The Los Angeles Times had an article on Friday about Sun Noodle, a Hawaii based company with noodle factories in both L.A. and New Jersey. What's so special about Sun Noodle? Well, there is a good chance they make the noodles for your favorite ramen place.
You thought the best ramen places handmade their noodles? Devoted ramen chefs obsess over their broth — the proportion of pork stock to seafood stock in their tonkotsu gyokai, the amount of brix (solids) in the stock. They think about every detail of preparation — how much to adjust the noodle cooking time in humid or dry weather, which way the fish cake faces the customer when the bowl is served. But many don't make their own noodles, leaving the work to specially calibrated, über-efficient machinery.The cool thing for home chefs is that, in addition to custom noodle orders for restaurants, they also make a product you can make at home. What you see above is a package of two servings of their noodles with a miso flavored soup base. It costs somewhere on the order of $3-$4, so quite a bit more expensive than your regular dried instant ramen but by no means ridiculously so. You will find them (hopefully) stored in the refrigerated section of Asian markets. For people in the Boston area, I have found them at Miso Market and Super 88 and I've bought noodles with and without a soup base.
I'm a huge fan of ramen hacks, and these noodles are a way to take those quick weeknight dinner ideas to another level. These noodles taste much, much better than any instant brand you can buy... though you do sacrifice the convenience of being able to leave them in your cupboard forever (you are supposed to keep Sun Noodles refrigerated and use them within a couple of weeks or freeze them).
For dinner last night I took 2 cups of water and added the miso soup base. Brought it to a boil and added some chopped baby bok choy (leafy green part reserved) and two inch pieces of uncooked bacon with the noodles. After about three minutes I took it off the heat and added some enoki mushrooms and the reserved green part of the bok choy.
Keep an eye out for these, as I recommend them highly.