We've been known to declare our love for ramen noodles in the past. This time, however, we got to go to behind the scenes at the recently opened New Jersey factory of the Hawaii-based Sun Noodle company.
"My father started this company in Hawaii thirty years ago," says Kenshiro Uki, General Manager of the Teterboro, NJ operation. "For the New York market, it's really where I think this is going to be appreciated. It was surprising to me that there were no noodle manufacturers in New York."
Sun Noodle prides itself on their small, lovingly crafted batches—each one yielding about 100-200 servings. The small batches allow them to also try new things, as they are known for their ability to adapt each noodle recipe to suit chef's needs. "My dad found a niche [in a] kind of Japanese tradition—customizing your noodles for each restaurant," Uki says. "What that means is you blend different flours for the texture, the aroma, thickness, wavy, straight—it needs to work well with the chef's soup."
In fact, the Ramen Lab at Sun Noodles has created a special teff noodle that was developed especially for the Marcus Samuelsson Group. Utilizing the gluten-free grain used widely in Ethiopia to make injera, expect to see iterations of the noodle in the future.
In the accompanying video, we're presenting some key moments in the birth of a ramen noodle. From its time as a flour mixture, the dough is rolled into pristine sheets—marbled with streaks of flour—until it is cut into the familiar ramen shape and packaged. However, as Sun Noodle has expanded to bring its creations to New York restaurants, Uki has not forgotten his father's original objective. "That's our main business: to customize our noodles for each chef," Uki adds. "You can just think of us as your in-house noodle maker."
For more photos from the Ramen Lab, see below.
Video: Music: KVZE, "Noodles" Camera & Editor: Joel Kahn Producer: Jeannette Park
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