You may have seen these packets of locally-produced Kang Kang noodles – Hokkien Noodles, Laksa Noodles, Ipoh Hor Fun, Bee Tai Mak and (gluten-free) Kway Teow with that cute monkey icon in the supermarkets.
Wait, wait, wait… did you realise that the noodles are not kept in the chillers, as these freshly-made noodles would typically spoil if not done so?
That is when I learned that Kang Kang’s noodles are pasteurised.
The last time I saw the word “pasteurised” was on a carton of milk. That means the process helps remove pathogenic micro-organisms from the products.
The implication is: Longer shelf life for the noodles (a month in ambient conditions, up to 6 months in chiller), freeing up chiller space both in the supermarkets and at home, and reducing the level of alkalinity of wheat-based noodles.
Some friends do not like to eat the usual thick yellow Hokkien noodles due to the ‘ghee’ taste. These pasteurised noodles reduce it to a minimum, while retaining the original flavours.
To find out more about the making of Kang Kang noodles, I went behind the scenes, starting with the Tan Seng Kee Foods Pte Ltd (TSK) factory…
Noodle Production and Packaging
A bit of history here: TSK began in 1936 like any family business, and the SME used to supply noodles to local hawkers and wet markets.
Things took a bigger change when the 3rd generation owners went on a quest for to keep the 80-year old business alive and going.
After focusing on technology and packaging, the R&D team found a way to pasteurise noodles, and were able keep fresh noodles in the shelves longer.
Thanks to the automated processes, instead of focusing on the manual tasks, staff is also given time to upgrade and learn, diversifying to food technology, operations, customer services and other business fields.
We Singaporeans should be very proud. This humble noodle shop now exports noodles to the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Middle East markets. Maybe one day, we will see Kang Kang noodles in supermarkets everywhere!
Logistics and Distribution
I also met Logistics Personal Ronnie at FairPrice, who introduced me to his role – that includes checking on stock levels, arrangement of display sets, and most importantly being the interface between the manufacturer (TSK), distributor (supermarkets) and end user (customers).
While the food manufacturing sector is typically perceived as a labour-intensive, low-tech and low-value sunset industry, the reality can be quite otherwise.
Ronnie also showed how he uses a special PDA to do stock-taking, to ensure that items low in supply gets replenished efficiently.
Food technologists ensure that food products are produced safely, legally and are of the quality.
During my visit, the food technologist was testing the alkalinity and moisture of the noodles.
In fact, TSK Foods has dedicated a substantial amount on R&D, giving employees the opportunities to upscale, attend training sessions overseas, to be creative to come up with new products.
That is how TSK Foods came up with…
Kang Kang Express Meal Kits in local favour flavours of Prawn Noodles, Laksa, and Curry Mee.
These use fresh noodles with fresh paste within, which you can cook conveniently in a matter of minutes over stove or in the microwave.
Borrowing someone’s words, “So simple!”
I liked the Prawn Noodles best as the soup base was robust and quite flavoursome. Indeed, the noodles’ texture was slightly different from the usual, and didn’t have much of that alkaline taste.
Fresh, tasty, springy. No preservatives, no refrigeration, no washing of noodles needed!
From a traditional fresh-noodle maker to a trusted noodle produce manufacture and distributor with constant new products, this is something they should be very proud of.
Something else I learnt: For all that TSK is doing, they have a staff strength of 40. WOW. They do have a cohesive and progressive team.
The directors shared that they are looking at expansion, especially in the food technologies, marketing, R&D fields to reach out to new and international markets.
For you craving for some Kang Kang noodles, you can easily find them at the local supermarkets.
If not, you can also head to popular eateries such as Kim’s Fried Hokkien Mee and Eunos 4A Lor Mee for a taste of their delicious noodles.
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with SG Food Makers.
SG Food Makers is a project to enhance Singaporeans’ perception of the local food manufacturing sector, with the goal of encouraging more Singaporeans who have a passion for food to consider a career in this promising industry.
In Singapore, we make food, better.