Want to know the secret behind our famous ramen noodles?
In two words it’s this: unexpected combinations. In a lot more words, here’s the story.
When Ken, one of our founders, was visiting Japan, a wise old ramen-master told him:
“If you don’t make your own noodles, you’re just a soup shop.”
Ken took this advice to heart and, along with fellow Tonkotsu founder Emma, got busy finding the tools, ingredients and expertise to rise above soup-shop status right here in the UK.
First, Ken and Emma needed a machine
And not just any machine. But a noodle machine that needed no specialist support from noodle-machine engineers. Because there are approximately zero noodle-machine engineers in the UK. So they settled on a mid-century design classic with no complicated circuit boards or mystical widgets. Just an elegant arrangement of gears, cogs and an electric motor. So elegant in fact that our first noodle-making machine took six months to make it across the Sea of Japan and into our kitchen.
Second, they needed flour
And not just any flour. But the kind of flour that gives authentic Japanese ramen ‘that bite’. In Japan there are hundreds of different types of ramen noodle flour, each tailored to give noodles distinctive characteristics. In England? Not so much. Or at all. Or so Ken & Emma thought! Until a nationwide search took them to a specialist flour mill in the Oxfordshire countryside whose flour had the perfect protein content for ramen making. Praise be to the ramen gods.
Third, they needed water
A completely different water to the water that comes out of English taps, no less. Because the right water is what gives ramen noodles the right elasticity: it needs to be soft and alkaline whereas water in London is the reverse. The possibility of running a pipe to Japan was quickly dismissed in favour of the industrial water filter and alkaline salts you’ll find in our kitchens, where they quietly replicate the properties of Japanese water to give our ramen noodles their authentic stretch.
So there you go. A mid-century Japanese machine, a mill in rural Oxfordshire and an industrial Alkaline water filter. All joining forces to create perfect Japanese ramen noodles here in the UK.