There’s a new frozen food delivery service dedicated to Asian noodle soups with the launch of Chop Chop in April. Co-founders Eugene Lin and Steve Har, along with Hailey Zhou, wanted to open a food business that celebrated Asian street foods that they’ve enjoyed during their travels and work across the continent.
Chop Chop’s current noodle soup lineup is small: Thai chicken, Taiwanese beef noodle, and a vegan curry laksa. There are occasional limited specials, such as the Tex-Wan beef noodle soup, which makes use of brisket from La Barbecue.
The food is made fresh and then frozen right in its commercial kitchen space at Luna’s Kitchen in Cedar Park. Each order consists of a deli container full of frozen, separated ingredients. Everything is meant to be placed in a pot, along with a cup of water, and cooked all together for several minutes.
Orders are placed through Chop Chop’s website or through Instagram direct messaging. Currently, deliveries happen weekly on Tuesday evenings, but the delivery service will convert into a monthly subscription service to be announced later. Near future plans include selling noodle soups in local grocery stores.
Lin (who is Taiwanese and attended University of Texas Austin) and Har (who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Australia) worked together in various food-related businesses throughout Asia. They helped lead a specialty coffee roaster and retailer startup in China called Seesaw Coffee, worked on various restaurants and food/beverage brands, and started Food Forward, a food conference series in collaboration with Michelin Guide that highlighted Chinese cuisine. Zhou’s background is in culinary and food product research and development.
Since it opened, Chop Chop hosted two in-person pop-ups at East Austin sour beer brewery Blue Owl Brewing in April and May. There are potential plans to host future pop-ups too. Rounding out the team is Hailey Zhou.
Originally, they wanted to open Chop Chop as a physical restaurant, “given the communal aspect of street food,” as Lin explained, but during the novel coronavirus pandemic, this didn’t seem viable. “When you think about capital investment, especially in the context of COVID-19, it just didn’t make sense for us,” he said.
Eventually, they might open a restaurant later, but “it’d look very different from today’s restaurant,” Lin said. “It’s also what’s going to make this industry continue to be interesting in the next few years.”