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Yo Yo Noodle first opened their Nottingham City Centre store in September 2010 and from there the franchise has expanded, with their recent store opening in Southampton City Centre.

As hinted in the name they specialise in noodles, with Asian and Oriental sauces. They also serve chips, rice, flat breads, samosas, spring rolls, frozen yoghurt, sushi, crispy crab and prawn claws (to name but a few).

An array of ready made dishes.
An array of ready made dishes.

When you arrive you are presented with different ready-made dishes: beef in black bean sauce, sweet and sour chicken, chicken curry and Shao Shao chicken. However, if those don’t take your fancy, you can create your own dish with over 4,000 variations. There is a simple three step method: first you choose between noodles or rice, then you choose the meat or vegetables and finally the sauce.

Yo Yo Noodle came to Southampton in March, and finally I managed to experience the vibrant looking restaurant. I was greeted by some lovely smiles and friendly faces, the customer service cannot be faulted in the slightest.

Beef and black bean sauce with noodles.
Beef and black bean sauce with noodles.

I have only visited this noodle bar once, and on my first occasion I decided to have noodles coated in a beef and black bean sauce. Visually, this is quite a dark coloured dish anyway, so not much can go on appearance, however, the beef was lovely and tender, despite the fact there were only around five pieces, that were on the thin side. Over the years this has been one of my favourite Chinese dishes, however, despite the friendly atmosphere the dish did not amount to my expectations. I pushed my fork around the noodles, inspecting the dish and discovered that it had no black beans in it whatsoever, but did have a large quantity of onions and mushrooms, with just one slice of carrot. That may have just been the luck of the scoop, but personally I also found the dish to be on the greasy side.

In terms of price, Yo Yo are not the cheapest, considering they are trying to attract the student population. My regular (small) sized box cost me £5, which in theory isn’t too bad, as it had cuts of beef in, but they had clearly taken this in mind and thinly sliced the beef as said above.

On top of that I had my meal to take away and my box leaked on to a paper bag, and you can only imagine the greasy disaster that caused.

Despite my first impressions of the noodle bar, I would still be willing to try one of their ‘make your own’ dishes, as one bad dish cannot rule out all their other options.

On another note

The Yo Yo Mission.
The Yo Yo Mission.

The restaurant has a lot more to offer than just noodles, it has set up a charity called the Yo Yo mission, which supports a Kenyan Orphanage. Eric Ho, founder of Yo Yo Noodles, set up the Yo Yo mission in 2010, with the opening of his first store. He started by helping just 63 children, however, today that has rose to 243 children. The charity excels the donations by cutting out admin fees, and gives 100% of the donations to the Kenyan Orphanage direct.

Below is a video showing what the mission works towards.

@kirstiechamber5

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