Wah King Noodle Company, Inc. was founded by John S. Tan, a Chinese immigrant whose ancestral home is Fujian, China. As a young boy, he watched the traditional method of making noodles by kneading the dough with heavy wooden sticks. The artisan noodle makers would use a lever system to ‘beat’ the dough into a chewy texture called ‘QQ’ in the native dialect; this is also called ‘dan xing’ in standardized national Chinese. He successfully replicated this traditional method using modern machines to achieve this unique texture that is what keeps our customers coming back for more of our noodles.
Located near Chicago’s Chinatown on West 26th St., the company’s original purpose was to produce egg roll skins for the family’s Chinese restaurant. Word quickly spread to other restaurants, however, that we were producing a new, higher quality product, and soon competing restaurants were clamoring for Wah King’s wrappers. Made in the Old World Way using the finest ingredients available, Wah King Noodle grew its reputation as the premier producer of egg roll wrappers in the Chicago marketplace.
Our ability to meet the demanding standards of our restaurant customers sparked interest in the local retail grocery community, who wanted our smaller packages of our product to sell to their customers. Wah King Noodle responded by introducing our frozen Egg Roll Wrappers and Wonton Wrappers packaged for at-home consumption. Seeing how we had produced better wrappers, soon local grocers were asking us to provide them with a better quality dry noodle. Thus, our famous Number Three and Number Four Chinese Noodles were born. Shortly thereafter, the Wah King family of products was rounded out by the introduction of our Gyoza Skins and our special Number 5 Steamed Noodles.
Our expanding business soon outgrew our original location, and, in 1978, we moved to a larger facility at Wabash Ave. and Cermak Rd. in Chicago. Our business continued to grow, and soon Wah King’s quality products could be found as far north as Michigan, as far south as Georgia, as far east as New York and as far west as Oklahoma. This growth occurred as our reputation spread by word-of-mouth, as we had no advertising budget and lacked a dedicated sales staff.
In the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, our westward expansion continued with the opening of our factory on 7th St. in Los Angeles. Still making noodles in the Old World Way using the finest ingredients available, we expanded our product offerings to include bulk Fine, Square, Thin and Medium noodles for institutional, restaurant and fast food use. Through intensive research and continuous improvement, we developed special ingredient formulations and proprietary production methods that resulted in noodles unlike any others available on the market – a dry noodle that cooks up with all the texture and twice the yield of fresh noodles, yet better withstands the rigors of boiling and steaming. Just as we originally experienced in Chicago, West Coast restaurants began flocking to us to buy our unique, high quality noodles.
In 2000, our Chicago factory expanded again into a new facility on Chicago’s South Side. Our new production capacity has enabled us to incorporate automation into our traditional method of making noodles, resulting in improved consistency and quality of products. Our new facilities have also enabled us to continue to provide our expanding consumer and restaurant markets with more of our premium noodles.
Now operated by the next generation of the Tan family, and reaching almost the entire United States from our Chicago and Los Angeles locations, Wah King Noodle Company, Inc. is still committed to serving both our existing and new customers by continuing to produce the highest quality noodle products, made in the Old World Way using the finest ingredients available.