Flavour: Sanukiya Udon: Katsuo
Format: cardboard bowl
Identifiables: noodle loaf, soup base, veggie bits, fish bits
Sodium: 1.52 grams
I've got my ramen, I've got my ramen
I'd like a million noodles all around my bowl
I want my chopsticks to eat my ramen
So it can warm me up from inside as well
It's got my slurping up and slurping down
And slurping in and slurping 'round
Stumped? Wait for it....
A week's gap? Well, I was a little gun-shy after some adventures a few days ago when my stomach seemed to rebel after eating that last batch of ramen. Might have been the change in weather, might have been canola oil (I think I'm slightly allergic to it!) but whatever it was, it's all okay now and I'm not deterred from this job at all. Well, okay, I was a bit concerned – what if I had to give up ramen? – but I get the feeling that things are gonna be all right.
Well, okay, I had that feeling, then I opened up today's ramen bowl. I bought the thing at World Market, which prides itself on having overpriced goods from all over the globe. Normally I stick to getting Australian ginger beer and then getting the heck out of there before I spend my paycheck on furniture from Cambodia or something, but I saw this and I had to know.
Let's start with the obvious. There are four pouches. One has what I've termed a "noodle loaf", which is to say a vaguely rectangular mass of pre-cooked thick noodles. The others have standard liquid soup base, pretty good veggie bits (with little round things like naruto but plain pink-outlined white circles instead, I'm sure those have some fancy name), and fish flakes. Not fish food, of course, but dry flaked fish, like the seafood equivalent of bacon bits. The ingredients list that packet as having tuna, bonito, and anchovy. Yum!
The noodle packet was more difficult to open than I'd have liked. It had a tear-notch, but in my attempt to tear across without mangling the semi-brittle noodles too much more than they already had been, I ended up tearing off only one corner, which is insufficient to get the loaf out of the plastic. Another attempt ripped half the plastic off the front, but still not enough of an opening. Such comedy! I didn't reach for scissors, so it's not down to a rank two for packaging, but the bowl would have gotten a four if not for that absurdity. Pretty much the same happened with the soup base packet, and... I don't want to talk about it.
I added hot water up to the line – marked on the outside, but also ridged on the inside – and stuck the mass into the microwave for three minutes. Strangely, the directions insist on not adding the dried ingredients to the bowl before cooking, but after. I'll never understand why. Once nuked, I added the veggies and fish to the bowl and stirred. As expected, it smelled of soy and fish and veggies, but in a really tasty way. The result was soup: brown broth, large friendly noodles, tasty-looking veggies, and fish which kind of dissolved into bits that stick to the noodles as they are lifted up out of the bowl, which is perfect. Also, some of the veggies turned out to be soy crists which had bloated into nasty amoeboid sponges with a texture I simply didn't care for. Oh well.
I dunno what's with the package art. It's two guys with weird hair testing the tensile strength of noodles by pulling them from cups of Pepsi drawn from a washtub or something. I will say that the whole noodle bowl experience does taste pretty good and feels fairly authentic, though not quite worth the five bucks or whatever it was I paid for the bowl.
I'm eating Japanese, I think I'm eating Japanese, I really think so
Eating Japanese, I think I'm eating Japanese, I really think so
Yeah, I went there.
Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 4, heat 1, flavour 4, overall 4
Music: The Vapors - New Clear Days - Turning Japanese