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The Ramen Rater Visits Taiwan – Day 3: Taichung Noodle Factories & Taipei’s Huaxi Night Market

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4  * Day 5

Woke up at the Silks Place hotel and had some breakfast. Then we were off to the Tainan rail station. We said goodbye to Darren there and then goodbye to Perry who had to head back to Taipei as he was off to travel on business the next day. The rail stations were really fascinating; almost like a mall to themselves! Tons of people, but everything seems to work very logically. We took the train from Tainan to Taichung where three more noodle factories were to explore! Met Jason, Erickk and Paul and went out for lunch at a hot pot restaurant. Got to try plum drink – kind of tasted like American barbecue sauce to be honest, but went very well with the Taiwanese beef. Was an enjoyable meal for all and then we were off to visit three noodle factories. These factories are all part of a company called Hung Guang.

The first factory was interesting. First, we see the dough flattened thinner and thinner and then cut and deposited into grid-like trays. Workers make sure the noodles are in the correct places before the trays are sent off to the drying room, a very warm place indeed. Then the dried noodles come upstairs for packaging.

The second factory makes the straight noodles found in the new varieties by Mom’s Dry Noodle. The first machine we see takes the noodles and gets them bundled. In the next scene, we see the hanging noodles ready to go up to the drying room upstairs and a processing machine (it was late in the day so it wasn’t running). In the back, the dough is being made. Upon entry, we saw a big fish tank that we took a closer look at when we were leaving. The large fish has scaled that look kind of like coins arranged in a pattern and Kyle told me that these fish bring luck in the wealth department.

On the way to the third factory, we stopped for some bubble tea. Taichung is the birthplace of bubble tea and so having some from there was really great. I also got to try wheel cakes – they’re shaped like a wheel and kind of like a pancake outside with either a custard of red bean inside, and served hot. Perfect combo!

We visit the third factory late in the day. This factory uses fans to dry their noodles as well as heat. What you end up with is the ability to dry the noodles without the sun’s help, which is great for a colder day. After our tour, we had some oolong tea and talked about our trip thus far and how I was interested in eating snake and maybe even trying steamed spider. They liked that a lot and wanted to take us out on the town in Taichung, but unfortunately we had to catch the train back to Taipei. So, we bid them adieu and headed for the THSR station. Once back in Taipei, we check into our room, again at the United Hotel, and then headed to the Huaxi night market.

I’d never been to a night market before and if you haven’t, it’s an amazing, living, breathing thing. Lots and lots of food and product stalls everywhere and lots of people too. So many smells, sounds and sights that it almost becomes a bit of a blur. Huaxi (snake alley) night makret has a lot of the more interesting things like a couple places selling snake and turtle to eat. I saw a YouTube video about snake and really wanted to give it a try. I did in this video – and quite honestly, I liked it, albeit kind of hard to eat. I hope you enjoy the video! After this we went back to our hotel and passed out.

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2015 Edition

A new year brings the The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of all Time 2015 Edition. After reviewing over 1,750 different varieties, these are my favorites hailing from Taiwan. Taiwan’s instant noodles are different from those of any other country; so curious about what direction their flavors go next. With that, let’s dig in to the new list for 2015!

The video presentation of The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2015 Edition.

#10: Wei Lih Jah Jan Men

The noodles have a very nice gauge and chew. The
flavor of the noodle is a soybean paste with a very nice kick to it. The broth for
sipping has a salty, onion-garlic kind of feel but a little different. It works
so well together; either one on it’s own would be unremarkable, but the two in tandem as a meal is genius. Original review

#9: Unif Man Han Feast Sichuan Chili Eel Flavor Instant Noodle

The noodles are flat and broad. They have a nice quality to them; not too chewy but very good for a bowl noodle. The broth is rich with a good spiciness. The added bonus with this is the eel – it’s really good! Everything is rich and hearty and it’s definitely a feast to behold and consume.  Original review

#8: A-Sha Dry Noodle QQ Thin Noodle – BBQ Sauce

These noodles are great! Very light and thin and honesty they seem to be happy. It’s a perfect balance of texture and delicateness. They definitely are wonderful to chew. The BBQ sauce? Well, this isn’t what most would think of when you say BBQ sauce – it’s not the 99 cents a bottle stuff at the local grocery store. Instead, it’s a very enjoyable and tasty flavor with nice depth. Soy sauce, garlic, a slight spiciness and other flavors are represented in a wonderful flavor that doesn’t have the usual American ‘slather’ BBQ sauce feel. This is excellent. #1 in 2013. Original review

#7: Deshome Sun Dried Noodle Chlorella Powder Noodle With Curry

This unique noodles really got me. First off, they’re green – really green! They had a nice texture and an amazing curry flavor that was truly great. As most of you know, I’m a big curry fan and it’s sweetness and rich taste were just spot on. Original review

#6: Mom’s Dry Noodle Onion Oil & Shrimp Flavor

It’s amazing how sometimes when I do a top ten list, some of the best ones are right before the cutoff for my list! I tried this one a week or so ago and let me just say – wow. The noodles are of an excellent quality and texture with a perfect chewiness. The flavor is well balanced with not too much saltiness but definitely not bland; it’s rich and delectable stuff. Original review

#5: Chering Chang Curry La-Men

This is the first variety I’ve tried of this brand and if the others they make are anything like this, they’re going to be doing very well with my reviews! The noodles are of a standard instant noodle gauge but have a very fresh feel to them. The curry broth is a wonderful sweet curry with a excellent richness to it. The included vegetable sachet was a show stopper on this one, with everything hydrating to perfection and a really ample quantity.Original review

#4: A-Sha Dry Noodle Veggie Noodle Baby Grass Noodle With Toona Sauce

The noodles have a very good elasticity to them. They have a broad flat nature and a premium texture and chewiness. The flavor was a soy and something else – the Toona aspect I imagine. It had an earthiness which was subtle and light – just right. I very much liked this; it seemed like something that would pair well with the acidity of tomato and richness of some kind of beef with wine juxtaposition. Original review

#3: Mom’s Dry Noodle Sichuan Spicy Flavor

After trying their Onion Oil & Shrimp, I couldn’t wait to try this one – and it was a real treat as well. What sets this one apart are the noodles. Sun dried and with a perfect texture and thickness. They’re absolutely amazing. As for the flavor, it comes together via three sachets: mushroom oyster sauce, sesame oil and chilli paste. The heat is ample and so wonderfully balanced with the sesame and oyster sauce. #1 in 2014. Original review

#2: Mom’s Dry Noodle Sour & Spicy Flavor

The noodles are really primo – excellent gauge and chewiness. They’re thick and have a gourmet quality to them. The flavor is really great. It goes from an initial hit from the black vinegar’s sourness, then mulls around with the heat and almost transforms into a sweetness at a point. It’s a very active flavor that kept my tastebuds fascinated the whole time. Excellent! Original review

#1: A-Sha Dry Noodle Veggie Noodle Tomato Noodle With Vine Ripened Tomato Sauce – Taiwan

In the number one position we have the very first Taiwanese instant to make the annual top ten overall list. . But there’s no denying – this is absolutely marvelous stuff. The noodles have a great gauge – broad, flat and soft with a light chew. The great part is the tomato flavor – when I opened the sachet of sauce the whole room smelled like fresh tomatoes. Not only that, there’s more than enough sauce to flavor all of the noodles. Original review