FIT TO LIVE | Nicole Fung
Tell us about That Food Cray !!!
That Food Cray !!! started as a passion project. When I first started writing, I honestly wasn’t expecting anyone to read it. I had just moved to Hong Kong from Canada and wanted to document my travels as well as everything I ate along the way. It was an outlet to express my love for food while sharing my adventures with friends and family. When I started the website, I was still working in the Finance industry but knew I had to find an exit strategy. My dream job has always involved food and travel. That Food Cray !!! isn’t my full-time job, but it has opened doors to a plethora of experiences that I am incredibly grateful for.
I think “That Shit Cray” is especially compelling. Kanye and Jay had millions of people chanting the phrase, was “That Food Cray” the original name for your media channels?
When I decided to start a website dedicated to food, thinking of a name was the hardest part. I’m a hip-hop lover and found myself obsessed with the Watch The Throne album, which at the time had just released. That Food Cray !!! was definitely inspired by the words of Jay and Yeezy (thanks, guys).
You grew up in the food and beverage industry and worked at your parents’ restaurant, what was it about the culinary profession that first reeled you in?
As a kid, I dreaded going to the restaurant with my parents. My parents would try to keep my brother and I out of the kitchen, in other words, away from all the fun stuff. As we got older, they began to trust us with basic prep work duties, such as wrapping spring rolls, wontons and dumplings. These were my favorite moments. I was also addicted to the Food Network. My brother and I would stay up all night watching Iron Chef, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali. I remember showing my little cousins the ropes whenever I had to babysit, pretending to be a Food Network host while baking cookies.
You graduated from the University of Calgary’s Bachelor of Commerce program majoring in accounting. I would consider this a bit of a stretch from what you are doing today with MISSBISH and That Food Cray !!! Have you always had a love for writing, photography, fashion and food or were these by-products of your love for travel?
I grew up in a fairly conventional Chinese household. Like every other Asian kid, my parents demanded high grades which would lead to a University degree in a program with job stability and fat paychecks. I was never passionate about anything I studied in school, switching programs three times before pursuing my Bachelor of Commerce degree. I just wanted a piece of paper, work a stable job I knew I wouldn’t like, save some money, and eventually be able to come up with a new game plan.
I’ve always loved fashion, food, and travel, albeit, these weren’t realistic career options in Calgary. It wasn’t until I moved to Hong Kong and met a ton of cool people including my husband, Eugene, who inspired me to explore my creative side. Photography and writing are things I’ve had to pick up along the way, but I’ve been fortunate to have met amazing friends who are also my mentors.
Aside from understanding food, you also have an incredible eye for food photography and composition. What is involved in making a dish photograph well?
The keys to food photography success are lighting and composition. Try to find the best light, this will save you a ton of time editing. Always keep the rule of thirds in mind and treat your viewfinder as a grid divided into nine rectangles. A lot of cameras have this feature built-in. It’s by no means something you need to religiously follow but something to consider before deciding your own rules. Post editing is important as well, but try not to overdo it with unnecessary filters… and no black & white food shots.
You were raised here in the Canada and have managed to make a move to Hong Kong, were there any barriers to jump when doing business?
Surprisingly, no. Moving to Hong Kong opened a lot of doors. I definitely would not be able to do what I’m doing now if I hadn’t moved away.
I read that you are obsessed with Japanese food and its culture. The Japanese culture as you point out embrace quality and are meticulous in just about everything they do to ensure a high standard is achieved from textiles to food. What is your favourite Japanese dish?
I LOVE SUSHI! Real sushi though, none of that California roll nonsense. I love sitting at the sushi bar, ordering omakase, and watching the sushi chef hand craft every single piece of sushi.
You’ve been able to work with big names like Aziz Ansari through Esquire and Philips. Do you have a favourite project to date and a dream project?
I love staying at hotels! I’ve worked with a few hotels in the past, but would like to work more with the hospitality industry. The lowkey Nicole has always wanted to help curate special menus for McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell haha..
What do you dream for That Food Cray to become and what do you intend to do to get there?
I want That Food Cray !!! to really push towards creating great, educational and entertaining content in a relevant way. There are so many ideas that we have but just haven’t had the opportunity to explore just yet.
On the Cray Scale how would you rank your culinary skills?
3.5 on a good day. I’m better at baking haha.
What and where was the last meal that blew your mind?
Supernormal in Melbourne and ACME in Melbourne.
If Tinder was a food-based app what three meals would you swipe right for and form where?
ACME’s spaghetti with vodka sauce, mascarpone and fish roe. (Sydney)
The Mandarin Grill’s “Forest Walk,” shaped like a mushroom with the cap made of creamy foie gras mousse and the stem consisting of chicken liver mousse coated in a white chocolate shell. (Hong Kong)
Dosanjin’s sudachi soba (Tokyo)
Best Canadian food spot you’ve been?
Canadian food eh? I had left Calgary before there the food scene really started taking shape. Whenever I go back, I usually stuff my face with pho. Canada’s pho game is on point and still the best in my opinion. My brother’s Alberta beef steaks are legit too, does that count?
The last feature on MISSBISH that got you excited?
Marawa the Amazing! She has worked with the circus and holds a world record for spinning the most hula hoops at once. She’s amazing.
Place you have yet to travel that is on your food hit list?
The strangest thing you have eaten?
Bull penis or shirako (cod sperm). The penis was whatevs, just like beef tendon but the shirako is sooooo creamy.
Kanyeezy or Jigga Man?
Tough call – but Jigga is my man.
How can people connect with you?
Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, Swarm, Foursquare – @thatfoodcray
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org.