Ramen’s rise in popularity over the last decade has changed what Americans imagine when they picture the dish. The first thing that comes to mind isn't microwavable single-serving styrofoam cups — ramen now connotes fresh, meat-and-produce-studded bowls of house-made broth, with a tangle of tender noodles at the bottom.
But as dedicated ramen shops pop up across the U.S., and Japanese restaurants up their noodle game as well, the need for a source of a mass-produced but artisanal, high-quality product is undeniable. It is a niche filled — for hundreds of restaurants across the country as well as supermarkets, wholesalers, hotels — by Sun Noodle.
Sun Noodle was founded in Honolulu in 1981, and now boasts three enormous factories — at least 10,000 square feet each — across the United States. Across all three factories, Sun Noodle makes 90,000 servings of noodles per day; their offerings include six types of ramen, four types of soba, udon, and saimin, as well as gyoza and wonton skins. The process of making ramen noodles in bulk is as mesmerizing as it is efficient; watch the video above for a look inside the factory at work.