The Taiwanese Top Ten List I do annually usually gets some attention – not only from readers interested in whether or not their favorites made the cut, but by noodle companies. This year, I was contacted by Zeng Noodles. They asked if I’d be interested in trying their products and of course I was. Here is an interview I conducted with Mr. Kevin Su, Vice President of Marketing.
THERAMENRATER> Thank you for agreeing to this interview! To start, can you tell my readers about the history of Zeng Noodle?
ZENG NOODLES> Zeng Noodles was established in August 2014 by our research team of 4 who began developing the specifications of spicy sauces and seasoning. Creating a sauce different from other packaged noodles that gave our customers a multi-level feeling of the tastebud was the ultimate goal from the start, but it was also the most difficult stage – the mixing sauce and their combinations. Our R&D team came to a bottleneck after several trials of testing, tasting and reevaluating before coming up with the final ingredient that satisfied the whole team. The Sichuan pepper played a vital role in the making of the sauce. The texture of the noodle itself was also proven to be a challenge! After several repeated test and trials, the surface of the noodle, the taste of the noodle, and the time to cook the noodle all had to be specifically tested to mix and match perfectly together with the sauce. The final outcome, the non fried sun baked multilayered pressing noodle, sliced specially in bilateral wave shape, and packaged into a noodle cake. Cooked according to our method we hope our customers will find a fulfilling taste eaten dry yet mouthwatering with a peppery tingling sensation along with the slippery softness of the noodle chewy but not too hard, here in Taiwan we call it very Q! And to compliment the noodles further more we suggest adding an egg and freshly chopped scallion (green onion) into the dish.
TRR> What was the first product you made?
ZENG NOODLES> The first product in the series is the original taste, the Green Onion with Sichuan pepper sauce.
TRR> Your company is located in Taiwan. Can you tell us a little about your country?
ZENG NOODLES> Taiwan also known as Formosa is a small island nation in the Pacific. The small in size but all kinds of terrain, there’s the adventurous landscapes like the central mountains 394 km long and over three thousand meters peak is mount Yushan. There’s a tropical forest and marble walled gorges and then there’s the blue pacific oceans surrounding the coast line on one side and green volcanic arcs on the other side. Even more amazing is the undersea hot springs, the world’s only two! Taiwan’s a Kingdom of many fruits such as guava, lichee, mango, watermelon, star fruit just to name a few. There’s also an abundant choices in food whether its western cuisine or local traditional Taiwanese food or the famous night markets that opens all night! You can never get hungry here in Taiwan! We are also a major baseball-loving country, from Taiwan Elementary School to Universities there’s an establish foundation that trains and develop players to compete nationally and internationally. Currently competing in MLB is Wang, Wei-Yin Chen, Gang Dai Yang (in Japan) and many other more baseball players from Taiwan.
TRR> Can you tell us about the varieties of instant noodles you make?
ZENG NOODLES> Currently we have a choice of two different noodles on the market and a choice of three different seasoning sauce. Our two different noodles would be similar in comparison to a spaghetti and linguine. First is the original multilayered pressing noodle slightly thicker sliced in bilateral wave shape on each side, and then there’s the normal string noodle which is slightly thinner for a different taste. Our three sauces can be mixed with either of the two different noodles depending on your preferences. The first is the original taste of Green onion and Sichuan pepper sauce. The second sauce is for vegetarians (note: here in Taiwan Scallion or Green onion is not considered vegetarian due to the buddhism religion belief) Sichuan pepper and sesame oil seasoning sauce is our new vegetarian sauce. And the third sauce (also vegetarian) is a slightly thicker sauce based on crushed sesame seeds seasoned finely into puree like sauce rather than using the oils from sesame seeds.
TRR> Can you tell my readers about who Mr. Zeng is?
ZENG NOODLES> Zeng in mandarin also means “True” so Zeng noodles means true noodles!
