Posts Tagged ‘water’

Hawaii Ramen Quest – Part V

February 1, 2012
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV |  Part V 

Although varying in sizes and flavors, many of the ramen shops we covered in this series have one thing in common: their noodles are supplied by the same, local, noodle factory based right here in Hawaii. So what better way to close this series out than with where ramen in Hawaii all begins… Sun Noodle.

Outside Sun Noodle's Honolulu Factory
Outside Sun Noodle’s Honolulu Factory

At the helm of it all is Sun Noodle Founder and President Mr. Hidehito Uki who started the business more than 30 years ago (founded way back on July 10, 1981). Uki-san in fact comes from a noodle making bloodline. His family had a fresh noodle making “ya” (store) in the Tochigi Prefecture (then) named the Ikeda Noodle Company. Here, he perfected the art of “men” before moving to Hawaii.

Sun Noodle President Mr. Hidehito Uki
Sun Noodle President Mr. Hidehito Uki

While studying ESL (English as a Second Language) here at Hawaii Pacific University (Hawaii Pacific College at the time), he would often eat at local ramen shops looking for a place that reminded him of home. Frustrated, he set out to do something about it and that’s how Sun Noodle was born.

“There’s nothing more powerful than the sun. When you think of Hawaii, you think of the sun. That’s why I named the business Sun Noodle.”

His 10,000 square foot Honolulu factory on Colburn Street can produce up to 30,000 servings of raw noodles per 8 hour day. They churn out over 100 products like yakisoba, udon, chow fun, pancit, gyoza and won ton wrappers, and, for ramen alone, they make over 30 different styles!

Overlooking the Sun Noodle factory from above
Overlooking the Sun Noodle factory from above

Amazingly, even with that many choices, Mr. Uki’s philosophy is that every noodle order must be custom made for his clients based, on the flavor of their soup.

“Every soup our customer makes is their personality. The noodles and the soup have to have a nice combination. Even if you make good noodles and good soup, if it doesn’t match, it’s no good. That’s why we go out there and taste the soup from each client and try to figure out what noodle would go best with that particular soup. We keep trying until we get it right. Sometimes I spend months to find the perfect noodle to match their soup.”

Most of his factory’s noodles start with the same base: flour, water, salt and potassium carbonate. It is the variances in flour type and water that makes all the difference.

“We are lucky to have good water here in Hawaii. It makes good noodles.”

The ingredients are thrown in (by hand) to a large vat…

Sun Noodle employee throwing in the ingredients for this batch of noodles
Sun Noodle employee throwing in the ingredients for this batch of noodles

… where it is mixed together…

Ingredients are mixed together
Ingredients are mixed together

… and flattened into a thin sheet by automated machinery. Large rolls of these flattened concoctions are then fed into another machine…

Large flour rolls feeding into the machine that cuts them into noodles
Large flour rolls feeding into the machine that cuts them into noodles

… which slices and dices them into their famous noodle shape.

Where noodles are cut into their famous shape(s)
Where noodles are cut into their famous shape(s)

Some are straight, some are wavy, and some even have a different color to them (based on the type of flour). Here’s a batch of noodles being prepared for Zippy’s Restaurants’ famous Zip Min.

Noodles for Zippy's Restaurants' Zip Min
Noodles for Zippy’s Restaurants’ Zip Min

Depending on what is being made, the noodles are then either packaged right there or sent off to the steaming/cooking room where they (usually yakisoba or udon) take a bath before being packaged.

Trays of yakisoba noodles are cooked in hot water before being packaged
Trays of yakisoba noodles are cooked in hot water before being packaged

For a while, he tried to service his mainland customers out of this factory alone, but it proved to be a difficult task with them being spread throughout California, Washington, Nevada, Vancouver BC (Canada), and parts of the East Coast. Ultimately, in order to provide the freshest noodles possible to his mainland customers, he decided to open up another factory in the greater Los Angeles area (on W Mahalo Place ironically) in 2004. Not satisfied, he will soon open up another factory in the New Jersey area so that his East Coast customers and their clientele get the freshest Sun Noodles they can get.

“Providing fresh noodle is the best! Instead of making the noodles in L.A., freezing it, and shipping it to the East Coast, we decided to make a factory in the East Coast so we can provide the freshest noodles possible.”

During the tour, I asked Mr. Uki what he thought of Saimin (compared to ramen), and his answer, which I really enjoyed, gave me that ultimate “a-ha” moment.

