A-Sha’s US distributor messaged me a little while ago about these new varieties about to hit the US market that are very popular in Taiwan right now. Guanmiao noodles hail from southern Taiwan in the agricultural heartland. Hotter weather and lot of noodles! Let’s crack it open and have a look!
Here’s the back of the four pack packaging (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, cook noodles for 5 minutes. Drain. Add in sachet contents. Finally, stir and enjoy!
The noodle block.
A liquid sachet.
A garnish sachet.
Finished (click to enlarge). Added chashu pork and sesame seeds. The guanmian noodles were pretty good – a pinch softer than the more traditionally made varieties but that’s alright. The flavor however was just way too salty for me. I know – in Taiwan, they put salt on everything – even oatmeal is enjoyed like congee! But it was saltier than I could manage. 2.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4715635852998.
A-Sha’s noodle come in a few different gauges, this one being the thickest, Hakka style. They’re wide, flat and chewy. I looked in the hamper and immediately thought this sounded good today. Let’s check it out!
The distributor/import sticker (click to enlarge). Contains shrimp. To prepare, add noodle block to a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Add in contents of sachet. Stir and enjoy!
Finished (click to enlarge). Added a large shrimp and some spring onion. The noodles are very nice in gauge and chew. As I’ve said before, the Taiwanese use very few ingredients in their noodles; they’re masters of simplicity. The sauce has an alright taste to it – a little on the salty side but not too much so. Another good one from this company. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4715635851601.
Here’s one the folks at A-Sha sent recently. Hakka noodles from Taiwan are on the broad side and use very few ingredients. This one should pack some heat! Let’s check it out!
The distributor/import sticker (click to enlarge). Contains fish. To prepare, add noodle block to a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and add in contents of liquid sachet. Stir and enjoy!
Finished (click to enlarge). Added spring onion, hard boiled egg, barbecue pork and nanami togarashi. A-Sha’s Hakka noodles are broad, thick and chewy – so nicely so! There’s a good amount of them as well. The spicy barbecue flavor is nice and coats everything well. The heat is there and a welcome fieriness. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4715635851618.
Here’s a brand I’ve been hoping to review for a while but have had a seriously hard time finding. Ching’s Secret is a company from India that produces Chinese inspired foods. This flavor is a little puzzling though – Manchurian? What flavor is that? I consulted Wikipedia and got some information:
Aha – so this is much like Nyonya food in Malaysia – Chinese foods strongly influenced by Malay flavors. Interesting!
The cuisine is believed to have originated from the Chinese of Calcutta and Chinese food is still popular there. At present, the Chinese population in Calcutta stands at approximately 2,000. Most of these people are of Hakka origin; however, the dishes of modern Indian Chinese cuisine, such as Chicken Manchurian, bear little resemblance to traditional Chinese cuisine.
This is interesting too; maybe this is to have the flavors of Chicken Manchurian? Also, the Hakka reference – I’ve had Hakka varieties from Taiwan before, but the noodles didn’t look like this at all. Well, let’s have a look inside!
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, boil 225ml water. Break noodle block into 4 pieces, add contents of seasoning sachet and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!
The noodle block.
The seasoning base sachet.
Has a kind of salty lemon scent.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added chicken, sweet onion, coriander, sliced carrot, sliced green onion and broccoli that I sauteed. The noodles are of a standard gauge and have a nice texture to them. They sucked up all of the liquid in 2 1/2 minutes. The flavor is very strong – very India and very spicy. I was honestly quite surprised at how spicy this stuff is. It’s got this masala hit to it as well as a saltiness too. I liked it. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8901595963317.
Here’s one with a flavor I’ve never heard of – well, except for the tom yum part. Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about the yentafo:
In Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, the Malay Muslims have taken to yong tau foo in a big way. As pork consumption is prohibited for Muslims, halal yong tau foo is generally soy based or stuffed vegetable fritters or steamed bean curd with fish paste stuffing. To prepare the dish, these, a steamed rice-flour roll (similar to that used for chee cheong fun) and a vegetable called kangkong are boiled to heat and soften them. The food items are drained and eaten with sprinkled toasted sesame seeds, chili sauce and a hoisin based sauce. Another version commonly found in Perak state is the soup type where the food items are served in a broth and provided with chili sauce and hoisin based sauce dipping. Halal yong tau foo is normally sold by Malay vendors at night markets (pasar malam) and at halal food courts by non-Muslim vendors.
I really couldn’t find anything about the mohfai, so if anyone’s got any thoughts, please comment and I’ll include it! Let’s check this out.
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, put the noodles and sachet contents in a bowl. Add 300ml water and cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy.
The noodle block.
The dry base sachet.
Very grainy and an interesting color.
The oil/paste sachet.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added fish balls, sweet onion, Fresno chilli pepper and green onion. The noodles are the standard ‘brown noodle’ that MAMA makes – they have a bit of seasoning and have a firm yet agreeably crumbly texture. The broth has a light spiciness and sweetness to it with just a skosh of heartiness from the oil that works perfectly. I was extremely pleased with this one – extremely. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars! UPC bar code 8850987142611.
This is pretty awesome – first heard this tune last week. Reminds me a lot of the old Kool And The Gang grooves.
as a component for dipping sauces, for example as used in hot pot meals
Shacha sauce is also known as sa-te sauce in the Hokkien dialect, reflecting its origin back to the satay sauce introduced by expatriate Chinese returning from South East Asia. It is however quite different from the peanut-based satay sauce popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Was glad I did – I thought that this might be more of a chicken or beef kind of flavor, but I would’ve been completely wrong. So, satay or shacha, here it is!
The back of the package (click image to enlarge). May contain seafood.
The noodle block. Note that these are hakka noodles – wide!
The sauce packet.
