Image courtesy of One Culture Foods, Inc.
With the popularity of ramen, many food producers have decided to capitalize on Japanese culture with their ching-chong like attempts, which lumps together various Asian ingredients as “ramen.” Well, that is refreshingly not the case with One Culture Foods.
With so many instant noodle companies all claiming to offer the latest in gluten-free, no MSG, and every other buzzword out there, I was surprised to come across One Culture Foods doing it right. Although, what do you expect, they operate out of the San Gabriel Valley, the Asian hood in Los Angeles, aka the 626.
Let’s Get This Out of the Way First
Both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell both do not tout or market themselves as Mexican or Italian restaurants. If you do not believe me, go to any of their websites and try to find the words “Mexican” or “Italian” on any of their marketing collateral, and you won’t blatantly find it.
Well, that can not be said about food producers and the others who contribute to the rhetoric that all these new instant “ramen” brands are Japanese or an alternative to a ramen-ya (a Japanese ramen restaurant).
On the flip side, there are the legit vendors doing birria and ramen, which is badass because they are not using Japanese culture as a marketing ploy. They are simply using ramen (noodles), comprende puto.
One Culture Foods, the Only Non “ching chong” American Brand Out There.
My use of “ching chong” might come off as crass, but that is my classification of anything where there is no understanding or delineation and respect for the various and distinct Asian nationalities and ethnicities people say they are representing when they brand and market their products.
This is How One Culture Foods Gets it Right.
Out of all the food producers I have researched in regards to their knowledge of food and culture, One Culture Foods is the only legit American instant noodle company out there (I mean, they do have the word “culture” in their name). Although that message might fall short because their branding needs a lot of work, which is also why I am going to clear up who they are, what they stand for, and what they are all about.
The Product Line-up.
Right off, looking over One Culture Foods gangsta product line up is a reflection of somebody who knows at the very least the most basic shit about Asian food and culture. If they hadn’t, they would not have been able to come up with such an extensive product line up that is not dumb AF. #respect
- Japanese Spicy Ramen
- Chinese Chicken Noodle
- Taiwanese Beef Noodle
- Vietnamese Beef Pho
- Bone Broth Noodle Cup
- Japanese Miso Ramen
Where they miss the mark (branding as usual, like so many other companies).
The only major nitpick they do not get right is with their lack of branding, which carries on over to their packaging design because it is one of the touchpoints that most of you and I will initially come in contact with.
I see this all too often when the brand manager is not working closely with the creative team, and when this happens, they do not properly communicate the key attributes of the brand. Instead, what you get, is an artsy Frank Lloyd Wright like a stained glass motif that says nothing about the company (why not an LA-based vibe?). Something I see all too often when you let a creative team do whatever they want without proper marketing direction, and they just design something foo foo with no rhyme or reason.
The one good marketing element to make it into their packaging design is that they depict which country the particular product is from.
If you are wondering what difference does it make what food producers do.
It does matter because just like movies, TV shows, or any other medium of popular culture, they often dictate the narrative. From people believing bullets will kill you when you are underwater in Saving Private Ryan (they will not) or having the only Asian representation in movies in the ’80s be a nerdy character named Long Duk Dong (a Chinese sounding name, played by a Japanese actor with a supposedly Korean accent), to having food producers tell you that Japanese ramen is any instant noodle, any broth, and any all ingredients as long as they sound “Asiany (enoki, shiitake, bok choy),” and with an egg.
Oh, and before you tell me that they are just being creative if that were true, why are they not a fusion of African, European, or Latino ingredients, and why just Asian? The answer is, that they are clueless fucktards who do not know the difference between Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, to Japan which is why they all get lumped together.
To top it all off, not all food producers are using a ramen noodle, and their use and naming of their product “ramen” is more akin to these producers associating any all instant Asian noodles as ramen, but they simply will not call their product “instant noodles.” So what you get from the truly egregious food producers are them touting “yay, this is our salmon & bacon teriyaki ramen, tofu Thai red curry cup ramen, and shabu beef pho” which I am quoting one of the biggest fucktard brands that tout this throughout their marketing channels.
