A lot of Chinese restaurants play it safe with dishes that Americans are familiar with it. But Benji Mo, owner of Betty’s Noodle House, a popular spot located inside of the downtown Metro station, has found a place on his menu for some lesser-known Chinese dishes. We caught up with Mo to ask him why.
Who is Betty?
Benji Mo: Betty is my girlfriend’s name. I had no idea what to name the restaurant. I just thought of her and that’s it—because of the power of love.
Do you serve strictly Chinese cuisine?
It’s mostly Chinese food, but there’s some Korean, some Vietnamese, some Thai dishes. We’re good at making Chinese food, so we decided to put more Chinese dishes on the menu. It’s very traditional style.
How did your menu get so huge?
We started with five items in the beginning when we opened, and it’s just expanded a lot. We kept adding and adding. Right now we stopped it. For some people our menu is too big. People cannot decide what they want.
What’s something unique you’d recommend?
There are a lot of items on our menu that you can’t find in the whole Santa Cruz area, except some popular traditional dishes like pho or Pad Thai. Sesame Noodle Soup is the most popular noodle dish in our restaurant. You can’t even find it over the hill in San Jose or San Francisco. People over here just love sesame. So we decided to create something with that flavor. Even the Chinese customers, they come here for the sesame soup. It has a real sesame taste.
How did you end up at a bus stop?
At the time, we just looked for a place we could open a restaurant, so we decided to open a restaurant here. It’s a good location. There’s a lot of traffic. There’s a lot of people, lots of tourists.
920 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 426-2328.