It was more than100 years ago when Hyomatsu, working as an apprentice in the sugar wholesale merchant, became independent and started manufacturing dry noodles in 1906. Last year Tanaka Seimensho, our dry noodle manufacturer, celebrated the 100th anniversary of their establishment. Current CEO, Tanaka II, Hyojiro is now 96 years old, current president, Tanaka III, Miyoshi, is 73 years old, and Tanaka IV, Shoji is a plant manager. It’s amazing that not only the company has celebrated their 100th anniversary, but also the fact that three generations are working together in the same place! These accomplishments are truly worthy of our praise. Moreover, in 1969, Tanaka started exporting their dry noodles and is currently active in organic production.
Dry noodles were introduced in Japan from China (from the Nara period - 710-794AD). Around that time, dry noodles were called “wheat rope” (it looked like rope made of wheat). Dry noodles were hand-made and sun-dried until the beginning of the 20th century. Presently dry noodle production is a mechanized process. Hand-made noodles are still available through a noodle brand called “Tenobe”.
Tanaka insists making noodles with body. To produce noodles with body, it must make the most of the wheat characteristic “gluten.” To form gluten, it requires an aging stage during the mixing, kneading and drying process. There are two important factors when it comes to aging of noodles. 1) After ingredient mixing, the kneading process lasts for 30 minutes. 2) The mixture must then sit for 2 hours before going to rolling process. The quality of aging at the drying process depends on the noodle moisture being dried evenly at the core and surface of the noodles. Another important factor is that Tanaka’s noodles are dried naturally at room temperature for 24 hours (not artificially dried with the machine). This process contributes to their dry noodles having body.
It is also important to know how to properly cook noodles. For details, please refer to “Tips for cooking excellent noodles”
Present and future
Dried noodles have long since been appreciated as a preserved food that can be eaten either hot or cold throughout the four seasons in Japan. However, lately the popularity of dried noodles is fading away in Japan. The demand for ‘decreasing household cooking time’ is occurring not only in Japan, but all over the world. This cook-time factor plays a significant role for the unpopularity of dried noodles.
Dried noodles certainly have a long and interesting history. Muso is committed to continue marketing authentic dried noodles with body. Muso values the preservation of this traditional Japanese food manufacturing practice and wants to also introduce these ‘slow and genuine’ foods to the entire the world.
“Tips for cooking excellent noodles”
- Use a large pot in order to boil the noodles
- Bring water to a complete boil. Then, put the noodles in the pot. At first, noodles will sink to the bottom. They will then come to the surface about a minute later.
- When the noodles come to the surface, loosen the noodles with chopsticks or tongs.
- Make sure the noodles are boiling as spinning around in the pot.
- Finally, follow the cooking time instructions exactly.