Let’s kick off National Noodles Month with a special new feature – Meet The Manufacturer!
Recently, I had the fortunate experience to talk to James Parr, a marketing manager for Khong Guan, the distributor for Tat Hui Foods’ KOKA l;ine of instant noodle products. He was very kind and offered to liaise an interview between myself and the company in Singapore! He sent along some great samples and today I’ll be doing a re-review of the Spicy Sesame flavor KOKA noodles today as well as a post about the sample he sent! Here’s the interview! I also want to thank those of you who sent in questions for the manufacturer!
TRR: Hello! Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn more about instant noodles and your company!
To begin, how did your company start out? What is the history?
THF: In 1987, the company founder Mr Lim Hi Lay embarked on the mission to take Tat Hui products to other countries. The products were first introduced to the Chinese grocery markets in US, Europe and Australia. In the following years, Tat Hui started to venture into mainstream European and Middle Eastern markets and saw demand increase ten-fold. Today Koka Noodles continues to win over more and more fans around the world.
TRR: Other than the Koka variety, I’ve had the Mi Hua – did you choose to go the low fat route with your products?
THF: THF (Tat Hui Foods) is committed to promoting healthy eating without compromising on Taste, evident through its continuous investment in research and development and new production facilities to produce low fat instant noodles. The noodles are steam-cooked and bake-dried through a fat-free process instead of the deep-frying process used in making conventional instant noodles.
TRR: How do you differ in your production of instant noodles from other manufacturers?
THF: Noodles are carbo food and a staple, just like rice, in most of Asia. They are made ‘Instant’ through a cooking and drying process to enable easy preparation and a longer shelf-life. While most consumers are accustomed to the taste and mouth-feel of conventional deep-fried instant noodles, the non-fried/ fat-free noodles definitely offer a healthier alternative. Besides cutting down on the fat, we also do not add MSG, preservatives or artificial colouring to our noodles and seasonings.
TRR: The varieties you have currently are amazing – how do you decide what different flavors to offer? Do you plan on coming out with new varieties on a regular basis for the United States market?
THF: The convenience food market is saturated with similar flavours across competing brands. Therefore, in line with our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, it is our aim to introduce more choices to the discerning customers with a variety of tasty and authentic flavours from around the region.
Favourite flavours are Chicken, Curry, Laksa and Beef, to name a few.*
We are excited to introduce more of our creations in US soon – Koka Purple Wheat noodles in 3 new recipes, Chilli & Lime, Soy & Vinegar and Aglio Olio.
TRR: People here add all sorts of things to their instant noodles. What was a surprise to me was how shocked so many are at the concept of adding eggs to them. How are Koka noodles and your other varieties enjoyed in Singapore?
THF: Adding sliced hard boiled eggs to Curry and Singapore Laksa noodles is delicious although they are appetizing enough on their own. We also suggest that adding some shredded chicken breast or just chopped coriander to Koka Chicken would greatly enhance the taste and wholesomeness of the meal. In general, a handful of semi-cooked crunchy bean sprout added to the noodles is always enjoyable with that extra contrast of texture to the bite. If ‘fried shallot’ is readily available in supermarkets like in Singapore, it’s great to top up as garnishes for almost any noodle dish. Of course in Singapore chilli is another favourite commonly used, as well as fish cake, fish ball and sausages too.
TRR: I asked readers of the blog to pose some questions you might be able to shed light on – here are some of them:
Any plans to spread the distribution to other EU countries? - Denis P., Slovenia
THF: Not sure at this stage.
Why is it so hard to find your noodles in Canada? - Anonymous
THF: Please write to us at [email protected] and we can advise you based on your location.
(I would like to know) what flavour of instant noodles they cannot imagine making? - Cindy C., UK
THF: This is an interesting question because all the time we are only thinking about what CAN we create next.
TRR: Again, thank you very much for the opportunity to ask you some questions!
Well, that’s it! Thanks again to Tat Hui Foods, James Parr at Khong Guan and those who sent in questions! There will be another fun Meet The Manufacturer coming soon!