The latest Woo Pin Fish Head Noodles outlet to open takes patrons on a very interesting aquatic journey to complement their signature offerings.
If you’re a true blood foodie in the Klang Valley, chances are you have come across the name Woo Pin before. A household name when it comes to good-quality homemade noodles, Woo Pin Fish Head Noodles is a homegrown family restaurant chain that has withstood the test of time, with the first outlet opening 18 years ago in Cheras. The much-deserved fanfare for the Woo Pin name has now culminated with the opening of their sixth branch, Woo Pin@45Kamunting.
Now, just because you’ve already been to a Woo Pin outlet don’t brush off this new addition just yet, for it boasts a secret ingredient – in fact three secret ingredients – that the other branches do not have: Alan Yun, Andrew Lim, and Mui Han, who have joined hands with second generation Woo Pin proprietor Wayne Liew to make this whimsical noodle house a reality.
And when I say whimsical I do mean whimsical. A chiselled merman swimming over to steal some of your noodles and slurp some of your soup? Check. A kingly, shirtless noodle vendor offering a bowl of soup as a token of love to an octopus (yes, you read that right)? Check. A bespectacled aging mermaid judging you from afar? Check. All these quirky murals are then perfectly complemented by indoor greens, vibrant wall colours, Chinese domestic paraphernalia from yesteryear – which somehow still remind you that you are at a noodle house at every turn.
“We have to thank our interior designer Lucas Goh for his touch,” says quarter-owner Alan Yun. If the name rings a bell, because it is the same Malaysian actor and the owner of popular Peranakan restaurant Limapulo, which is in fact located a mere stone’s throw away.
This proximity was especially helpful when Woo Pin@45Kamunting was taking shape, as the team only started working on the project after Chinese New Year this year. That only gave them about three months to get everything ready by opening day last week. There are still a few missing aspects, a proper signboard for one (UPDATE: the restaurant has since put up a new signboard), but it still doesn’t take away from the authenticity of the ambience, and most importantly the taste of the noodles.
“The idea was to preserve the building as it is while presenting a well-known brand rather than starting from scratch,” explains Mui Han referring to the 1920s pre-war shoplot of the noodle house, which was refurbished only once in 1960s.
The rapid “completion” of the restaurant was also possible due to the synergy of the four co-owners, each one bringing forward a different set of expertise. Alan’s a successful restaurateur in his own right while nobody knows the Woo Pin brand better than Wayne apart from his parents. As a business development consultant, Mui Han plans for the best and prepares for the worst while Andrew is the much-needed adhesive of the fully-functional team.
“Mui Han, Andrew, and I are schoolmates from 23 years ago and we regrouped for this project. I met Wayne at the Taman Desa Woo Pin branch ten years ago and we have been close friends since,” recalled Alan.
Although the interior stands as a strong contender, the main star of Woo Pin@45Kamunting is of course the namesake Fish Head Noodles. The quality of the signature dishes is consistent here, with the Fried Fish Soup still being the most-ordered dish on the menu. The fried bighead carp in the soup is meaty and could easily be substituted for the saltwater grouper. Our recommendation though is the Ball & Slices Soup, which comes with juicy pork balls and succulent pork slices.
There is, however, a secret ingredient that makes the soup and noodles such a hit amongst patrons.
“It’s the rice wine,” shares Wayne. “That’s why we are unable to lower the prices too much,” he continues.
Nevertheless, the price point does not seem to be any hindrance to the customers – especially the office workers in the Dang Wangi area – so far. Line forms by 12pm outside the restaurant and finding a place to sit could take some time.
While majority come for the noodles, there are some who come by to appreciate the murals, painted by artist Artsy Daphy who was flown in from Kuching to add her touches to the restaurant in only 2 and a half days.
But of course, the quartet is dreaming big for the restaurant.
“Moving forward, the idea is to stabilise the business to not only get the customers from around this area but to get customers outside of the area as well,” says Mui Han.
Alan Yun, Wayne Lim, Mui Han, Andrew Lim, Lucas Goh, and Artsy Daphy have done their part. So, when are you dropping by?
45, Jalan Kamunting,
Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 7.30am – 4.00pm
*All images by UPPRE.
**This story has been updated to reflect the recent changes at Woo Pin@45Kamunting.
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