Khoo finds a connection between the two dishes’ humble beginnings as affordable nourishment for the working class, and how both succeed or fail by their slow-simmered pork bone broth.
“Tatsumi”) run their family ramen shop in Takasaki, a city in Gunma prefecture, East Japan.
Still there’s no denying that the step-by-step demonstration of how bak kut teh is made is an eye-opening show.
The real climax, however, happens when Uncle Wee introduces Masato to his maternal grandmother (Jacqueline Aw), the catalyst that inspires the titular fusion dish.
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He searches for his uncle Wee (Mark Lee, aka Lee Kok Huang of “Money No Enough”), who ran the family bak kut teh (pork rib soup) joint.
Flashbacks to how Kazuo and Mei Lian met and fell in love intersperse with Masato’s own childhood memories of Singapore.
It’s a pity the film doesn’t make more of his character’s potential for comic eccentricity, and when Wee passes on the cherished family recipe to his nephew, it seems too easy — compared with classic culinary films like Juzo Itami’s “Tampopo” or Stephen Chow’s “God of Cookery,” where the secret sauce is a holy grail which the protagonist has to undergo trials to attain.
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He’s resentful of his father, who became workaholic and distant since his Singaporean wife Mei Lian (Beatrice Chien) passed away.
When Kazuo dies from a sudden stroke, Masato decides to go to Singapore, where he was born and raised as a child.
It occasions a sobering reminder of history that underscores the film’s motif of forgiveness and reconciliation.