Story of Our Wheat Noodles
Updated: Dec 4, 2018
How the noodles that are now a staple of our restaurant came to be
Five or six years ago, we received the news that the company that made our noodles was going out of business. This noodle is called a Hong Kong style noodle or chow mein (which translates to noodle) noodle. It’s eggless and made from wheat. So here was the opportunity: find a new noodle for the favorite Spicy Dan’s Peanut Delight and Charlie’s Chow Mein and improve the quality. Lucky for us, Rudy, my business partner and husband, is the most amazing investigator, so I put him on the job. Sleuthing around through the internet and many phone calls later, Rudy locates a professor at a “Noodle College” (yes, there is a noodle college) in LA, who is an expert in noodles and noodle manufacturing. Rudy gives him a call in hopes that he may know a local noodle distributor. After first receiving a thorough noodle education, different types, styles and what makes an excellent quality noodle, he’s given the name of a company in Oakland that makes a high quality fresh noodle.
Fresh noodles, high quality, and close to home... this was music to my ears.
We drive to Oakland to check them out. There is a warehouse district next to downtown Oakland, off highway 880. Numerous small food distribution and business warehouses are tucked in an area I didn’t know existed. We locate the noodle makers in the maze of unmarked buildings and enter into a large warehouse. Stacked shelves line down the middle, with a window on the right, into a side room, where we can view an enormous machine making fresh noodles. After we find someone who speaks English, this is a Chinese operation, we introduce ourselves; explain who we are and about our noodle mission. A long term business partnership begins. They agree to make a noodle specifically for Charlie Hong Kong. It is a longer more robust noodle. The quality is superior to the previous noodle. The noodles are made from scratch, then immediately hung over racks in a special room to dry. The noodles are boxed and delivery to us the second or third day after being made. We buy noodles by the pallet to keep prices down and make deliveries easier. Noodles eaten at Charlie Hong are that fresh.
Our “noodle people” have visited Charlie Hong Kong to taste their product first hand. It’s a lovely family run business, father and sons, with high integrity. We recently made a trip to visit their new warehouse. We were graciously welcomed and walked through the entire process, from arrival of the flour to the freshly dried noodle. What I can say is; the plant is immaculate with state of the art equipment. Everyone working there smiled at us and seemed happy. Quality really matters to them like it does to us. Now we’re cooking up a new noodle idea. I’ll keep you posted!