The sauce has a soy sauce scent.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added Vidalia sweet onions. The noodles are broad and have such a nice texture – so like an egg noodle but not eggy! The flavor is light; and has a seafood taste that’s very enjoyable. Reminds me of shrimp shumai. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.
Many people in Taiwan are of mixed Hoklo, Hakka, and Taiwanese aborigines heritage. Approximately half of the population of Hakka in Taiwan also speaks Taiwanese Hokkien, and it is highly likely[original research?] that many Taiwanese-speaking households descend from Hakka families in Taiwan who lost their language a few generations back.
The Taiwanese variant of the Hakka language resembles other variants of Hakka spoken in other parts of the world, but differs vastly in terms of pronunciation due to the influence of Taiwanese Hokkien. Therefore it is difficult, though not impossible, for speakers of other Hakka variants to understand Taiwanese Hakka.
So these people are known for their simple cuisine and thus, the Hakka noodle. With that, let’s check this one out!
The back of the package (click image to enlarge).
The noodles are wide a a little thick.
The fried bean sauce packet.
Has an interested scent – beans are what come to mind.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added chopped ham, Vidalia sweet onion and minced garlic to a little soy sauce and sauteed and a fried egg. The noodles have a very nice chew and perfect texture. The flavoring is nice with a little heartiness. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars.
Hakka Performance by Vancouver Taiwanese Hakka Association
Here’s the last of the varieties that A-Sha sent. This has been a really interesting Meet The Manufacturer – I’ve immersed myself in Taiwan documentaries and listening to music from Taiwan and checking out the architecture. I really never knew anything to speak of about Taiwan, but I must say it looks like an amazing place! Today, I’ll try the original flavor – A-Sha told me it’s their most popular.
Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). I must say that is a short list of ingredients!
The noodle block.
You can see the little jewels of oil dancing atop the liquid.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added bell pepper, sweet onion and beef that was sauteed in beef as well as a fried egg. These noodles have an excellent texture and chewiness I enjoyed. The flavoring was of soy and sesame. It is truly amazing how these few ingredients come together so well! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4715635850314.
I thought I’d end things with some funky music from Taiwan. This is from 1978 and by Zou Juan Juan / 邹娟娟.
The A-Sha Meet The Manufacturer is winding down here is the next to last of the varieties I’ll be reviewing. Spicy and sesame – two words I like! Let’s check it out.
The back of the package (click image top enlarge).
The noodle block. These Hakka noodles are wide!
The seasoning sauce.
Has a sesame scent, reminiscent of peanut butter.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added onion and beef that I sauteed and then added scrambled egg to with a little soy sauce on top. The noodles are thick, wide, chewy and delicious. The flavoring is a little oily and has a sesame flavor and a little heat to it. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.
This is a documentary about a Hakka person named Lee Teng Hui (1923-), President of Republic of China (1988-2000) and the first popularly-elected president in Chinese history. 李登辉 (1923-), 中华民国总统 (1988-2000) 和中华历史上第一位民选总统.
As most of you have probably noticed, I like onions. I usually pick sweet onion since it tends to smell up the freezer a bit less as I get a ton of them, prep them, then put them in a freezer bag. One time I got some at a grocery that were simply called brown onions, and they stunk up the entire fridge! Looking forward to this one by A-Sha – onion oil flavor!
The back of the packaging (click image to enlarge).
The noodle block – Mandarin noodle this time.
As with all the others, we have a single packet of liquid seasoning.
Has an aroma of soy, sesame and onion.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added beef, bell pepper and sweet onion that I sauteed with a little oil and sesame sauce. The noodles are exquisite in that they have a wonderful chew and just plain make me want more. The flavoring is top-notch in this one – a strong, sweet, onionny flavor with sesame and soy notes . Another masterpiece of simplicity. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.
Here is a video I thought would be interesting – it’s all about how Taiwanese Spring Onion Candy is made!
Today we’ve got the thinnest noodles I think I’ve seen in a pack. I was curious about the whole QQ thing so I looked it up and found this on Quora:
It’s a phrase mostly encountered in Taiwan that means “toothsome,” or “chewy.” It is similar to the Italian phrase, al dente. QQ is generally considered a desirable quality in Taiwanese cuisine, as it contributes to mouth feel.
It says on the back that these noodles should only be cooked for one and a half minutes. Interesting – let’s check this out!
The back of the package (click image to enlarge). This one contains fish called bream.
I must say these are the thinnest, wispiest noodles I’ve ever seen that are made from wheat.
The sauce packet.
Has a nice scent – I smell the soy sauce the most.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a fried egg, red bell pepper, sweet onion, Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake, and beef sauteed with a little garlic salt. 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. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4715635850666.
A National Geographic Mega Cities special about Taipei.
When I first opened the box of samples from A-Sha, I was immediately curious about this one. Big, blocky red type on a stark white background. I’ve been told this black pepper flavor is tradition of a dish served at ‘Night Markets’ in Taiwan. A steak with a black pepper sauce and an egg on the side – a very nostalgic Taiwanese classic (here’s what it looks like). Let’s have a look.
The back of the package (click image to enlarge).
This time we have Mandarin noodles. They are slightly thinner and flatter than the Hakka noodle.
Here’s the sauce packet. I thought it was neat how the No. 10 is actually transparent and the dark color is the sauce.
The sauce has a peppery scent.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a runny yolk fried egg, some beef I sauteed with soy sauce and a little Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles are exemplary and absolutely flawless. The sauce was pretty good. I expected a stronger flavor with a richer taste, but it was lighter than I expected. I very much enjoyed all of the pepper! As you can see from the noodles, it is coating everything very well. This yet again was another very different instant variety for me. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 4715635851007.
This is a great video of what its like at a Taiwan Night Market. Here’s a more guided tour.