I was contacted a while back by a Taiwanese company I’d never heard of called Forest Noodles. I thought hey – I live near the forest! They had samples sent and I sent interview questions and so here we are! I interviewed MingYo, Founder of Forest Noodles – welcome to a new Meet The Manufacturer – on with the interview!
Interview With Forest Noodles * Product Samples From Forest Noodles * Forest Noodles Sweet Potato Noodles With Sesame Paste Sauce *
THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for agreeing to this interview! To start, can you tell my readers about the history of Forest Noodle?
FOREST NOODLES> 森林麵食是源於1930年代的傳統製麵店,在第四代返鄉後,希望藉由傳承近百年的經驗與工法,結合台灣道地特色農產以及特色醬料,把制麵技術作為串起台灣土地,人文,歷史的橋梁,在供給傳統鄉鎮近百年後,今年開始以體驗工坊去做規劃,希望帶給大家最純粹的原食風味,進而帶動鄉鎮復甦以及重新詮釋傳統制麵的樣貌
Forest Noodles is based on the local noodle plant established in 1930’s. We expect to combine our decades of experiences with the agricultural, building the bridge to connect the land, the history and the humanity. After selling noodles by a nearly century, we start to build the whole new noodle workshop. “Eat Original” is what the Forest Noodles express to our customers. And we believe that the innovation of the traditional industries can also make township different!
TRR> What was the first product you made?
FOREST NOODLES> 第一支產品為竹山番薯乾麵搭配百年芝麻醬,選用所在鄉鎮竹山的特色農產-番薯,作為加入麵條的首支產品,而番薯對於台灣的背景文化也有很深的意義,所以把蕃薯乾麵作為森林麵食讓大家認識台灣的特色口味麵條,而搭配的風味麻醬,也是找尋百年的芝麻醬廠配合研發,串起不同經驗的文化沖擊
The sweet potato noodle with sesame sauce is the first product. My hometown, Zhushan, is famous for sweet potato which is a meaningful food for Taiwan. And, the sesame sauce producer’s history is over a century. Therefore, we put two things together to spread the Taiwan culture.
TRR> Your company is located in Taiwan. Can you tell us a little about your country?
FOREST NOODLES> 竹山曾經因位於交通要道,商業繁榮人口鼎盛,又因竹產業興盛,而在日治時期由水沙連改名為竹山,其後因921大地震,震垮了經濟也震垮了人心,人口大量外移,交通要道高速公路又往外偏移,更加深了老街鄉鎮凋零,, 竹山剩下老人與小孩,但工藝家和藝術家群聚為台灣密度最高地方,全球化趨勢之下,重視在地文化的風氣興起,青年陸續返回鄉鎮為這塊土地努力,希望藉由年輕人新的思維以及創意帶動起整個鄉鎮生態的活絡,這也是森林麵食創立的原因之一
Zhushan was developed very early and the bamboo industry was prosperous. However, due to the new highway and the 921 earthquake, people moved out. Now, the most residents are the elders and the children. But, the density of the outstanding artists is the highest in Taiwan.
TRR> Why the name ‘Forest Noodle?’
FOREST NOODLES> 森林麵食希望藉由製麵技術,串起台灣文化人文土地的橋梁,希望藉由森林麵食讓人們可以看到曾經遺忘的土地以及文化,而就像森林一般,孕育萬物,但卻又不讓他們失去個別風味,而我們也希望把台灣的作物以及特色富含在裡面,更希望帶給大家如同『貼近』森林般的原食風味
As what we answered before, we expect to build the culture bridge. Forest is where all kinds of animals born, the origin of life. That’s the reason we choose the word “Forest”. When you have Forest Noodles, you taste the genuine culture of Taiwan and the original flavor of food.
TRR> Can you tell us about the varieties of instant noodles you make?
