SINGAPORE - As Asian societies hurtle towards urbanisation and modernisation, the chase for greater convenience, speed and efficiency never ends. Where then, does that leave our traditional culinary heirlooms? Century-old dishes that demand time and patience, yet trigger collective memories of delight, and espouse the wisdom of health and nutrition.
Aun Koh, better known for his moniker, Chubby Hubby, and one of Singapore’s foremost food bloggers, tracks down the guardians of these disappearing recipes. He uncovers the stories behind our changing food culture, as he learns to cook these dishes. Through creativity, Aun pays homage to these traditions by giving the foods a modern twist - entrenching them not only in history, but also in the here and now.
Aun Koh has always been obsessed with food, travel and storytelling. He started his career as a print journalist, and later became the head of visual arts and literature at the National Arts Council. It was there, while revamping the Singapore Writers’ Festival that he first discovered blogs, and was inspired to start his own, focusing on his love of food and travel. He called it Chubby Hubby because that was his favorite flavor of ice cream and one his wife had banned him from eating, as he was beginning to resemble the name.
This passionate foodie has written, edited or published several cookbooks, including the Six Senses Cookbook, Chiva Som's Thai Spa Cuisine, French Classic...Modern Twist, Justin Quek's Passion & Inspiration, and Savour Chinatown.
He's currently the Chief Curator of Straits Clan, a social network and private membership club for creatives, entrepreneurs and persons engaged in social leadership.
(PREMIERE) Episode 1: Saturday, February 10, 2018, 9.30pm
A SWEET TREASURE - DULCE PRENDA
Aun heads to the Philippines in search of the Dulce Prenda, a vanishing pastry which was invented by the poor in the 18th century as a religious offering to the Virgin Mary. Through this “sweet treasure”, he hopes to discover more about Filipino cuisine, its influences and evolution.
Episode 2: Saturday, February 17, 2018, 9.30pm
TRIBAL RICE DISH - YAO YAO FAN
A culinary discovery takes Aun up Taiwan’s central mountain range to a Paiwan tribal village. He learns about Yao Yao Fan, a simple dish that hails back to the tribe’s past as a foraging people. With modern conveniences and changing tastes, this dish is at risk of becoming lost.
Episode 3: Saturday, February 24, 2018, 9.30pm
THE KING'S FAVOURITE - KACHAR MAANS
Aun arrives in Jodhpur, India, for the king’s favourite, a meat stew called Kachar Maans. Dating back some 200 years, it was originally cooked in the jungle with game meat hunted on royal expeditions. But with hunting now banned in India, how can this deluxe camping food fit for royalty survive?
Episode 4: Saturday, March 03, 2018, 9.30pm
FISHERMAN'S DELICACY - CURRY MOHLYU
Aun is back on home ground, but finds himself totally unfamiliar with a Singaporean Eurasian dish called Curry Mohlyu. This is a food borne out of Portuguese Eurasian history and culture.
Before they formed the backbone of British colonial civil service, they were fishermen.
Episode 5: Saturday, March 10, 2018, 9.30pm
EATING NOSE TO TAIL - CABEZA DE JABALI
Nose to tail eating, where no part of an animal goes to waste, is a current global fad. But for centuries, Filipinos have been creatively cooking bits and ends like feet, innards and blood. This week, things get heady with the pricey Cabeza de Jabali – cold cuts of meat made with a boar’s head.
Episode 6: Saturday, March 17, 2018, 9.30pm
EATING BETTER THAN KINGS - ZU AN SMOKED FISH
China’s literati is said to eat better than the emperor. Bringing the pursuit of refinement into food, they create dishes like Henan’s Zu An Smoked Mandarin Fish, with demanding fire control, and intricate “flower knife work” which gets the fish curling like a blossom when fried.
Episode 7: Saturday, March 24, 2018, 9.30pm
SOUL FOOD – DAIMYO NI
Among the four styles of cooking that make up Kyoto’s cuisine, obanzai or traditional cooking is the least known. Aun discovers that even as some of their dishes are served at restaurants and sold at stores, Kyoto residents are losing the knowledge and skill to cook what they call soul food.
Episode 8: Saturday, March 31, 2018, 9.30am
PORK PERFECTION - BABI TOHAY
Made with a sauce that takes 30 days to perfect. An ingredient, 'grago' shrimp, that money often can’t buy because of sporadic supply. All the reasons why a Singapore Peranakan braised pork dish, Babi Tohay, is vanishing. Chef Malcolm Lee of Michelin-starred Candlenut Restaurant, shares his secrets.