Tsue Chong Company History
Founded in 1917 by Great-Grandfather Gar Hip LouieTsue Chong Company is a manufacturer and distributor of Rose Brand Chinese noodles and fortune cookies for Asian restaurants and grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon).
The company was founded in 1917 by great-grandfather Gar Hip Louie in a small storefront located on South Jackson Street in Seattle’s Chinatown. At the time there were several Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood but no local noodle supplier. Noodles along with rice are some of the primary dietary items for the Chinese, so Gar Hip saw a business opportunity and started a noodle factory using the finest ingredients of wheat flour, eggs, water, and salt. Today, we are still making noodles with the same finest ingredients without chemical preservatives or anything artificial. Unlike Ramen or Cup of Noodles, Tsue Chong manufactures a gourmet noodle where the end user adds their own soup broth, meat, vegetables or stir-fry ingredients.
Back in the olden days, Gar Hip started the business with hand cranked noodle machines similar to the home pasta machines used today. After mixing the 4 ingredients, pellets of “play-doh” like dough are forced through steel rollers to form a long flat sheet of dough and then shredded into noodles (similar fashion as a paper shredder).
Six years later in 1924, Gar Hip’s son, grandfather Fat Yuen Louie, took over the business and moved its location to 8th and King Street. In 1992, the business expanded to its current 38,000 sq. ft. building on 8th and Weller.
With the help of modern technology, motor driven steel rollers are used to manufacture noodles today. Currently, Tsue Chong manufactures over 17 different lines of noodle products from the four basic ingredients of flour, salt, water and eggs. These range from wide noodles (fettuccini style) to skinny thin noodles (angel hair). Changing the shredding rollers and thicknesses of the dough sheets will result in the different noodle products. Sheets of dough can also be rolled into such a thinness where it can be stacked, cut into squares and used for dumpling wrappers. These are the wonton wrappers, egg roll wrappers and potsticker (gyoza) wrappers.
In addition to selling the noodles fresh, we also process our noodles by frying, drying, and steam cooking.
Grandmother Eng Shee Louie Pioneers Fortune Cookies
In the 1950’s, fortune cookies began to gain popularity in the U.S. Fortune cookies are an American invented product associated with the Chinese culture. Fortune cookies were not invented in China or Hong Kong. As a matter of fact, even restaurants in Canada do not serve fortune cookies after a Chinese meal.
Grandmother Eng Shee Louie was one of the pioneers in manufacturing fortune cookies here at Tsue Chong. During this time, Tsue Chong was already manufacturing noodles and distributing them throughout the Pacific Northwest. So Eng Shee Louie decided to manufacture fortune cookies and distribute them along with the noodles. Fortune cookies are a totally different product than our Chinese noodles and use a different set of ingredients.
Grandma Louie’s original recipe of pastry flour, sugar, vanilla flavoring, eggs, water and coconut oil is mixed into a pancake batter consistency. The batter is then dispensed onto griddles with a cover (much like a waffle iron without the grids) the cookies are then baked in an oven. The fortune cookie machines had 48 griddles on a revolving turntable and as the turntable spun, it would take the cookies through a gas heated oven.
When the baking was finished, the covers would pop open and reveal a very thin pancake-shaped cookie. The cookies were then quickly stuffed with a fortune and folded into its famous shape by hand before they cooled and hardened. Grandma Louie and her crew worked rapidly, producing about 13 cookies per minute per machine. Today, the same recipe is used by high-speed fortune cookie machines that produce 6 cookies every 3 seconds and cranks out 120 cookies per minute or 7,200 per hour per machine!!! In total, we bake more than 80,000 cookies daily with the ability for more if needed. Grandmother Louie would have been so pleased.
Commitment to Old-Fashioned Quality and Service
Today, Tsue Chong is still owned and operated by the 4th generation Louie family and continues to invest in the modernization of our processes and equipment. Above all else, however, we are deeply committed to the old-fashioned quality, freshness and service reputation that the Louie family has earned over the span of nearly a century.