Baey Yam Keng, Member of Parliament for Tampines group representation constituency, has had a rough couple of years.
His wife, playwright Lim Hai Yen, was diagnosed with aphasia in 2020. Then, last year, he discovered he had stage one nose cancer after a regular eye check for glaucoma.
The Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Sustainability and the Environment had to undergo radiation therapy, and as a result, lost some weight. Thankfully, Baey has been cancer-free since April and soaking up life’s little moments after his health scare.
A peek at his Instagram page shows Baey cheerfully continuing his constituency activities as well as keeping up with his fitness routines and enjoying good food. For instance, he celebrated the news of being cancer-free by having a “nice couple dinner” with his wife.
And, yes, the 52-year-old still takes selfies.
We talked to him about some of his favourite meals and food haunts.
1. What dish reminds you of your childhood — and where did you get it?
It has to be the humble da pau (big steamed bun). I remember eating one at my late grandfather’s house in Hougang. As a young kid, the bun just seemed humongous and there was so much to enjoy!
It brought back memories earlier this year when my taste buds were affected due to my radiation treatment. I have since regained my taste buds, but the first time I discovered that I lost my sense of taste was when I was eating a da pau for breakfast.
2. What’s your go-to eatery in Singapore? Why?
I enjoy hawker food and the area I frequent most is Tampines N4 Neighbourhood Centre.
I am there for breakfast almost every Wednesday. For a little area, it boasts at least six coffee shops and three eating houses. Besides the wide range of food choices, that’s where I meet my residents who will say hi and wave to me. Good company always makes the food tastier!
3. When you travel, what’s one Singapore dish you always miss?
Bak chor mee, especially the one at Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre — Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles. It has been around for more than 30 years and was initially at Changi.
I always order the mee pok soup. The soup is just so rich and delicious.
The next generation has taken over the running of the stall from the original owner, Mr Lee. I feel that the taste is different, but it is great that young people are willing to take over the trade. We should encourage and support them.
4. What dish or cuisine do you want to try, but have not?
My wife’s cooking, but I have to wait till she wants to learn (smiles).
5. What’s the last thing you ate that impressed you — and where did you have it?
Meatless cuisine at Elemen@Millenia Walk. It is like modern fine dining but without the deep-fried mock dishes of a typical vegetarian menu. And a five-course dinner set costs less than S$30! Really value for money.