Released last year by New York-based pasta company Sfoglini after three years of research and development by James Beard Award-winning podcast host Dan Bachmann, Cascatelli was an instant hit with carb connoisseurs and sold out almost immediately.
Inspired by the Italian word for waterfall, the new pasta shape is designed to hold more sauce than other pastas — exactly what was also designed for a new offering from cult-favorite ramen manufacturer A-Sha.
Created by the AAPI-owned brand using a patented double blade that cuts through the textured edges that allow the sauce to cover the entire surface of the noodles, the Meteor Noodle has more than twice the surface area of A-Sha’s signature noodles. Thick pasta with a slightly chewy bite, Meteorite 3D is made with only wheat, salt and water and then air dried for 18 hours.
“These meteorite noodles are so thick that they resemble bucatini from the noodle world,” A-Sha founder Yong Chang told InsideHook. “Chopsticks are great but sometimes I like to eat these pasta with a fork because it works best.”
The five-edged noodles were eventually named because of their resemblance to a shooting star, and were unknown for some time during the development process, according to Chang. “Meteor Noodle was always the idea, but we had a few last moments with it. We tried calling it a star shaped noodle because it has five edges but no one can tell us that because I think we’re used to seeing things like spaghetti, as he says. “People were literally expecting a star shape to come out. Then we started calling it 3D pasta. So it got a little confusing. At the end of the day, we were like, ‘Let’s stick to what it was.'” It’s Noodle Meteor as a reference for the star shape and we can kind of build a story around that. “
For Chang, who left a high-paying job at Warner Bros. To get into the ramen business, staying true to the 100-year-old Taiwanese A-Sha noodles recipe was important, but doing something innovative in what became kind of stagnant. Space was also a priority.
“Everyone has a preconceived notion of what ramen noodles look like. This is not the fault of the customer because that is all the industry has given them,” Chang told InsideHook. “We wanted to revolutionize the world of ramen by using a two-blade technology instead of a single cutting blade. It created a 3D effect on the noodles itself creating more surface area. More surface area means more sauce. Because of the shape, the bite on that noodle is very different from No other ramen noodles out there. We loved it so much, we patented the blade technology.”
Paired with a new sauce made from fermented soybean paste, Meteor is a way for A-Sha to differentiate itself from its competition in the instant ramen market that has become increasingly crowded since Chang launched its US operations in 2015.
“Despite the progress we’ve made and the amount of market penetration we’ve had, we can’t go on with that anymore because there are so many new startups offering protein-packed pasta, gluten-free pasta and all of that stuff,” he says. “We have to keep innovating and looking for opportunities so that we can stay on the cutting edge of the industry. The development of the Meteor Noodle goes way beyond tradition, but I feel that’s what the market wants. We are willing to take risks and I think people are ready. Everyone is looking for new spins on the classics. old, right?”
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