“Each area in Japan has their own, unique style of ramen. Kyushu has Hakata style (tonkotsu), Hokkaido has Sapporo style (miso)… Saimin is Hawaii’s style of ramen.”

I never thought of it that way, but it’s very true! I now have a new found appreciation for saimin. Being from Hawaii, I’m required to be proud of it. 😉

I also asked him what his thoughts were on slurping as a custom. I once asked my parents (who are also from Japan) why people slurp so loudly when eating their ramen. They told me that it is a sign of respect and appreciation for the ramen chef. It tells them that the noodles are delicious and is the ultimate compliment you can give to them. Mr. Uki had a different explanation:

“It looks tasty if you slurp your noodles. If you don’t smell the noodles, you can’t taste it. Of course, when you slurp, you bring in the air, which is important to help you smell and taste the ramen. Nowadays, even the non-Japanese community is starting to slurp their noodles.”

In my brief conversation with Mr. Uki, I could tell that his passion for noodles ran deep.

“We try to make the best noodle possible. We will try to make best noodle market in Hawaii for everybody to enjoy ramen.”

He truly loves what he does and best exemplifies what I love so much about ramen: a warm base with humble beginnings… Here’s to another 30 years!

 

Mahalo for following along during this obsessive, noodle & soup-filled expedition. Although the Hawaii Ramen Quest series has come to an end, the journey continues. See y’all at the next ramen stop!

Note: R.I.P. to Hawaii Journalism legend Mr. John Heckathorn who also covered Hidehito Uki and Sun Noodle in his noodle series: “In Search of the Ultimate Noodle“.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV |  Part V 

Plastic Bottle Bombs – Be Careful!

June 29, 2010

WHAAAT!?!? Not even WIH Wednesday, and I’m posting? Yep, it’s true. But there’s a good reason. We gotta protect our `ohana and everyone around us (see below)!

Got this one in a forward before but didn’t have time to post it. Just got it again today and thought I’d bettah do my part to try to warn y’all. So here’s my little PSA to you guys. Be careful out there kay?

THIS IS NOT A JOKE! DO NOT PICKUP STRAY BOTTLES IN YOUR YARD OR AT ROADSIDE. THESE MAY BE BOMBS! SEE VIDEO and VERIFY INFO ON SNOPES.COM.

Innocent looking bottle. Deadly bomb!

This is true. It’s serious… and Snopes just released an alert.

1. A plastic bottle and cap.
[ingredients removed]
5. Pick it up. Move it. Shake it and it goes BOOM!!
6. No fingers left and other serious effects to your face, eyes, etc..

People are finding these bombs in mailboxes and in their yards. They’re waiting for you to pick them up. You’ll never make it! Grab them and they take only 30 seconds to blow!

Have a Good (and SAFE!) Tuesday gang!

P.S. In case you missed it, here’s last week’s post: Where In Hawaii Is Edward Sugimoto – June 23, 2010.

Fave Five Friday – Drinks

April 24, 2009

Buy me drinky drinky?

I could’ve sworn we covered this topic already in a previous Fave Five list, but looking back at the archives, I don’t see it, so hurr we goooo!

Personally, I’m-a-gonna have to make separate lists ’cause my favorite drinks differ based on when and where I yam. OK, let’s do this!

At the crib:

  1. Water – We filter ours using one of dem Brita water pitchers from Costco. Now that’s what I call high quality H2O. 😉
  2. Apple Juice – Those 1 gallon, two-packs, again purchased from Costco. YUM!
  3. Vitamin Water – We used to tank these often, but it got expensive real quick. Speaking of which, aren’t their new commercials just hilarious! They even have a fake microsite! Classic!
  4. Calpico – Pops won a whole case in a golf tourney so wifey and I took a bunch home with us. The Aloe flavored one is not as bad as it sounds and is actually pretty good, FYI.
  5. Primo – She go with poke right after work!

In the Club:

  1. (Almost) Anything on draught – Can’t go wrong with the stuffs straight from the tap
  2. Heiney – I used to like it better when I was the only one in the club green bottling. Now, errone is doing it which kinda sucks. 😦 Gotta switch it up now. Good thing I hardly go clubbing anymore. Ha!
  3. Orange Juice – when I don’t feel like boozing it up, I go O.J. Figgah it’s cheap and somewhat healthy (good way to get my Vitamin C).
  4. Jack and Coke – anything with Coke is a go.
  5. Bud Light – tastes like water, but when there’s nothing else… Can’t forget to send a shout out to Corona for nostalgia’s sake. Makes me remember back to a time when drinking it with the lime wedge at the old Oceans on Thursday nights was cool. LOL!

