Tag Archives: r&d

Meet The Manufacturer: Product Samples From Vite Ramen (1 of 2) – United States

Meet The Manufacturer: Product Samples From Vite Ramen - United States

In order to do reviews, we need some samples. This was really exciting – prototypes! I don’t often get prototypes, so it was a great honor to be one of the very first to try these new products during the development process. Let’s take a look!

Product Samples From Vite Ramen – United States

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Thailand: Day 2 – Factory Tour & More

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

After some sleep, we headed down to breakfast. The Chatrium had a big breakfast buffet which was really nice – I would say my favorite part was all the fruit . One thing I’ve found is that when you’re in Asia, you’ve got to eat a lot of two things: seafood and fruit. Because it’s good there. Damn good. I ended up trying some dim sum and some other interesting things.

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After breakfast, we met up with Mr. Banks. We headed off to the factory first thing. One thing we noticed around were lots of big purple billboards. As it turns out, April 2nd was the Princess’ birthday – click here to find out more.

On the way to the factory

So where is the noodle factory? Why Sriracha of course! What might surprise many is that the red rooster sauce everyone knows as Sriracha sauce isn’t super popular here.

The gate at Thai President Foods.

Entering the factory – everything smells like fried noodles! Was really nice.

Not sure but I’m guessing this is palm oil used to fry the noodles.

The first thing we did was watch a movie on this huge screen. It was all about Thai Foods and their products and company achievements.

Then we got to take a walk down the line and see the noodles being made! I can say first hand that this place was about as clean as it gets – standards are critically important in the noodles and food manufacturing business.

Walking down the line.

After the noodles come off the line, these two make sure they are in their little trays. If not, they tap them in.

Busy at the factory.

Packaging noodles.

Ms. Sumonrut, the RD & QA Manager and Mr. Songphop, the Regulatory Affairs Researcher took us around the R&D lab!

The R&D team!

They had homemade dishes and their instant version for me to try.

Talking food and trying it – really good stuff! It was an amazing tour I’ll never forget!

After the tour, we drove along the coast to Pattaya. This place was amazing; the smell of incense everywhere and this amazing temple by the sea.

We stopped at a seaside restaurant.

The food here was amazing – sea bass, morning glory in sauce, cashew chicken. We let Mr. Banks order figuring he’d know what was good – and he did!

Okay take a look at this. Take a long look. This sambal was like nothing I’ve tasted before – spicy from chillies, citrus hits from lemongrass, and a myriad of garlic and other herbs and spices. You grab some of the steamed sea bass and put a little of this on top. It was probably one of the best flavors I experienced in Thailand.

Some of the best squid I’ve ever had.

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Some neat street art.

On the way back to the hotel for a rest before the welcome dinner.

Amazing sunset out our hotel room’s window.

So Thai President Foods invites distributors every year for a special ‘agent’s meeting.’ It alternates by region every year and this year was the European Agents’ Meeting. People who distribute MAMA noodles all over Europe were there!

Everyone got to introduce themselves – here’s what I had to say (public speaking’s not my strong suit haha).

Got to meet some very nice people and have some tasty food! Jellyfish, crab, river prawn, prawn ball and my favorite…

This is duck – sliced very thin. You would take a pancake (the kind you would find with moo-shu pork) and put a slice of the duck on and one of these little bundles with spring onion and add some sauce, wrap it up and devour. Tasty fun stuff!

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The dinner was on the 36th floor of The Chatrium Hotel – and the view was spectacular. What a day!

#1388: Paldo Barbecue Ramyun (Prototype)

I got a message from my pal Moses over at Paldo America while back asking if I’d like to review some instant ramyun that hasn’t been put out yet but is being sampled with college students to see what they think. I was absolutely rceptive to the idea – prototype instant noodles sound very interesting! Let’s see how barbecue ramyun tastes – this is the first of two versions, the other I’ll try soon.

