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Meeting the other side of Poh Ling Yeow

Submitted by on March 22, 2011 – 12:23 pm30 Comments

A person’s favourite films can say alot about who they are. I was invited along to see Poh Ling Yeow present her Top Flicks to an intimate studio audience – being the only movies she can bring if she were banished to a desert island held at ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image) Federation Square which also featured David Surman who interviewed Poh throughout the show.

Previous ‘Celebrity Castaways’ that have participated in the Desert Island Flicks program include renowned author and critic David Stratton, Disney producer Roy Conli and filmmaker genius Tim Burton. Speaking of Tim Burton, it may be unwise for me to divulge this information, but I’ve seen Beetlejuice 88 times to date and without a doubt is my all time favourite film. Everything about it from the wacky and eccentric characters, the score, the giant sandworms to the premise around the afterlife – it just takes you to another world of welcomed weirdness. A classic.

With a career centered around food and creativity, an interesting fact to note is that in addition to being an amazing artist and TV talent, Poh Ling Yeow has also delved into film production as well as starring in gems such as Peaches, Jackie’s Spring Palace and Human Touch. So with that in mind, let’s begin with a few of Poh’s Top Five Desert Flicks shall we…



One word: disturbing. The clip shown had the audience gagging. Let me paint the picture- a boy bathing in dark murky water resembling that of sewerage, eating Spaghetti Bolognese whilst being shampooed by his mother who doesn’t seemed at all fazed about the whole situation. I think the most hilarious part was when the kid accidentally dropped the dessert (a chocolate bar) into the water, picked it up and proceeded to eat it again! OMFG…I was ready to barf right then and there!

The story is about a town in Ohio that has just been hit by a tornado- which would explain the bad state of their water. What’s interesting is that there isn’t  much dialogue but rather clip after clip of unusual characters and bizarro.

On Gummo, Poh says that “leaving a religion where everything was so black and white, the film makes everything so utterly grey- seeing the world as it is.  The film had such a huge effect on me.”

The approach of the film is also “very realistic in that it showcased how you would actually see life . We’re so accustomed to seeing a a film with the story being told as a whole, often missing out on the details that would help piece it all together” Poh explains.


Poh Ling Yeow's favourite film Gummo

I Am

Next up was a European film called I Am which was an accidental find watching SBS one night. Poh says” it’s my all time favourite film..essentially a love story.” The premise of the movie revolves around two underage children (the boy being an orphan) and their relationship that develops over time.


Desert Island Flicks with Poh Ling Yeow

Midnight Cowboy

Directed by John Schlesinger, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, is about a male prostitute and his goofy friend looking out for each other trying to survive on the tough streets of New York City. Poh says “I love this film as it pushes the film medium and how it focuses on the human condition being about people who are out of place and then finding each other.

midnight cowboys

The Cap Off

The event portrayed the Poh that we usually see cooking on screen in a different light, telling us stories of her childhood including her *giggles* ‘crushes,’ career as an artist and how the films that were showcased, truly represented who she is. Because it was a small crowd in an intimate studio at the Australian Centre for Moving Image, it allowed everyone to openly partake in the Q&A that followed. It was a freakin awesome show and I can’t wait for the next Desert Island Flicks event.

Chatting  to the quirky and always cheerful Poh afterwards, I thanked her for featuring Filipino cuisine on her show. We got talking about our heritage, growing up in Australia, cooking of course, what we ate for lunch at school and how the items in our lunchboxes looked so  different to that of our classmates’ (LOL!)  I also noted her surprising but good choice of films! No sign of Eat Drink Man Woman or Julie & Julia here people.

If you’re reading this, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you. I promise to watch Gummo soon! Although I must warn friends not to be eating during the film…eew.

Zee Details

Desert Island Flicks at ACMI

Federation Square, Studio One held once a month

For more information, visit:

Poh’s Kitchen

Wednesdays 6:30PM ABC1

Thursdays 6:00PM ABC2

Grab a copy of Poh Ling Yeow’s cookbook Poh’s Kitchen at all leading bookstores!

Food Rehab attended as a guest of ACMI.

So um, what’s your favourite foodie flick?

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