Ma Noodles 1964: Premium duck egg noodles, a Malaysian family's three-generations-old heritage

August 3, 2020

Fresh duck egg noodles with a rich, nearly buttery smoothness, handmade through a three-generations-old family recipe: Take your home-cooked noodles to the next level with Ma Noodles 1964, an independent Malaysian brand that takes pride in slurp-worthy strands of traditional tastiness.

We had the opportunity to visit the modest space in KL where the Ma family and several workers spend hours preparing some 200 kilograms of noodles everyday, sent to about 100 discerning hawkers throughout the Klang Valley as well as home consumers. Here's a special glimpse into how great noodles are made, step by step.

You can order at: manoodles1964.com

The story of Ma Noodles 1964 starts over half a century ago, when the family's Guangzhou-born grandfather Ma Ying Wai developed a duck egg noodle recipe made from scratch, offering it to noodle vendors who sought high-quality produce to satisfy their customers.

Today, Ma's son and grandchildren continue his legacy, focused mainly on supplying to businesses. But this year, Ma Noodles 1964 launched its own online store, for home consumers to prepare these noodles for their own households.

These are convenient noodles, versatile enough for soups or curries, or served simply with sauces. For the fast-paced lifestyle, the noodles can be cooked in less than two minutes!

Though the preparation is speedy, the production of the noodles is painstaking, a time-honoured labour of love that's been perfected over the course of nearly six decades.

The noodles' creaminess and silkiness rely on pure duck eggs - 100 eggs are cracked open each hour to produce 500 portions of noodles, mixed with flour, with no water added to dilute the ingredients. The process is meticulously monitored by the Ma Noodles 1964 team amid many sacks of flour. 

After about 10 minutes of mixing, the team starts feeling the results by hand, massaging the mixture and testing for firmness and springiness. Minor daily fluctuations in temperature and humidity can affect the texture of the mix, so more flour is introduced if necessary.

Once the team is satisfied, the noodle sheets begin to take shape in flattening machines. The sheets go through four such machines, making them progressively thinner for the precise coveted texture. In the final machine, the sheets are run through a corn starch sprinkler to keep them from sticking together.

It's off to the noodle cutting stations next, transforming the sheets into the noodles we know and love!

You can finally see the noodles now, emerging from one of two cutting stations. The first is newer, an automated machine that's only about a decade old, set to slicing the sheets into thin noodles. Workers patiently weigh and sort these into portions of 80 grams each for packing.

The older cutting machine has been a stalwart for 30 years, a more manual affair that results in thicker noodles. The team works like clockwork, ripping the strands apart by hand to accurately and efficiently portion out 80 grams of noodles every five seconds or so.

These procedures take an hour from start to finish, yielding about 500 portions of 80-gram noodles per serving. With five hours spent each day, the team can prepare at least 2,500 portions.

Preparing the noodles at home is pretty straightforward. Loosen them up and bring 2 litres of water to boil. Add the noodles and stir occasionally. For firmer noodles, boil for only 90 seconds. Drain and refresh the noodles with iced water for three to five seconds, then briefly blanch them in boiling water. Add your preferred toppings, sauce or soup, then serve!

True to their promise of being premium noodles, these make for wonton noodles at their best, with a beautifully slippery bounce, without alkaline-heavy artifice. Served dry or with soup, they're equally enjoyable, with a gently, lushly uplifting flavour.

Order at manoodles1964.com/online-store - RM22 gets you six 80-gram portions, RM40 gets you 12 portions. Also available for sale are wanton skins and dumpling skins. Delivery costs RM10 within the Klang Valley (free for purchases over RM100) and RM20 for Ipoh, Penang and Johor (free for purchases RM250). The noodles come in clear vacuum-wrapped packs, in lovely outer packaging.

The shelf life is three to five days in chilled storage (0-4°C), but the noodles can last for up to three months in the freezer. Ma Noodles 1964 prepares each order daily; if you order your noodles to arrive Thursday, they will be freshly made Thursday morning. Ma Noodles 1964 recommends waiting a day before consuming, for the noodles to rest properly.

Many thanks to Ma Noodles 1964 for this peek into its process.

Ma Noodles 1964

Website: manoodles1965.com