May 14, 2013

Meet The Manufacturer: A-Sha Foods International Interview

Interview * Samples From A-sha Foods * A-Sha Dry Noodle Hakka Noodle – Chili Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Tainan Noodle – Sesame Sauce * A-Sha No. 10 –  Mandarin Noodle – Black Pepper Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle QQ Thin Noodle – BBQ Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Mandarin Noodle – Onion Oil Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Hakka Noodle – Spicy Sesame Oil Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Mandarin Noodle – Original Sauce

Welcome to the new Meet The Manufacturer! Recently, there’s been a lot of controversy over the new 2013 Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time list that was released in April. People in Taiwan were taken aback that none of their varieties were included in the list; thousands of people from Taiwan as well as Taiwanese Americans bombarded The Ramen Rater blog with comments – both nice and angry! I asked Taiwanese companies to contact me. The first is A-Sha. I interviewed A-Sha via email and here’s what they had to say.

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for agreeing to this interview! To start, can you tell my readers about the history of A-Sha Foods International?

A-SHA FOODS INTERNATIONAL> A-Sha Dry Noodle is the lead product from A-Sha Foods International commonly referred to as A-Sha Canteen in Chinese it is 阿舍乾麵. A-Sha Foods has been around since 2008, and it has quickly become the most popular Taiwanese Dry Noodle in Taiwan gaining worldwide brand recognition as an authentic tasting, healthy Taiwanese product that contains no MSG or preservatives. Our special manufacturing technique allows us to retain that “homemade” texture in the noodle and high quality fragrance in our sauces.
Due to its overwhelming popularity, in June 2012 we decided to begin selling in the North American marketplace to bring the flavor of Taiwanese cuisine to our native immigrants as well as share our culture and food with people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. In the USA, we are a California based business with a distribution warehouse in  Los Angeles. A-Sha gained its notoriety from its high quality healthy foods, fair prices, and popularity that leads to weeks in waiting time of receipt from when an order is placed.

TRR> What was the first product you made?

AFI> The first product was actually flour, and the noodle was a homemade lunch for employees, but they liked the noodle so much that we decided to turn it official and started sell online.

TRR> Your company is located in Taiwan. Can you tell us a little about your country?

AFI> Taiwan is well-known for its IT industry, but fewer know how marvelous the food there. The flavor is vivid and strong. Due to the history of the island, the food is basically mixed Chinese food, local Taiwanese food, and Japanese food. Taiwanese are willing to try different  kinds of food, so the competition is tough and those who can last long, are selected as a delicacy.

TRR> Can you tell us about the varieties of instant noodles you make?

AFI> We have 4 base noodles types based on thickness and texture. Additionally, we have 14 sauce packets in our flavor spectrum.  This allows a simple noodle to have multiple applications when preparing meals and providing enough flavor and texture selections to meet all consumer needs.

TRR> I recently came out with the 2013 Top Ten Instant Noodles list. To the dismay of thousands of Taiwanese people who came to The Ramen Rater website as Taiwan wasn’t represented on the list. Can you tell us a little about how instant noodles are viewed in Taiwan?

AFI> We were very sad to see no representation on the 2013 Top Ten list from Taiwan. Our culture is very much in the Instant Noodle marketplace. While our noodle has a subtle difference from other instant noodles, it is also our best characteristic. Our noodle must be cooked, and that allows the noodle proper time to develop and retain its texture.  The noodle when cooked properly will absorb the full flavor of the liquid sauce packet, and leads to a healthier product (non-fried). The wait is worth it!

TRR> In what countries are your products available?

AFI> Currently we are actively selling in Taiwan (, USA (, Hong-kong , Canada and China. There are steady customers from Singapore who have ordered on our online store, so we think our product might highly suit their taste.

TRR> How does your noodle making process differ from other instant noodle manufacturers?

AFI> What sets out noodle apart from other instant noodles is that our noodle is non-fried and a healthier alternative. Because it’s non-fried, each noodle takes 12 hours to dry so it can preserve longer without any preservatives or chemical inhibiters. Our noodle comes with a liquid sauce packet made with fresh ingredients from Taiwan with no MSG and no preservatives. Our air-dried technique, is proprietary and makes for a homemade tasting product with an amazing texture. The combination of these factors leads to a product that we believe stands above our competition.

TRR> Are instant noodles the only products you make?

AFI> In addition to our lead product, we are also now actively manufacturing and distributing our Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes. In Taiwanese culture, Pineapple Cake is equal to a Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Its treated as a daily dessert and a gift of choice for all major holidays and occasions.  Our Pineapple Cake is of the highest quality again with no MSG or preservatives, and is made from 100% Pineapples not often found in competing products.  In addition to these products, we will be producing even more products in the near future.

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?

AFI> Because our noodle is air-dried and non-fried, it is already healthier than most competing products.  In addition our sauce is totally liquid, so there are no MSG or preservatives used in the product either.  The main source of sodium in our product is from the Soy Sauce that is inevitable sodium.

TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?

AFI> A-Sha Foods is an active participant in our community and we believe highly in helping those less fortunate. We actively donate noodles to the Los Angeles Food Bank, Tzu Chi Buddhist organization, and other charitable organizations. We are very cognizant of relief needs and other activities and have actively donated to Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts on the East Coast donating product and shipping free of charge.  Currently, now through May 15th, for each product purchased at our online store, we are pledging $1 per product to Boston Marathon bombing goodwill. We believe community activism and getting involved to show support is not only important but something that as people we should all participate in. We will continue in our efforts to support and assist in all goodwill efforts.

TRR> Are there any new products coming soon?

AFI> We planned to launch instant noodle with different flavors, and small packs of noodle snacks this June. With current noodle, a high-end, healthy sauce is included. We continue to work with Taiwanese culinary experts and institutions to use healthy ingredients creating new products as we speak.

TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?

AFI> The dry noodles are a very dynamic base staple in the Asian diet, there are many applications and varieties that can be applied to our noodle. For example, our Hakka Flat Noodle Mala Spicy can actually become a noodle soup by not draining the water in which the noodle is cooked. Additionally, our Tainan Sesame Noodle can be cooked, chilled and enjoyed as a cold noodle on hot summer days.

In terms of adding additional items to making a full meal or extra special, egg (marinated, fried, boiled) is always a great choice along with julienned carrots, cucumber, and celery. Marinated beef or tofu is also a great choice. The noodles taste great alone or with a variety of accompaniments. The choices and possibilities are endless!

TRR> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about A-Sha.

With that, let’s start the reviews! Thanks to Young, Hann-Wei and everyone at A-Sha here in the USA and in Taiwan. You can find their products at

Interview * Samples From A-sha Foods * A-Sha Dry Noodle Hakka Noodle – Chili Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Tainan Noodle – Sesame Sauce * A-Sha No. 10 –  Mandarin Noodle – Black Pepper Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle QQ Thin Noodle – BBQ Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Mandarin Noodle – Onion Oil Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Hakka Noodle – Spicy Sesame Oil Sauce * A-Sha Dry Noodle Mandarin Noodle – Original Sauce

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.

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