Thirty-five Years of Long Life and Good Fortune
Jodie Chiemi Ching
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
For many Japanese, noodles are a must-have at New Year’s. Toshikoshi Soba are buckwheat noodles traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve to help you “leap from the old year into the new year.” Noodles in general are also said to symbolize long life.
So, Sun Noodle was destined for a long life and good fortune from the day Hidehito Uki left his hometown of Tochigi in the Kantö area of Japan and arrived in Hawai‘i in 1981. At 19, he could barely speak English. So, he let his noodles do his talking for him by going door-to-door, delivering samples to prospective customers. Each time they gave him some feedback, he returned to his factory, revised his recipe and took it back to the restaurants until he had made them just the way they liked it. Each restaurant had its own preference: One wanted thick noodles, another wanted them thin, still another wavy, another chewy.