Our recipe is from 1970’s and adopted from Johor Bahru, Malaysia. We cook authentic Malaysian fishball noodles that our master had taught us. The special soup base is made of local premium pork bones and left to boil for 12 hours daily. Apart from the big pork bones, there are also other trade secret’s ingredients used for the soup base. We took this as an opportunity to set up the Malaysian’s Fishball Noodles in Singapore because it is a new idea and we want to continue this legacy of the master’s.
We are business associates for many years and had been stallholders before we began this food outlet. The business venture lies in the confidence of our recipe of fishball noodles that we felt is different from others. We are assured that people will enjoy our food and return for more. Besides fishball noodles, we also serve Nasi Lemak, Laksa, and other local delights all at one place.
What is your name & age, are you local?
My partner is Ng Swee Keng (right), 47 years old and I am Tan Chong Shing (left), 40 years old. Both of us are Singaporeans.
Why is your shop named as “Lao You Xuan” （老友轩）?
“Lao You”（老友）means old friends and “Xuan” (轩) means gathering.
When was it first established?
Our business was established on 14th May 2017.
What are your signature dishes?
Mee Pok Dry and Kway Teow Soup.
What makes your “Lao You Xuan” different from others?
Soup base is the most important. Ours is a secret recipe and we boil our soup for 12 hours everyday. It is sweet and tasty. Unlike others whose soups are bland tasting.
What is your favourite local food?
I like the Hakka Abacus Seeds at Plum Village, Upper Thomson Road and my partner Mr Ng likes Hainanese Chicken Rice at Block 304 Woodlands street 31.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in food business?
Both of us have vast experience in the knowledge and research of different types of food so we decided to start our own food business.
What has been your greatest professional success and biggest setback?
Our success is expanding our business from food stalls to restaurants.
Our biggest setback is a shortage of manpower and high turnover of staff.
What is your comfort food?
We both like to have coffee in the morning at Lao You Xuan (老友轩).
Do you cook at home?
Mr Tan: Seldom.
Mr Ng: No.
What does your fridge consists of?
Mr Tan: Fish, Ham, and Red Meat.
Mr Ng: Fish and Fruits.
Where is your favourite overseas foodie destination?
Mr Tan: I like to go Australia to enjoy their Fish & Chips by the beach.
Mr Ng: I like to eat street snacks in Taiwan and Thailand.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities as an owner?
We take care of the food quality and maintain the best ingredients for the customers. We also make sure our food has consistency in its standards.
What are the steps to becoming a restaurant owner?
They need to be hardworking, willing to sacrifice personal time and focus on the quality of food.
What do you think of the current market now?
Not very profitable at the moment because of the stiff competition in the market.
How do you think it will be in the next 10 years?
The prospects are good in the future as the country’s population increases.
Is there any interesting or helpful advice which you may provide to new-starters?
Use sincerity and put yourself wholeheartedly into the business. Use passion instead of profits as priority.
What would your last meal be?
Mr Tan: Home-cooked food by my mother.
Mr Ng: “Ngoh Hiang” cooked by my mother.
Lao You Xuan
Address: 413 River Valley Road Singapore 248311
Opening hours: 10.30am – 10.30pm Weekdays and 9am – 10.30pm Weekends.