Category Archives: Lotus Foods

Meet The Manufacturer: #1345: Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice Ramen

Today’s the last day of this awesome Meet The Manufacturer, and I wanted to save the one I found most curious for the end. I’ve NEVER seen anything like this before. These noodles are dark – almost black! They’re made from Lotus Foods’ Forbidden Rice – something I’ve enjoyed for a long time. Forbidden Rice was originally served to Chinese emperors – who resided in the Forbidden City.

Image from Wikipedia

The Emperor lived in this place, attended by hundreds of servants and fed the finest foods. The Chinese considered the forbidden Rice to be one that brought longevity. It has a strong flavor and what I found most interesting was that it was very flavorful without any seasoning. Let’s check out this fascinating noodle made from this rice.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Vegan and Gluten Free. To prepare, boil 2 cups of water and add noodle block. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently. When soft, add the contents of the soup base sachet. Stir and enjoy!

The noodle block. See what I mean? This stuff is dark – like a very deep purple.

The soup base sachet.

For this one, they went with white miso broth – which I imagine will give the bowl a very interesting look what with the contrasts between the noodles and broth.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added green onion, hard boiled egg and beef sauteed with soy sauce. The noodles are very purple as is the broth; I expected the broth and the noodles to have quite the contrast, but the Forbidden Rice component of the ramen gives the broth strong purple hues. They have a decent gauge and a very earthy flavor. The broth was a very light miso. Fascinating stuff! 2.25 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 708953601014.

One of the founders of Lotus Foods speaking about their Forbidden Rice and its history.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1344: Lotus Foods Millet & Brown Rice Ramen

Here’s the second of three varieties of this new ‘Rice Ramen.’ This one is a bit different than the last as it boasts a red miso and uses millet and brown aspects for its noodle. What’s really great about these new products is that they’re Vegan friendly and gluten free – lots of people have asked me about gluten and vegetarian instants and I’m thinking these might be a nice one for those folks to try. Let’s check this one out!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Vegan friendly and gluten-free. To prepare, add the noodle block to 2 cups of boiling water and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring gently. When noodles are soft, add contents of the soup base sachet and stir in. Enjoy!

The noodles block.

The soup base sachet.

The red miso base.


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added thin sliced pork sauteed with garlic salt, hard boiled egg and green onion. The noodles were neat – they had a great texture and a good chewiness with a slightly lighter gauge than your run of the mill instant. The broth was very nice – a luxuriant red miso that wasn’t overly strong or overly light but just right. Very nice! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 708953601038.

A short film about Lotus Foods’ production of Madagascar Pink Rice.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1343: Lotus Foods Jade Pearl Rice Ramen

The first of these three new Lotus Foods Rice Ramen varieties I’ll be reviewing is the Jade Pearl Rice Ramen. I thought I’d look on their site to see what they had to say about the main ingredient, the Jade Pearl rice. Here’s what they had to say about it:

When cooked, this beautiful jade-colored rice produces the aroma of a bamboo forest, a light vanilla taste, and an explosion of health-giving nutrients. Our Organic Jade Pearl Rice makes an especially pretty plate presentation, sushi, Asian style risotto and dessert pudding.

That’s some pretty nice sounding stuff! I’m curious how it will translate over to a noodle. I should also note, I got a hand me down camera for my birthday – a Nikon L820 from my sister Sue! Thanks – this is the first review I’ll be trying it out with. Let’s check it out!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Gluten free and Vegan friendly. To prepare, boil 2 cups of water and cook the noodle block for 4 minutes, stirring gently. When the noodles are soft, take off the heat and stir in the soup base sachet contents. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

The soup base sachet.

Has a very light consistency.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added shrimp, sweet onion and green onion. The noodles are really interesting – they have a nice gauge and a really neat texture. They are not rubbery or spongy, however they’re  decent on the chew. One thing to note is that after a little while, they do lose chewiness, but eat ’em right after you make them and they’re very nice. The broth is very light but has a nice flavor of miso to it. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 708953601021.

Here’s a video overview of who Lotus Foods are and what they’re all about.

Meet The Manufacturer: Product Samples From Lotus Foods

A box came today!

A box of product samples – wow these looks interesting…

These are all different kinds of rice that Lotus Foods sells – I’ve had the Forbidden Rice before, but didn’t know they made this many!

These rice ramen varieties are all from the rice they grow. Looks really interesting – wow!

They also sent a new t-shirt for my wife! Thanks!

Meet The Manufacturer: Interview With Lotus Foods

Interview With Lotus Foods * Product Samples From Lotus Foods * Lotus Foods Jade Pearl Rice Ramen * Lotus Foods Millet & Bown Rice Ramen * Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice Ramen

I got an email from Heather Bessette, Marketing and Sales Coordinator for Lotus Foods a few weeks ago asking if I’d like to try their new rice ramen. I’d had their Forbidden Rice in the past and leaped at the chance. Here’s an interview I conducted with Caryl Levine, co-owner/co-founder of Lotus Foods to kick off this new Meet The Manufacturer!

