Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jaya Noodle House @ Jaya One PJ Wai Sek Kai

My set lunch - rice with ginger chicken and herbal soup.

Jaya Noodle House established in 1975 is “the first air-conditioned noodle house in PJ.”

 Well, read more here:

Monday June 9, 2008

Jaya Noodle House among the last to move out


MORE than three decades of sharing an address is bound to leave one with a tinge of nostalgia.

Jaya Noodle House founder and head chef Lai Kok Choy, however, has a more pragmatic approach in dealing with change. Believing that people should evolve with the times, he simply uprooted his restaurant of 33 years to make way for new development and moved to a different address.

“My dad was one of the pioneer group of tenants to set up shop in Jaya Shopping Centre, then known as the Jaya Supermarket, at Section 14, Petaling Jaya.

“He was also among the last few to move out after we were informed of plans to demolish the building and turn it into a lifestyle mall,” Lai’s youngest daughter Chelsea, 37, revealed at the Jaya Noodle House's new premises at Jaya One, PJ.
Nostalgic sight: The old orange-and-cream tables and chairs are still a fixture at the outlet.
The new Jaya Noodle House opened in February and conveniently overlooks Jalan 13/6, opposite the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman's PJ campus. It nestles among eateries established at the Glutton’s Row known as Wai Sek Kai.

When her father opened Jaya Noodle House in 1975 with three other partners, Chelsea was only four years old while her sisters, Bee Ling and Bee Kuan were seven and six, respectively. They now handle public relations, finance and kitchen operations.

A poultry supplier by trade, Lai went to Hong Kong to learn about the concept of a noodle house and returned to set up “the first air-conditioned noodle house in PJ.”

He and his partners came up with a modest capital of RM5,000 each to start Jaya Noodle House but Lai bought over their shares two years later.
Still at it: Lai is still hard at work in the kitchen 33 years on.
“I decided to go with my instincts to stay put and abide by the management’s decision to increase rental because Jaya had the Cold Storage Supermarket then and people would swing by the noodle house after grocery shopping.

“We stayed on till the eve of Chinese New Year this year because Cold Storage was still open and our regulars kept coming by,” Lai said.

Initially, the noodle house had eight to nine items on its limited menu. An original copy is still available where a bowl of Abalone Noodles was then priced at RM3.80. The present menu offers over 70 dishes, including stalwarts like the Pig’s Fore Shank Noodles, Steamed Duck with Salted Cabbage Soup, Stewed Beef Brisket Noodles and Yok Chuk Chicken Soup.

“Our local cook has been with us for over 20 years but my dad is still the best cook. He still makes the best Char Siew Noodles and we are grateful that his personal touch has remained throughout the years,” Chelsea said while giving her father a fond glance.

The sprightly senior citizen turns 66 this year and has not thought about retiring.

“Your mind wanders when you have free time and I prefer to keep myself busy. I relax by working out at the Clark Hatch Fitness Centre at the Hilton Petaling Jaya,” he said but Chelsea cheekily prodded him and said he also headed there for naps.

The warmth shared by father and daughters flows through the restaurant that has many regulars. One of the ways Jaya Noodle House has maintained its old customers is by retaining the old orange-and-cream chairs and tables.
Blast from the past: An old photograph of Lai standing in front of the old premises of the outlet at Jaya Supermarket, as it was then known.

“People are often unable to read our sign while driving by but glancing at the tables and chairs does the trick. Most of our customers are also senior citizens and Jaya One has ample ramps and parking facilities for the elderly and disabled,” Chelsea explained.

The noodle house is the same size as before but has its own washrooms and was renovated at a cost of RM200,000 to include a new kitchen.

Rental is a cool RM25,000 monthly, a far cry from the RM2 per sq ft (0.09 sq m) Lai paid when he first opened at Jaya Supermarket.

When Lai opened there, only a handful of the lots were occupied. It is the same scenario in Jaya One with the Lai family poised once again for a new beginning.

JAYA NOODLE HOUSE (Non-halal) Lot 35-LG2, Block C, Jaya One, No 72A, Jalan University, Petaling Jaya (Tel:03-7954 2639). Business Hours: Daily, 10am to 10pm.

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