Mr. Zeng is an entertainer, a host and an actor who has won several awards here in Taiwan. He’s shows currently ranked on top of the charts includes award winning food and cooking shows, talk shows and many more. Taiwan audiences have tasted the worlds cuisine through his introductions on gourmet and street food right across the glob. “Since childhood my father worked in the restaurant kitchen as a master chef so growing up in the kitchen was natural to me and i just simply love the art of food!”~ “The most difficult part is to
describe the taste to the audiences so that they can actually imagine what I’m tasting from just watching the television! You need to really learn to appreciate all the food in order to really understand the taste of life.!” Our team mainly consists of four directors including Mr Zeng who is our main decision leader and consultant. Even with a tight schedule, Mr. Zeng constantly visits the noodles production factory and joins the team in testing and tasting to keep up with TQM! Mr Zeng always try to find the slightest difference in either the sauce or the noodles, and his attention to the most detailed details motivates us to bring the perfect taste into our noodles. Though the noodles looks simple and plan, once you’ve tasted it you will be amazed by the fulfilling taste with layers that constantly lingers in your mouth. To express further detail in cooking Zeng noodles the right way, there is a demonstration of the cooking process performed by Mr. Zeng which you’ll find on a LINE app called QRcode which is located on the lower back of the package. In addition, the film will also be uploaded onto youtube very soon.
TRR> In what countries are your products available?
ZENG NOODLES> Zeng noodles is currently sold to: Australia, Hong Kong, Paraguay and Thailand
TRR> Can you tell my readers about the different kinds of peppers you use?
ZENG NOODLES> As mentioned earlier, to create the layers of the taste for Zeng noodle the main key ingredient comes from the specific Sichuan Dahongpao pepper which we use for the sauce. This special type of spicy Dahongpao pepper has a very extinctive taste unlike the conventional chilies that is only chili hot. It lingers in your mouth with an after taste that can become quite addictive!
TRR> How does your noodle making process differ from other instant noodle manufacturers?
ZENG NOODLES> The final process for making the noodles is based on drying under natural sun light, but maintaining the natural water content at 9.5% ~ 12%. It is non-fried unlike the conventional instant noodles which are deep fried but dried by natural sun. You will notice the difference in smell from the aroma of the noodles, the strong smell of natural flour, this is a difficult part for or our competitors to make.
TRR> Are instant noodles the only products you make?
ZENG NOODLES> Correct.
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?
ZENG NOODLES> Using only the most natural ingredient and keeping the elements of healthy food on mind is our main focus for Zeng noodles. We only use the finest ingredients from Canada’s wheat flour to make our noodles, no other additional additives added. The sauces is completely vegetable based oil so there is no need to worry about animal oil concerns.
TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?
ZENG NOODLES> Throughout the years Mr. Zeng has participated in a number of national charity works including donating, hosting and filming for a number of foundations ~ Here is a website that Mr. Zeng has recently filmed for neglected babies and children in the farther mountain district of Hualien, Taiwan. You may check it out online
TRR> Are there any new products coming soon?
ZENG NOODLES> No at present.
TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?
ZENG NOODLES> Our suggestion is to use a pot that can cover the whole noodle for instance one pack of noodle is 80g so place 800ml of water (times by 10 is the suggested water level) so 90g of noodles in 900ml of water. When the water comes to boil add a table spoon of salt into the water (or approx 3 – 5g) thus salt can make the noodles more flavory. Cook the noodle for about 5 minutes then take out and mix the noodles in a bowl with the sauces already inside, then its ready to be served. Our favourite method is to add an egg into the remaining boiled water with a few drops of white vinegar (after the noodles been taken out) and cook it like poached egg with the yolk inside runny, then mix the poached egg into the noodle to let surface and texture more slippery. Then chop some fresh scallion and mix it in to bring it the ultimate level of tasting. Furthermore, vegetables could be added, all kinds of meat, fish….. and so on.
TRR> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about Zeng NoodleS and your products!