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for doing this interview! Can you start by telling me a little bit about Lotus Foods’ history – how did you start?

LOTUS FOODS> During a trip to China in 1993, Ken Lee and I first tasted steaming bowls of nutty tasting black rice called hei mei, grown in the Yunnan province.  We fell so in love with its flavor and texture that we returned home to the SF Bay area and started a home-based business importing Chinese black rice that we trademarked Forbidden Rice® and other rice varieties from around the world.

TRR> For my readers who aren’t familiar with your product lines, can you tell a little about them?

LF> Lotus Foods sells bulk and retail specialty rice handcrafted on small farms in remote areas of the world.  More recently, we started offering what we call “Heat & Eat” bowls, which contain our specialty rices pre-cooked, so you can enjoy a serving of whole grain, heirloom rice in just 90 seconds.  Our newest product is Rice Ramen, which is available in a single noodle pack with miso soup flavoring or in a four pack of just the noodle cakes.

TRR> What is the history of the Forbidden Rice?

LF> During our trip, we were told the black rice was called ‘longevity’ or ‘tribute rice’, reserved for the Emperors to ensure their good health and long life.  A month later, while walking around the Forbidden City, Ken came up with name “Forbidden Rice, the emperors exclusive grain.”

TRR> How do your noodle products differ from those by other manufacturers?

LF> There are quite a few things that set our Ramen apart.  Traditionally, Ramen noodles are made from wheat, and thus off-bounds to legions of consumers who are gluten intolerant.  Our Ramen noodles are made from rice – and are therefore, gluten-free.
In addition, our Rice Ramen is made from our specialty, organic rices for extra flavor and nutrition.  One serving of our Millet & Brown Rice Ramen, for example, contains 5 grams of protein and has 8% of your daily iron requirement.
For our Rice Ramen with the miso soup flavoring, we felt it was important to create a Ramen with less sodium than traditional Ramen soups.  Millet & Brown Rice Ramen has 25% less sodium than regular Ramen soups.  Forbidden Rice® and Jade Pearl Rice™ Ramen have 33% less sodium.

TRR> What made you decide to expand and your product line to ramen noodles?

LF> We felt we could bring innovation to the Ramen category. Our Ramen have exciting and new tastes never before available and they are also healthy, organic, gluten-free, and low-sodium.

TRR> Can your products be purchased outside the United States?

LF> In Canada but not yet aside from of the US and Canada!

TRR> Where do you make your noodles?

LF> Our long-time partners, who first supplied us with Forbidden Rice® 18 years ago, make our noodles in Northern China.

TRR> What was Lotus Foods’ first product?

LF> Forbidden Rice®

TRR> Are you involved in the local community/charity?

LF> We donate product to many local events and to many local and national charities.

TRR> How many packs of instant noodles can you make every year?

LF> A lot, but this product is so new – we will have to wait and see!

TRR> Have you ever thought about varieties like macaroni and cheese or pizza flavored instant noodles?

LF> We personally have not ventured that much outside of the box with our Rice Ramen!

TRR> What do people think of the varied colors of your rice and noodle products?

LF> I think people are excited by them – especially chefs and passionate cooks who see the potential to create nutritious and beautifully colored meals with Rice and Rice Ramen at the center of the plate.

TRR> Which is your favorite variety of Lotus Foods ramen and what (if anything) do you add to them?

LF> I love the Forbidden Rice Ramen ® 4 pack – it’s a fantastic, nutrient-packed noodle with high levels of anthocyanins- the same antioxidant found in blueberries.  While the individual Ramen servings with the miso soup flavor envelopes are great, buying the 4 pack allows you to experiment with your own miso or dressing.

TRR> What kind of reaction have your products gotten in the United States?

LF> Very, very positive; the initial launch was beyond our expectations.

TRR> Why the name Lotus Foods?

LF> During our 1993 marketing research trip through China, when we were looking for business opportunities we called ourselves “East-West Management Company” which, it turned out, translated into Chinese could be interpreted as “constantly complaining ”.  Deciding this was not a good name to launch our company, we searched for something else.  Ken Lee, the other co-founder of the company, was studying the Lotus Sutra at the time and this became the inspiration for Lotus Foods.

TRR> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn more about Lotus Foods!

There you go! Let’s check out these unique new products!

Interview With Lotus Foods * Product Samples From Lotus Foods * Lotus Foods Jade Pearl Rice Ramen * Lotus Foods Millet & Bown Rice Ramen * Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice Ramen