Review: Bursting Meatballs And More Tasty Bits At Go Noodle House

Review: Bursting Meatballs And More Tasty Bits At Go Noodle House

A chance encounter with an age-old recipe spurred a Malaysian noodle chain on to multi-national success

Maybe it's the silky Jiangxi-style mi xian, or the aromatic and umami perfection of a broth that’s accentuated with shao xing hua diao jiu (Chinese yellow rice wine). Throw in prices that are not too shabby for Orchard Road and it’s not hard not to see why GO Noodle House Singapore has been enjoying a snaking queue come mealtime, pretty much since opening day.

Superior Broth with Clams (with mi fen). Photo: Jessica Chan

Founders and longtime friends - Lee Hon Wai, Alvin Tan Kok Meng, and Mok Wai Peun - didn’t look far for the winning broth that would propel their humble outfit in Kuala Lumpur into a chain with over 30 outlets in Malaysia, Australia and, now, Singapore. (They’ve also plans for New Zealand, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines). It was hiding in Tan's home kitchen all along. Tan’s mother inherited a time-honoured recipe from her village, one that’s supposedly passed down from the imperial chef of Kangxi Emperor (fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty).

What makes that broth oh-so-special? It’s been boiling in an undisclosed location in Shah Alam, Kuala Lumpur since the company’s founding in 2014, with forty over types of fish bones sourced from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines added in daily. The flavoursome broth is then frozen at -20°C and shipped to all outlets, including those overseas. The final piece of the puzzle? A complimentary shot of shao xing hua diao jiu that’s theatrically doused onto your noodle dish upon serving. 

Signature Bursting Meatball in Homemade Spicy Soup. Photo: Jessica Chan

But what keeps diners coming back is the plethora of toppings. Not only can you choose from a menu of best sellers, you can top up the bowl with their signature bursting meatballs ($10.90/bowl; $2.90/topping), handmade fish paste ($11.90/bowl; $3.50/topping) or tender chunks of stewed beef tendon ($13.90/bowl; $3.90/topping). Remember to throw in a heaping teaspoonful of their fiery chilli sauce for an extra oomph. 

Special Spicy Dark Sauce with Onsen Egg (with thick pan mee). Photo: Jessica Chan

That’s not all the menu has to offer, much to everyone’s delight. GO Noodle House also does a banging bowl of pan mee. While the soup version is available, go for the Hakka Sauce Pan Mee with Century Egg ($9.90) or Special Spicy Dark Sauce with Onsen Egg ($9.90). Either makes for the ideal base for their range of a la carte choices, from the plump Chinese Dumplings ($9.90) to Golden Pillow ($8.90) a.k.a fried tofu skins.

If you need further convincing, peng, leng and cheng (translating to cheap, good quality and tasty) are the three Cantonese words you’d use to describe a meal at GO Noodle House. It’ll leave you overtly satisfied yet yearning for another bowl, sans the sticker shock - a rare quality along Singapore’s Orchard Road.

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