HE IS neither a Michelin-starred chef, nor a ‘qualified’ one, but a simple man with tonnes of knowledge on cooking hacks. Syaf Kun finds creative and easy fixes or shortcuts instead of using conventional cooking methods.
On top of that, 31-year-old Syaf Kun, real name Muhammad Syafiq, adds his own touch to the food with his unique cooking style, provides cooking tips and lists an estimation cost to prepare his delicious food on his Instagram page @Syafkun.
Instead of barbecuing meat using the proper BBQ appliances, which he finds “troublesome to set up”, Syaf Kun makes barbecuing easy with simple hacks, using only a steel bowl which can be easily found in MR.D.I.Y. outlets.
“I find the conventional method too troublesome, especially when one does not have a proper kitchen area or tools or when travelling.
“Hence, I started to experiment by cooking without compromising on the quality and taste, but with a less hectic or difficult cooking process,” he said.
“Sometimes, these ideas come through keen observation or through a trial-and-error method,” added Syaf Kun.
“Using a rice cooker can be challenging to cook food such as sup tulang (bone soup), and it is a lot easier and more suitable to use the pressure cooker.
“If it’s made using a rice cooker, it might take a while to cook. But hey, that is the challenge.”
Cooking made easy
Syaf Kun has garnered himself a huge online following thanks to his simple ‘lifehack’ posts but these ideas began from his days in university, while he was pursuing a degree in (Mechanical Engineering) at Vanderbilt University in the USA.
At the time, he had to cook daily meals in a small dorm room with very limited resources.
“Being in a foreign country for five years, I managed [to fulfil] my daily ‘fix’ (chicken rice) in a rice cooker. Since then, I have enjoyed making simple and interesting recipes, shortcuts that can be made at any time, anywhere,” he said.
He recalled one funny incident that took place during his early days of experimenting with cooking.
“During my university days, I was yearning for homemade food but I made a [few errors] with the first few dishes. I accidentally generated too much smoke, which triggered the fire alarms, and firefighters came to my rescue,” he said.
“It is a memory that I will never forget. Lesson learnt. There was no more smoke after that experience.”
Syaf Kun’s favourite
His favourite dish is chicken rice. Why?
“It’s a simple dish, yet very delicious and healthy,” said Syaf Kun, who prefers to cook Asian cuisine rather than western ones. He also likes tasty desserts such as Japanese egg pudding.
“Desserts are fairly delicious and easy to do. After all, who doesn’t like desserts? In fact, some desserts such as milk pudding or Japanese egg pudding is easily made in rice cookers in less than 15 minutes,” he added.
A huge following
His number of followers has been steadily on the rise since 2018, when Syaf Kun first became a food influencer, currently numbering almost half a million on his Instagram page.
Did he ever expect to be able to reach out to so many?
“It was unexpected as I am not a [professional] chef, but [was promoting] cooking with a rice cooker or as I call it ‘rice cooker hacking’. People started to notice and the rest is history,” said Syaf Kun.
“I feel that ‘lifehacks’ are interesting and easily adapted to all parts of our lives, and not just food. This is probably why I have a large number of followers,” he humbly explained.