Playing to stupid is also why food producers call a burrito or a noodle bowl, a “banh mi” because they are gambling that you have had a banh mi before, but you have no clue what it means. Although the ones that do know that it means “bread” laugh at how stupid that is, but unfortunately, food producers cater to a large portion of our population that DGAF (ignorance is bliss).
So why is this an issue again? It is because of the typical food producer mentality of “we know nothing of your culture or cuisine, but Chinese, Japanese, or whatever (dirty knees), you are all the same to us, but we want to make money off of your culture.” #chingchongnoodles
The problem is compounded by narcissistic “influencers” who will give a food producer a pass all for “likes” and Instafame.
You could be passionate about food, but that does not mean you are an authority on the cuisine or the culture, yet this is an issue I have seen with a number of individuals because they project their myopic American views and limited understanding onto ramen and Japanese cuisine even if they are none the wiser.
Limited understanding does not stop the vast majority of American food producers, bloggers, influencers, to people in general from touting their views. Views claiming that their Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with an egg, a little soy sauce, along with some corn and Chinese bok choy is ramen. Cuz at the end of the day, it’s all about the likes and Instafame.
Although my reason for writing this post is because of YOU. We as consumers and “influencers” need to stop selling out to any Joe, Jim, or Mike hustling their ching chong like products, just for instafame. It is sad that is all it takes which is why so many of these companies have gotten a pass all too long, and it is about time people stop doing anything and everything for these fake as fuck companies. Oh, and if you think I’m being overly critical, just remember the social justice warriors were all for stopping Kim Kardashian and Kanye West from calling/trademarking their new clothing line “Kimono,” yet are nowhere to be found when a million and one food producers do the same shit to food.
Based out of Los Angeles
The SGV (626) is why this company is coming correct, and if you do not know the significance of that, I’ll just let you know that if you are Asian or had grown up in the area regardless of your race, you get why.
In their words:
“we’re more than just your choice for convenient culinary delivery: One Culture Foods is an Asian American brand that aspires to share the foods, flavor, and stories of the Asian American experience.– One Culture Foods
Meet our founder, Hansen Shieh, whose childhood in the San Gabriel Valley— spent chowing down in countless mom-and-pop restaurants and meal prepping with grandma in his family’s kitchen — inspired the diverse flavors of One Culture Foods you see on shelves today. He has just one very important question for you: have you eaten yet?“
I am not getting paid, or given any free product, but I am going to do anything I can to promote One Culture Foods above all else in a sea of stupid (and I’m sure they would pay me not to say anything on their behalf).
Although do not expect me to not say anything because I see this company waging the good fight which is why I can not help but to try and contribute to their efforts.
Another reason why I am motivated to say something is that it is a lot harder to market a product correctly, and many times the companies that take the easy way, which is also cheaper to do, tend to reap the benefits because they play to stupid.
Use Your Influence For All the Right Reasons.
I was thinking if I should have held back on the language because I know how polarizing tone can be, but I can’t help it when I see companies so blatantly disrespectful. They put absolutely no effort towards the food or the culture they say they are representing, so how could anybody support these companies?
Well you do support them if you are buying their product, and it takes people like yourself to call out these moronic food producers. This is why I am relying on you to “wake the eff up” (oh sorry, your eyes are open) and to help monitor where you spend your dollars because these competing companies see all Asians as one homogenous group of “ching chongs,” EXCEPT ONE CULTURE FOODS! Thank you One Culture Food for not being fucktards.
Now to actually try their product, I hope their Japanese Spicy Ramen doesn’t suck (review coming soon). EDIT 8/28/20: I highly recommend that I try the product prior to my rants, but oh well, check out the review here.