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Interview: Mark Wiens Offers Tips When Choosing Good Food During Travels

“Food Affair with Mark Wiens” will take viewers on an exciting food adventure in Singapore through the eyes (and mouth) of the well-known food vlogger, Mark Wiens. In “Food Affair with Mark Wiens”, viewers can explore the old stories, personalities, and history behind Singapore’s smorgasbord of cuisines from Haute to hawker cuisine!

With over 9 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Mark Wiens is no stranger to sharing his passion for street food. Exploring food and its culture everywhere from the Seashell Island of Senegal to the rural mountain of Azerbaijan – this man is truly the one true foodie!


Q: How will you show yourself differently between “Food Affair With Mark Wiens” and your YouTube vlog?

When it comes to “Food Affair”, there was a lot more planning that went into the production. There was a huge team that was part of it. I was just a small part of the entire production. And one of the things that I really liked that differentiates it from the style that I’ve typically made is throughout these episodes, we really had the time to sit down and talk with the chef or the food expert within each episode – and learn about their stories more on a personal and in-depth level. And really learn about the thought process that went into their cooking and the dishes that they serve. So that was something that was really memorable and I think very valuable.

Q: There are a lot of travel food shows out there. What makes “Food Affair With Mark Wiens” different?

What I really liked about “Food Affairs” specifically and what I think makes it unique is how it seamlessly kinda bridges that gap between fine dining and hawker food! How you can have an equally satisfying meal at a fine dining restaurant and at a humble hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

And actually one of the things that we uncovered in learning about a lot of the chefs is that they draw inspiration from a lot of hawker food – or family cooking or memories from their childhood – in what they cook at their fine dining restaurant.


Q: How do you maintain your weight after eating so many different foods?

I do exercise as much as I can. I like to jog, and I like to go to the gym. And I do think food goes together with exercise – it’s a good balance. One of the things I also avoid is, I don’t particularly like sweets or sugary drinks. I usually try to stay away from sugar as much as I can. I like spicy food! I sweat it all out!

Q: What do you consider when choosing a restaurant?


There is a little bit of criteria that a few food friends and I come up with. One of them is historical. For instance, I was at a restaurant a few months ago in Spain that says they’re the oldest, continually opened restaurant in the world. So, even if the food is slightly touristy at that restaurant, I still believe it’s interesting to go there because of its historical significance. And the food was actually pretty good!

Another reason is if they serve something funny. Like a gigantic mountain of bones, or something like that which is always entertaining and funny. And then the other is just choosing really authentic, delicious food that is local. So, that’s my biggest genre, probably.


Q: We love your reactions when you taste new food. What do you though when you don’t particularly like it?

If I don’t really like the food, I might not give so much of a reaction or just kinda ‘Okay, let’s move on to the next dish!’ or something like that (chuckles). But I believe that food is so subjective and we all have different taste buds. So my actual goal in making food videos is not so much to give a rating to food but rather to explain the food, describe what’s in it, and maybe show the cultural significance of it. Maybe just give my own initial emotion – the viewers can decide what they think about that.

Q: Do you have any tips and tricks when choosing good food while travelling?

Try to start off at a market. That’s where you can learn a lot about the ingredients. But don’t go to the market in the middle of the day, try to go at 5am in the morning, cause that’s when tourists are not there at that time. At that time you can kinda analyze, there might be something that has a line or people eating that’s very popular.

That goes for walking down the street as well. You want to keep an eye out for something that’s popular, that has a line. Lines usually mean good – can be good or can be cheap. But both are good! So just pay attention, and see what looks good.


A star-studded panel of guests will also appear on the show including; famous fine-dining chefs, seasoned cooks as well as legendary hawkers! Through their conversations, Mark learns about the artistry and stories, as well as the distinctive and rich culinary heritage. The six-episode series is set to premiere on 18th November on HBO and HBO GO.

Puteri Teja contributed to this article.

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