Love for cooking

by | July 5, 2024

Steven Chong, better known as “Papa Chong”, has been sharing his cooking on Instagram since 2017.


Papa Chong cooking.

Retired businessman Steven Chong, better known as “Papa Chong” and father to actress Michelle Chong, has a passion for cooking. The 77-year-old and grandfather of five explained: “I’ve always been passionate about cooking for my family. For our family dinners, I will research new recipes, improve on my skills and take constructive feedback into consideration. I would go to different wet markets and supermarkets to buy the freshest ingredients. When we eat out, I would also take note of new dishes that I could replicate at home.”

It started out as him just cooking for the family and Michelle posting about it on her own Instagram page. However, she received comments asking for the recipes or the names of the dishes. So after she and him discussed, they decided that it would be more useful if he had his own personal Instagram account where he could share photos and videos of his cooking, as well as interact with his followers.

Papa Chong with daughter Michelle.

In July 2017, Papa Chong started his Instagram account (@papachongcooks). At the beginning he wasn’t used to the technology. “I was new to using Instagram when I started the account, so I wasn’t used to uploading, posting and interacting with my followers. But I’ve been learning from my children and grandchildren, as well as taking courses to upgrade my photography skills to improve my content.”

Like many others on social media who follow a schedule for posting, Papa Chong doesn’t. “I don’t have a strict schedule for posting, as it’s meant to be a fun way to share my cooking, travel and food content.” His Instagram page currently has a following of over 9,000,

He hopes that through his Instagram page, besides his love for cooking and travelling, which is his other love, that he can share the importance of family and the motivation it brings to him to cook. He said: “Having my family enjoy the food I cook brings me joy. I usually customise the menu to each person’s preference, for instance, my grandson likes Western food so I cooked chicken chops and mushroom soup for his birthday along with other dishes. I feel happy that it makes my family feel special.”

He also has taught his granddaughter some home-cooked food. “She is studying in Oxford, and I decided to teach her some simple dishes so that she can cook them for herself whenever she misses home-cooked food.”

A dinner he cooked for his family which he wanted to recreate some of the dishes he had in Taiwan from his recent holiday.

Papa Chong’s favourite dishes are chilli crab, pork trotters with vinegar, and niang tofu, which appear at the dinner table regularly. “These are dishes my family has enjoyed for many years, and I cook these dishes together with new recipes. I cook whenever there’s a special occasion, like birthdays or festivals.”

He continues to stay updated on IT and technology, as well as stay active doing qigong even though he has been experiencing joint pain which has restricted his activities. Though, he remains optimistic – “I’ve always been active, and when I was young I could run miles carrying a rifle with no problems. So this joint pain has been quite frustrating.” He has started taking chondroitin and is seeing some positive effects. Nonetheless, he shared this with other seniors: “Keep a positive mind and be physically active. Find things you enjoy doing and focus on your blessings.”


(** PHOTO CREDIT: Papa Chong and Michelle Chong’s Instagram pages – papachongcooks and immichellechong) 






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