Here’s a closeup of the label (click image to enlarge). There’s nothing on the back of the package. Not sure if it contains meat. To prepare, boil 500ml water and drop in noodle block and solid ingredients for 4 minutes. Drain, reversing a couple spoonfulls. Add in powder sachet contents and stir. Enjoy!

The ramyun noodle block.

The powder sachet – no labeling whatsoever.

A lot of powder!

The solid ingredients sachet.

Looks like some green onion in there – maybe some TVP?

 

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added sweet onion, fried egg and sukiyaki beef. The noodles are thick and have a decent chewiness – chewier than usual I’d say. The flavor is very different. It seems to be a melding of beef, smokiness and a little spiciness in an approximation of barbecue sauce, but not quite. What gets me is it tastes exactly like barbecue potato chips. Exactly. The interesting thing about that to me is that when Paldo came out with their Kokomen, I thought it tasted like Jalapeno Cheddar Chee-tos. I think they might be on to something! Like a barbecue chip flavored mi goreng.  3.75 out of 5.0 – very curious about the second prototype on this one.

Here’s an example of a focus group. A group of random people are in a room and shown a prototype opf a product and asked many questions about it to try and give the company who wants to make it an idea of whether it will succeed or fail. When you make a million zillion of something, you want it to appeal to people!

Special Report – How Instant Noodles Are Made: The Pilot Line At The Wheat Marketing Center [VIDEO]

Recently, I was given the great opportunity to visit the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, Oregon. People who work with noodles and other wheat products from all over the world come here to take part in the Asian Noodle Technology and Ingredient Application Short Course. The course is taught by Dr. Gary Hou, an expert in the production of wheat noodles like ramen and yakisoba. I found out about the course via a news feed I follow and decided to email Dr. Hou and see if I could cover the instant noodle workshop for The Ramen Rater. I was very pleased when he answered in the affirmative, and so on March 27th, we got up early, hopped in the car and drove to Portland! In the following pictures and video, I’ll describe how instant noodles start as raw ingredients and become the blocks of noodles we all know so well. I’ll go through everything from photos first, and then there’s a video at the bottom of the process. Enjoy!

In the photo above you can see participants getting ready to make instant noodles.

Here we see Dr. Hou interacting with students who have been broken up into teams. Each team will experiment with different ingredients in the noodles they make.

The recipes are very precise.

The first stage: ingredients are put together and mixed.

Cleaning the first machine that will be used on the pilot line. Why is it called a pilot line? Well, for example, filmmakers will make a pilot episode of a television show to pitch to executives at a television studio. If they like it, it will go into production. This pilot line is where R&D food scientists test theories and fine-tune recipes. Once they’ve got things exactly the way they want, their recipes and methods will be translated into a large production line which is designed to make noodles at a much faster rate.

The logo on the machine.

After the ingredients have been combined, the dough rests.

It then begins the process of being flattened into a long strip.

After it goes in, a cover is attached.

As you can see, plenty of keep hands out signs. Industrial strength rollers evenly flatten the dough.

A long, flat strip of the dough. On to the next machine.

These are machines that flatten the strip we saw in the last picture gradually thinner and thinner until it reaches the desired thickness.

It finally reaches this machine, where it is cut into noodles. There is a blade that moves in a wobbly fashion which makes the noodles wavy as you see here.

Next, the uncooked noodles take a trip uphill.

They enter a steam cooking unit. The steam is boiling hot and cooks the noodles.

Dr. Hou converses with students while waiting for the noodles to come to the far end.

Here is where the noodles will emerge from after their steam bath.

Next, the noodles are cut and folded in half, then weighed.

Here they are immersed in a deep fryer. They cook in here for just over a minute.

The noodles are done and ready to be popped out of the cooking containers.

The finished product: two blocks of instant noodles. I was able to see how they tasted fresh out of the fryer and they were quite good – warm and crunchy!

Here you can see the process in motion.

My thanks go to The Wheat Marketing Center, Dr. Gary Hou, Mike Allen, and my wife Christine who took on the task of driving me down and back – a long day but one full of learning. Want to find out more about The Wheat Marketing Center? Check out www.wmcinc.org for more information.