Did You Know That GO Noodle House Got Its Name From A Stephen Chow Movie?
Say the words "GO Noodle", and the first thing that pops into mind is likely to be a piping hot bowl of noodle soup (preferably with bursting meat balls) or the restaurant's ancient China-inspired rustic decor
Since opening their first outlet in 2014, GO Noodle House has pretty much become a household name when it comes to Chinese cuisine and has since expanded to 19 outlets (and counting!) across the country with an overseas outlet in the pipeline for the end of December. Having just celebrated their third anniversary in June, the restaurant chain was co-founded by long-time friends Lee Hon Wai, Alvin Tan Kok Meng, and Mok Wai Peun.
In an interview with SAYS, GO Noodle House co-founders Alvin and Mok revealed that the restaurant's simple but memorable name was actually adapted from a line of dialogue in a Stephen Chow movie!
The three co-founders happened to be in the middle of a brainstorming session for their restaurant's name when the Stephen Chow movie 'Royal Tramp 2' happened to be playing. In a twist of fate, one particular scene caught their attention - when Chow's exclaimed, "Eh, yao kan hak cham (有間客棧) wor!" meaning "There's an inn!"
"So we changed it to "yao kan min gun" (有間麵館, meaning "there's a noodle house") and put it as one of our choices. In the end, we went with the one that's easier to remember, so that one wins," Alvin said.
As for the English name, it's simply a Manglish translation of the Chinese name i.e. "Got one noodle house", that was eventually shortened to GO Noodle House.
That's not the only thing they picked up from the movie. GO Noodle's iconic rustic decor and even the employee's uniforms were also inspired by the movie!
The traditional Chinese eating house concept - square wooden tables, rectangular wooden stools, walls lined with bottles of rice wine, mu ren zhuang standing in one corner - is a signature look across all GO Noodle House branches. Mok explained that all those elements were based on eating houses during the Qing Dynasty, the time period in which 'Royal Tramp 2' was set in.
"The uniform, the flooring, the tables and chairs, the deco... it's all from the movie," he said.
Alvin further elaborated that they decided on the concept because they wanted to create a welcoming ambience similar to the Qing Dynasty eating houses, which were frequented by the common folk.
"In the movie, a hak cham is not an expensive place. We wanted to show customers that this is an affordable place to eat in; we don't want them to think that it's an expensive restaurant," he added.
Aside from that interesting tidbit about the restaurant's name, we also learned that the restaurant owes its success to Alvin's mother's amazing soup recipe
It all started when the three co-founders - Lee, Alvin, and Mok - went to Alvin's mother's house for dinner. It so happened that one of the dishes she cooked was a Teochew-style soup, which impressed Lee and Mok so much that they decided that the soup should be shared with the world.
Over the next one year, they experimented with various noodles, chilli recipes, and even dry sauce recipes before discovering the winning combination we all know and love today. On that note, if you're wondering why the soup base is so fragrant, it's because they use yellow wine (aged for a minimum of three years) to enhance the fish-based soup's flavour.
In their search for the perfect noodles to complement the soup, the founders actually apprenticed with hawker sellers to learn the art of noodle-making as well as to make their "secret" sauces and chillies
Alvin revealed that one of the hawkers was initially reluctant to teach them how to make his "secret" noodles. However, after a lot of persistent persuasion, the hawker relented and accepted them as apprentices.
"We did it for about one or two weeks. It was quite hard lah, because the hawkers are used to waking up early in the morning so everything must be prepared by 6am for the morning crowd. We had to be there by 4am to help them open the shop," he recalled.
GO Noodle House currently has 19 outlets across Peninsular Malaysia. Check out the full list of outlets here.