Flavour: Chow Mein: Teriyaki Beef Flavor
Format: plastic tray
Identifiables: noodle brick, veggie bits, soup base
Sodium: 1.50 grams
Hot water to the line, three minutes' cooking time
Things to taste, no time to waste – Ramen Rainbow!
I can eat anything!
So come and take a ramen break – Ramen Rainbow!
(apologies to Geordi LaForge)
Let's talk about packaging. Actually, I'll write about packaging and you can read and respond when the post is over, dig?
I could get into the differences in visual style between products meant for overseas markets and products meant for the United States. It'd be interesting to perhaps three of my readers, and really, I'm not quite a graphic design expert, so it'd be absurd. I can go on about the functionality of a package, however, because I have to use it. When I saw that the cooking instructions for this particular dish were printed on the wrinkly cellophone near the seam on the back of the package, I cringed. Good luck getting the wrapper off and keeping those directions intact, Keet.
Amazingly, the cellophane wrapper practically obliged my efforts to open it, and it came apart very neatly right along the seams, leaving the instructions intact. When I flipped the package over, I saw the very same instructions printed both in English and Spanish right on the lid, so even if I'd torn that cellophane open like Cookie Monster, I'd have been just fine. It's almost like somebody actually planned ahead for this. Spooky.
I pulled the lid halfway back (a little tough, but the lid didn't tear apart so it's okay), emptied the packet of dried veggies (they always smell like the pellets one feeds to guinea pigs) into the tray, poured in room-temperature water (as directed, go fig) up to the fill line, and set it to be mauled by microwave energy for six minutes. If only the package had come with a plastic fork included, it would have earned a five, simply because all that was needed was a microwave. Once cooked, I opened the liquid packet and poured it in. There was a little clear liquid – certainly oil – and then a brown ichor which smelled of teriyaki sauce, but not the disgustingly sweet sort. I stirred, then sampled.
Here's where the dish truly wins. The flavour is very well balanced, beefy but soyish but oniony but just a little sweet. The flat noodles are perfectly cooked, a little toothy but not at all crunchy. The vegetables have just enough texture to add variety. About the only way I could think of to improve the dish would be to have a spicier version. Dear friends, I may have to bump yesterday's chajang down a notch. I think, given a choice between the two, I would take this one.
Remember that I found this in a standard supermarket, one of the stores that's basically a Kroger with a different name. You, the reader, can almost certainly find this stuff near you, and possibly even in several places. Buy at least one of these – comparison shop for price if you must – and see for yourself. It's good stuff....
...but, don't take my word for it!
Numbers: packaging 4, preparation 4, heat 1, flavour 5, overall 5
Music: 8bit Betty - Too Bleep to Blop - Reading Rainbow