Dining Out:

  1. Water (with a straw) 😛 – sometimes the taps/pitchers/cups at the joints I go to are questionable.
  2. Coke (with a straw) 8) – I usually get this when I go to the places above. Figgah, they can’t contaminate the Coke dispenser too can they? Hehe! Coke goes well with burger and fry kine places no?
  3. Asahi – any time I go to a Japanese restaurant, this is a guaranz ballbaranz! Just goes with the food. Oh, and green tea too.
  4. Authentic-tasting Nippon Green Tea – see above
  5. When in Rome… – I like to change the brand of beer I drink, depending on where I am. Tsingtao at Chinese restaurants, Corona at Mexican restaurants, Singha at Thai restaurants, Moretti at Italian restaurants, etc.

Sum’more:

  1. Pocari Sweat – drink of choice when walking/running around the muthaland.
  2. Anything Hawaiian Sun – pretty much everything in their lineup is onos.
  3. Ito En Natural Fruit Teas – Mmmm, but kinda expensive at Stan Sheriff! 😦

So what say you? Post your list(s) below a-ight? Happy VHO7V Friday folks! Be safe and have a nice, fun weekend k? Shoots!

P.S. Any kiddies out dea reading… remember… no drink until you stay of age k? 8)
P.P.S. Any social drinkers out dea reading… remember… drink responsibly… no drink and drive k?

News Day Tuesday: Kitchen Fire 411

March 17, 2009

A-ightchall, here’s a little 411 on how to deal with grease fires in your kitchen. Logic tells us that we should shoot down a fire with water, but in the case of grease fires, the WORST thing to do is to use water. This is due to the fact that when the water comes in contact with the superheated grease, it will immediately vaporize, expanding and carrying more grease particles with it, causing the rate of combustion to dramatically increase and flare up.

Now some of you may already know this, so please bear with us. This is for those of us not yet in the know, and that’s the hope of today’s blog: to help educate our WWE `ohana and keep us all (and our neighbors) safe.

Check out the video below let me/us know what you think.

Here’s a link to a more graphic, to-the-point video. (WARNING: Very Graphic, chicken skin kine)

If talking about grease fires is not your bag on this News Day Tuesday, feel free to dish on any of the topics below, the ones that will inevitably be suggested by kuya.d and tita leerz folks 😛 or any other topic you wish.

* Latest on Anna Nicole / Howard K. Stern
* Your March Madness Brackets
* Whether or not you wore green today *grin*
* Lindsay Lohan’s latest troubles
* John Mayer & Jennifer Aniston’s break up… Again
* Birth of twin baby boys to Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson
* Report of Donte Stallworth’s hitting and killing a man with his car
* Dancing with the Stars last night
* NBA’s ridiculous decision to release green, shamrock/clover infested L.A. Lakers apparel (ala rival Boston Celtics)
* Upcoming June 24 release of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

In other news, shmall kine plug, but if you or anyone you know is interested in a cleanly kept, white, 2000 Toyota Corolla LE (Kelley Blue Book entry says $5,770, but you can ask for the WWE special 😛 ), let a brutha know. Bonus points for those who can guess where in Hawaii this is. LOL!

2000 Toyota Corolla LE For Sale
2000 Toyota Corolla LE For Sale

* 2000 White Toyota Corolla LE
* 4 cyl, 1.8 Liter
* Automatic Transmission
* Air Conditioning
* Power Steering
* Power Windows
* Power Door Locks
* Tilt Wheel
* AM/FM Stereo
* Dual Front Air Bags
* 80,400 Miles
* Tinted (legal)
* After market car alarm installed from Security Alarm Shop
* Covered Parking
* Driven by non-smoking female
* No car accidents
* Regularly maintained
* 2000 model has a Timing Chain (not timing belt). Good for the life of the engine.
* Oil just changed last month
* Tires just changed last month

* Passenger inside door handle needs to be replaced ($20 or so?)
* Rear passenger side window needs to be fixed ($100 or so?)
* Slight dings on body, but nothing major
* Minor paint-level rust line on bumper

Everything else is running perfectly. Great, dependable, clean, durable car from a quality manufacturer. Driven with a lot of TLC.

Happy St. Patty’s day y’all!