their enjoyment."

Comment on the state of your local dining scene?
"The locals tend to have very high expectations of the quality of the food and want dishes to be served promptly. While competition is rife with so many eateries in Singapore, customers still go back to places that provide top-quality dishes.. Ambience is not the most important thing on diners' minds. Food quality is.

Most important or surprising thing you've learned as a chef or about food?
"I had the fortune to be trained under very good chefs who taught me the authentic method of cooking, how to manage a team and food costs, and how to be a good chef and effective leader. All these elements make up a good chef, and one is not more important than another. "

Contacts

Kopi Tiam,
level 2, Swissotel The Stamford Singapore, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore, (+65) 6431-6156.

Cafe Swiss, Swissotel Krasnye Holmy Moscow, 52 Kosmodamianskaya Naberezhnaya, Bldg. 6, 221-5350, M. Paveletskaya.