FOREST NOODLES> 目前有四種口味的麵條,搭配四種醬料
We offer four types of noodles; each of them can be matched with four different flavors. Among the noodles we serve, two of them are made of sweet potatoes without any extra artificial coloring.
TRR> In what countries are your products available?
FOREST NOODLES> 現在只有供應台灣
We only offer domestic market, Taiwan, currently.
TRR> How does your noodle making process differ from other instant noodle manufacturers?
FOREST NOODLES> 森林麵食會挑選屬於台灣道地生產的作物作為題材,經由清洗削皮,在利用烹煮的方式,讓作物可以和麵粉自然攪拌, 不同於其他家麵條是添加口味粉末以及人工色素,森林麵食蕃薯乾麵只用番薯和麵粉去製做,所呈現顏色都是屬於自然的顏色,所以每一批做出來的麵條顏色都會不相同,而利用日曬方式保存,讓陽光去做佐料,使每包麵都有土地以及陽光的溫度,而在制作過程都可以聞到番薯的香味,烹煮過程也可以聞到淡淡香味,而森林麵食的麵條顏色也會隨著時間去做變化, 這也是其他家添加人工色素所無法做到的
The materials are all natural food unlike some manufacturers to add artificial stuffs. The noodles are made by sweet potatoes and flour not the potato powder with coloring. Therefore, the color is different each time when we made it.
TRR> Are instant noodles the only products you make?
FOREST NOODLES> 我們也供應生鮮麵條給在地鄉鎮的麵店, 每日三四點就起來制作當天新鮮麵條,再去作配送,因為不添加防腐劑,所以堅持每日配送的貨當日清晨起來制作
As Forest Noodles is based on traditional noodle plant. We offer noodles to the local noodle shops. Because we insist that our product is without preservative, we make noodles every early morning.
TRR> A lot of people are concerned with their sodium intake. How would you recommend people enjoy your product as part of a healthy meal?
FOREST NOODLES> 由於森林麵食希望可以讓消費者貼近自然,所以在制作過程都不會添加人工的產物, 簡單的由麵粉以及作物去做制作,利用作物本身水分以及顏色,製作出屬於自然顏色的麵條,最後麵條成型後, 利用日曬的方式去做保存,以古法保存食物的方式經驗去做保存,也可將陽光的溫度鎖在麵條裡,做出對於人體無負擔的麵條,而煮完的麵條水,水也會因為作物本身富含的自然色素而變色,這也是其它添加人工的麵條所無法做到的
We hope that the nature is closed to our consumers. There isn’t any artificial material in our product. And, the noodle is sunbaked. The color, the drying way, the preserve method are all natural. “Eat Original” is the core of our product.
TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?
FOREST NOODLES> 森林麵食創立以來一直致力於推動讓大家正視農田問題,所以協辦了小農影展,在鄉鎮中舉辦多場紀錄片,邀請鎮民參與以及導演,讓大家可以對土地以及作物有所認識,
After establishing the brand “Forest Noodles”, we are devoted to the agricultural problem. We joined the farmer film expo, playing several documents in Zhushan and inviting directors to interact with the residents. When the workshop is completed, we will hold activities for the children’s home to spread the warm and the love. That’s what we keep to put effort on.
TRR> Are there any new products coming soon?
FOREST NOODLES> 近期將推廣蕃薯乾麵系列,而這款麵條為台灣特色的麵條
No, we are busy constructing our new workshop.
TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?
FOREST NOODLES> 森林麵食不是大工廠制作的形態,是以一種小型制作的方式製成,在制作過程的堅持以及用心,從食材挑選到處理,再來經過烹煮攪拌制作,最後由人工一塊一塊的折成森林麵食麵條的形狀,在陽光下去做日晒,這過程只有一顆希望可以讓大家更貼近自然土地文化的心,而相信就是這樣的心讓消費者在吃得過程可以體會到制作當下的溫度以及用心
It’s healthier to have some vegetables with the noodles.
THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about Forest Noodle and your products!
Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.