You would think that after dedicating five years to becoming Malaysia Barista Champion and finally wearing the Malaysian jersey at the World Barista Championship, one would fully dedicate their life to coffee. Well, think again, because in one year, Aaron Phua went from pulling shots for coffee connoisseurs to beating egg noodles in his noodle bar, Fifty Tales.
Phua’s coffee journey can very well be described as all-encompassing, as he jumped from being barista to coffee trainer, opening up Café Thirty-Seconds with his family along the way. The climax was when Phua came out on top in the Malaysia Barista Championship 2019, astounding judges with his coffee that exhibited floral and tea-like aromas and hints of sweet nectarine.
See also: 8 Ways To Brew Great Coffee At Home
After a successful career in coffee, one might ask: Why noodles? Phua shares the method to his madness with us over a bowl of his signature noodles, the OG.
"I’ve always wanted to cook for others," says Phua. "To share with others what I enjoyed when I was growing up. Noodles were a big part of my childhood."
Phua’s success in coffee pushed him to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a chef, and the ideas for Fifty Tales started to fall into place.
No rich santan-laden broths, no endless list of noodles to choose from. Here, you’ll only find the perfected house noodles served in more than a dozen different ways and the occasional bowl of rice for those who aren’t willing to give up that staple. Imagine the chewiness of wonton noodles sans the alkaline, plus the mouthfeel of spaghettoni, spaghetti's thicker counterpart. Expect clean flavours with distinct southern Chinese influences. Each bowl of noodles has its own story, that Phua will gladly share with the story-loving curious.