A new addition to Southside Berkeley’s Sather Lane, Noody, offers a fresh take on the classic college meal — instant noodles.
Customers can choose from 20 different noodle packets, nine proteins and 11 vegetables as they build their own bowl or select one of several preset menu items. According to Aya Amornpan, the owner of Noody, the 20 noodle options are cycled regularly to incorporate a variety of instant noodles from around the world.
The build-your own-noodles option costs $12 per dish, but the preset options range from $13-14 and include items such as BBQ pork ramen, Buldak spicy and fried chicken instant noodles.
“The idea behind Noody is we want to be the trend to make instant noodles and to make them in a fun way,” Amornpan said. “Like we make carbonara, we make Thai pad see ew, we make masala like an Indian curry. It’s a variety of instant noodles and variety of flavor.”
Several patrons said the options were unique and that they enjoyed the food. Francis Chiang, a UC Berkeley student, said he found the concept interesting because he was not aware of any other instant noodle restaurants in Berkeley.
Amornpan also stressed that her concept included making instant noodles in a healthy fashion, as she noted that instant noodles have a reputation for being unhealthy.
Recent patrons have expressed on online platforms, such as Yelp, that the location is a “cool spot” for gathering with friends. Some highlighted the close distance to campus.
Amornpan said the name of the restaurant came from abbreviating “noodles” to “noods” and is “trendy” for young people.
Many customers were also drawn in by the colorful ambiance, with brightly colored wall paint, a neon sign and a wall installation featuring 16 types of instant noodles from around Asia.
“Displaying these ramens is great because it can catch your eye and it made me feel like there are many options to eat,” said Haeun Lee, a visiting student from South Korea.
Chiang said he felt the restaurant interior was particularly photo-worthy and that the unique decor choices could be oriented towards influencers. Meanwhile, other diners said it reminded them of their childhood.
To promote their introduction to the Southside restaurant pool, Noody is offering free Thai iced tea to customers, according to Chiang.
“I just want to have fun with it,” said Amornpan. “It gives the fun vibe for (students), with a friend, with lunch, with dinner, you know and come and do homework in the restaurant or chat with friends.”