Tan Yin Han, also known as Tan Sin or Chan Sin , the stall is named after him. In 1931, Tan Sin travelled from Xinhui of Guangdong, China to Southeast Asia and settled in Johor. He started in the food business, selling Laksa and stuffed tofu initially. Years later, he met an old master and learnt to make wonton noodles using bamboo pole. In 1953, Tan Sin modified and made some improvement on the noodle making and started his eponymous Wonton noodles business using a three-wheeled mobile stall, based either at the nearby Main Bus Station of Pontian or following the visiting Chinese Opera Shows with the help of his eldest son at nearby villages during festive seasons, where they built temporary stages for performances.
My father- Chan Ha Chai, the son of Tan Sin, has been helping his father since the tender age of 10. In1978, Ha Chai decided to rent a shop next the Jindu cinema instead of the mobile stall. Later in 1988, the cinema was demolished and they moved into a coffee shop across the road called 8383 and continue their noodles business. As times goes by, my father still gets up every morning to make noodles in the traditional way - by pressing the dough using a bamboo pole at one end, and sitting and bouncing on the other end until the dough became firm and elastic. The dough would then be shredded into thin noodles using machine.
My father- Chan Ha Chai has been helping his father since the tender age of 13. In 1960, they rented food stalls in various coffee shops to sell noodles. They started off at a coffee shop near the Jindu cinema; then later in 1988, they moved again to a coffee shop called 8383 and continue their noodles business till present. He gets up at 6:00am in the morning to make noodles in the traditional way - by pressing the dough using a bamboo pole at one end, and sitting and bouncing on the other end until the dough became firm and elastic. The dough would then be shredded into thin noodles using machine.
This type of bamboo noodles does not need to be steamed or air dried, and is best when freshly cooked and serve right away. Wonton noodles, dumplings, skins and fillings are all freshly made and cooked by Ha Chai himself. He insisted in using the traditional homemade bamboo egg noodles when other local noodles sellers switched to machine processing, or even sourced their noodles from suppliers. His perseverance pays off - over the years, the locals love his traditional noodles and it grows in popularity. Time flies, he has been in the noodle business for 50-60 years now. Once he was interviewed by a TV crew from the Special Gourmet Show, and he said, “My children is not interested in my noodle business…” Inheritance of the traditional craft and business became a pressing concern.
In 2010, I went back to my hometown to help in the noodles shop. I learnt all the skills from scratch, starting with basics like taking orders, serving customers and tidying up; moving on to ingredients preparation, and eventually making and cooking noodles. Ha Chai taught his son everything, and 2 years later he handed over the noodle business to me and retired.
Chan Sinkee 3rd Generation Chef- Chan Wee Siang