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Saimin Noodles Are Ramen’s Tastier, Chewier Cousin

A blend of Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese cultures in one bowl

Saimin noodles are a staple in Hawaii, but for some reason they haven’t gained much popularity in the mainland. In this episode of Cooking in America, host Sheldon Simeon stops by the Sun Noodle factory in Hawaii to get the story behind this local favorite.

Saimin noodles are similar to ramen, but the dough has more eggs and a higher concentration of ash. These ingredients give the noodles an intense flavor and a chewier texture. The noodles are typically served in a clear broth along with a simple meat like char siu pork. Growing up in Hawaii, Simeon ate saimin for breakfast.

According to Simeon, “[they are] a perfect example of the type of food that can only come together out of the blend of immigrant cultures that exists on the islands; it’s like a blend of Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese in a bowl.”

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