What are the chances of Chinese actress Vicki Zhao and Singapore actor Li Nanxing being mentioned in the same breath?
As it turns out, the chances are pretty darned high, as Nanxing told us about his friendship with the actress while sipping wine at Grand Cru, a wine concierge that recently opened its doors at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
“We were introduced by mutual friends. I remember the celebratory dinners we had in China, where alcohol flowed freely all day,” he chuckled. “I’m not a great wine connoisseur. In fact, there are only three things that I can tell you about wine: whether it tastes good to me, if it gives me a headache the next day, and that adds up to whether or not I like it.”
Based on this very layman method of deciding on which wine is his cup of poison, Nanxing recalls being struck with how good Vicki’s wine is.
The actress has a sprawling vineyard, Château Monlot, St-Emilion Grand Cru located in Bordeaux. She bought it for an estimated price of between 4 to 5 million euos (S$6.17 to S$7.71 million) back in 2011, and has since started exporting wines all over the world.
“What I found strange was that it’s not available in Singapore! That’s why I recommended it to Grand Cru, and she’ll be personally here to launch her wine in September,” Nanxing beamed.
As we watched the 54-year-old swirl his wine rather expertly in his glass, we wondered out loud: Does he pop open a bottle every once in a while at home?
“That seems like a very lonely thing to do,” he quipped. “I have quite a lot of alcohol at home, including the baijiu that the Chinese love. It’s a lot stronger than regular alcohol, but at the same time, being gifted with baijiu is an honour, so it’s not a present that you can refuse.”
His ever-growing baijiu collection at home is only brought out when he has friends over, which Nanxing shares makes the alcohol taste better.
Besides, he added, he’s had so much alcohol in China that he’s not as big a fan as he used to be.
“When I was younger, I had the guts to drink a lot because I thought that I had youth on my side and could drink as much as I wanted. As I’m getting a little older, I tend to feel the after-effects of drinking a lot more the next day, so I’ve learned that I have to stay within my limits,” he explained.
At the boisterous celebratory parties over in China, however, he mused that there’s a tactic to keeping yourself sober – and not bowed over the toilet bowl puking your guts out – that he’s refined to a tee. “Make sure you eat before you go. It might seem like it’s said too much, but it’s really true. Make sure you eat proper food before you drink, and since you’ll definitely end up mixing your drinks, just make sure that you give yourself a time-out before you hit your limit. If you hide somewhere and down some water, the alcohol will pass out of your system sooner,” he mused.
A no-no that he strongly is against is forcing yourself to throw up the alcohol that you’ve consumed.
“What’s the point in that? You only end up harming your liver, and you still feel terrible. You don’t get instantly sober doing that. I’ve tried all sorts of methods, and all these supposed ‘quick fixes’ are just urban myths,” he shrugged.
While we were on the topic of China, we asked if he’ll be heading back anytime soon. While the exact details have yet to be finalised, Nanxing shared that he’ll be heading to China for an acting project later this year.
“Vicki has introduced me to more people that she knows, which is how I got to know the team that is working on my next project,” the actor revealed. “We’re helping each other out where we can, so it’s just a matter of extending the connections that we already have to each other to build an even stronger web.”