It’s a good time to be Loh Kean Yew.
Not only did the Badminton World Federation’s reigning singles world champion reach a career high by breaking into the Top Ten in the latest BWF rankings, but he also got the opportunity to show off his cooking skills.
On Wednesday, Feb 23, Loh, 24, made his mother’s Huan Chu Char Bak—minced meat and potato dish in a video titled Loh Kean Yew Can Cook. That video on the BWF’s Facebook page, has been viewed more than 88,000 times.
Before this week, Loh had been ranked 12th by the BWF. On Tuesday, he reached the ninth spot, and in fact, is the only recent mover in the Top Ten.
Topping the list is Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, with whom Loh has trained and with whom he often exchanges comments on social media, to the delight of badminton fans ound the globe. (More on that later).
Loh’s rise since late 2021 has been no less than stellar. He had ranked just [PLEASE FILL IN] when he won the 2021 BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain, last December, the first Singaporean to achieve this feat.
While he lost in the final of the India Open championship to India’s Lakshya Sen last month, his performance at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Selangor last week helped a Covid-disrupted Singapore team to win the bronze.
And to think that around this time last year, Loh had been ranked 39th.
He can cook, too?
Off court, the athlete is showing he’s no slouch either.
“Loh Kean Yew has all the skills in the kitchen as well as on the court,” as the caption on BWT’s video says. Loh quipped: “Today’s mission is not to burn down the kitchen.”
He explained that he chose a dish his mother makes because he misses her home cooking. Penang-born Loh, came to Singapore when he was just 13, after his older brother and fellow badminton player, Loh Kean Hean, started studying at the Singapore Sports School.
The brothers have since become Singaporean citizens, while their parents and another brother still live in Penang.
Loh said he made a video call to his mother so she could show him how to cook Huan Chu Char Bak. He said he started cooking for himself during the Circuit Breaker in 2020.
“Because I’m from Penang, so I eat quite a bit of salt,” he said. “I have a heavier taste,” he said while mixing a good amount of oyster sauce into the dish.
The result? Two appetizing-looking dishes indeed, with Loh closing his eyes and throwing his head back in ecstasy upon tasting what he prepared.
He seemed equally glad he accomplished his mission of not burning down the kitchen.
But Loh took a ribbing from world champ Axelsen, who wrote, “I know for a fact that Loh Kean Yew can’t cook!!!!!”
“Viktor Axelsen I CAN MAKE MORE THAN JUST OATS,” Loh shot back.
The exchange prompted one commenter to suggest a cook-off between the two athletes.