Interview: Chef Roy Foo

With over 25 years of culinary experience under his belt, award-winning veteran Chef Roy Foo leads a 35-strong team at both Tong Dim Noodle Bar. 

Chef Roy Foo, Chef De Cuisine, Tong Dim Noodle Bar

Tell us about your background and culinary journey.

I grew up in a small town near Segamat in Malaysia, and remember looking forward to the weekends when my family would drive to nearby towns to dine at different restaurants. When I went Hong Kong to study, I took up part-time jobs at various restaurants and was always amazed at how a restaurant team works seamlessly. Over time, I grew to love Chinese cuisine and started my culinary journey in 1995. I spent many years working in renowned Chinese restaurants in Singapore and Shanghai. The experiences taught me to reimagine Chinese cuisine to suit different palates while retaining the essence of its origins.  One of the proudest moments of my career was being recognised by the Restaurant Association of Singapore in 2010 for my work in mentoring young chefs.

What is your culinary philosophy?

In Chinese cooking, there’s a lot of emphasis on keeping the original flavours of each ingredient. So choosing the right quality produce is the first step for me. Then, it’s about using my skills and creativity to enhance the flavours, and balance textures and taste. This process requires years of experience as well as the curiosity to keep discovering and improving.

What are the different types of dishes served at Tong Dim Noodle Bar? And what are some must-try dishes?

There is so much to explore with Chinese cuisine, whether through the diverse cooking methods or regional nuances. Our current menu at Tong Dim features a wide selection of appetisers and sharing plates inspired by major cities famous for their cuisine, including Szechuan, Hunan, Dongbei and Zhejiang. Dishes like the Szechuan-Style Baby Lobster with Chinese Wine in Claypot and Szechuan Hot and Sour Broth Noodles with Shredded Chicken are especially popular among diners who love spicy and savoury dishes.

How do you go the extra mile to surprise and delight guests?

There’s a Chinese saying that a good dish should be visually pleasing, fragrant and tasty. So we make sure all of our dishes are made fresh upon order, served hot, and made using the highest quality ingredients. We also focus a lot on the presentation of the dishes, and this is where I love to delight my guests by sharing my love in calligraphy art. When our regulars come to celebrate a special occasion, I will pen a Chinese poem or a customised greeting onto the plate using squid ink. I believe special touches like these make the dining experience more memorable.

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