ANG Kiam Meng, co-owner and general manager of the Jumbo Seafood restaurant chain, never thought that he'd make food his career.
The earnest, easygoing 45-year-old was trained in computer science and had worked as a software engineer for Singapore Technologies for seven years.
But in 1993, he took over Jumbo - which belonged to his father and several other shareholders - when they wanted to expand it.
'And I like eating, so it wasn't a hard decision,' says the father of four children aged 18, 17, 14 and seven. He is also the president of the Restaurant Association of Singapore.
Now, 20 years after it was first founded, Jumbo is a chain of six outlets that sells 1,000kg of crabs daily.
It also offers innovative dishes like beef fillet with pepper sauce, seafood bacon with salad cream, and recently introduced a refreshing fruit juice made with a mystery vegetable.
Next March, Jumbo - along with Palm Beach restaurant, Seafood International restaurant and Kriston catering group - will jointly open a Singapore-style seafood restaurant in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo called Seafood Republic.
What's your ultimate favourite food?
Satay. I like the sweet Malay kind, and I like the not-so-sweet Chinese kind. When I was a child, I could eat 100 sticks at one go. Now, my favourite stall is Fatman Satay at stall No. 1 at Lau Pa Sat. I can eat 20 sticks easily, but for health reasons, I stop at 10.
Other than your own restaurant, which eateries do you patronise regularly?
I normally go to the Lavender foodcourt in Jalan Besar for hawker food. It's got a good mix of food - very good satay, mee pok, popiah, wonton mee and chai tow kway (carrot cake). For restaurants, I like Sun With Moon Dining in Wheelock Place for its innovative Japanese cuisine. My children like it too.
What dish are you most famous for?
Chilli crab. It's selling better than our pepper crab and I have to say thank you to the Singapore Tourism Board because of all its marketing and promotion to tourists. Our chilli crab gravy is made with more than 13 ingredients.
But personally, I prefer the pepper crab because the aroma is more pungent and unique. The gravy is made from a mixture of black and white pepper, roasted in a secret ingredient, then ground and cooked in stock.
Honestly now, don't you get tired of eating crabs all the time?
No, I really enjoy it very much. Every time I eat it after not having it for some time, I'm always amazed at how nice it is. From the bottom of my heart, I think it's nice.
Most Singaporeans say the national dish is chilli crab. What do you think?
I think it's satay. There are Malay and Chinese versions, and all the races enjoy it. To me, the smell of satay is the best smell in the world.
What's one childhood food that you can't find anymore?
Ice ball, which is just shaved ice shaped into a ball and covered with evaporated milk and coloured syrup. It cost 5 or 10 cents each and school children loved it. You hold it in your hands and quickly slurp it up before it melts.
Also, I grew up in the Aljunied area and there used to be hawkers selling lor mai kai (glutinous rice with chicken) and popiah, Teochew pork porridge and yew char kway (fried dough fritters) from their bicycles and tricycles. Now, they're hard to find.
Do you like Western food?
Frankly, I appreciate Asian food more. Western food is okay once in a while, but I find it quite boring.
So you're the type who can't live without rice?
No, I can live without rice. What I really can't live without is noodles. I often go to Crystal Jade Kitchen for its Hong Kong-style noodles. I even love instant noodles, especially Indomie's mee goreng - the one with sweet soy sauce and onion oil. If it wasn't so unhealthy, I'd eat it every day.
What ingredients do you think are overrated?
I'm going to offend lots of Western chefs but I think it's truffles and foie gras. I just can't appreciate them.
Do you forbid your children from eating anything?
No. Food is an enjoyment and I don't stop them. But I always tell them to eat in moderation, especially my son, who is turning out to be a foodie. At seven years old, he loves his laksa and salmon sashimi.
What's your favourite junk food?
Potato chips. Once I start, I just can't stop. My favourite is Lays' barbecue flavour. Every time I drive to Kuala Lumpur, I'll have one packet with me to keep me awake.
What would your last meal be?
'Satay. I'll have pork because I like the fatty chunks. And I'll eat as many sticks as I can since there would be no tomorrow.'
From now until March 31, Citibank card members enjoy 10 per cent off their total bill at all Jumbo Seafood outlets. For every $100 spent from now until Dec 31, members also double their chances of winning Jumbo's 20th anniversary lucky draw.