2008-11-14

Nong Shim "Doong Ji"

Brand: Nong Shim
Flavour: Doong Ji
Format: plastic tray
Packets: two
Identifiables: noodle disc, veggie and fish bits, chili sauce
Sodium: 1.06 grams

This blog, this adventure into instant noodles, has been a heck of a ride so far. Expectations have been defied at every turn, and I've experienced some interesting foods I might never have known before. It is in this theme of discovery and wonder that I present today's ramen.

First, the package clearly states that Doong Ji is "Authentic Korean Cold Noodles in Chili Sauce", with the "Chili Sauce" part in larger type and in boldface. They consider this very important. In fact, the package has many strange points to make. On the back, there's an explanation that Nong Shim keeps to traditional methods (Ripe Korean pears and freshly crushed red peppers are aged to perfection for seven days... fascinating!) and something about air-drying the noodles to maintain firmness. The package also claims that the noodles are convenient because they're packaged in single servings, directly contradicting the nutrition facts label which insists that the servings number two. Also interesting is that the package is rather specific about how to boil the noodles. There are warnings about keeping the heat low when boiling so the water doesn't boil over, and how to keep the noodles from boiling over, and various thigns that all seem like elementary parts of cooking.

I opened the outer wrapper. This was not so simple a matter as it should have been, mostly because the single notch for tearing open the package would have guaranteed the destruction of the directions; I instead opened one end as I might a package of cookies. (Mmm, cookies.) Inside, I found a thin plastic tray containing a dark brown noodle disc (!) and two packets. The tray didn't seem sturdy nor smooth enough to be a serving dish; instead, it was primarily to keep the noodle disc from being crushed, I would assume. One packet held veggie-and-fish bits. The other packet, completely opaque, held some sort of liquid, and had the directions for cooking repeated on the back... in Korean. I shrugged (as is often necessary in this business) and set to preparation.

I understand now why there were all those warnings. For some reason, these noodles are indeed prone to causing some pretty impressive boiling. Three minutes later, I found myself draining the noodles in a strainer because I was afraid to lose the vegetables, especially given several cycles of rinsing to get the noodles cold, which always seems a little bizarre. Cold noodles? I just cooked this stuff, and now I'm... what, uncooking it? You got to be hot before you can be cool!

The noodles and un-dessicated (ressicated?) veggies and fish went into a bowl, and I poured the sauce packet over it all. The scent was instant and recognisable. I stirred, quickly, and sampled some of the thin, cold noodles. My theory was confirmed. A better way to quickly describe the flavour is this: Imagine that I took a bowl with some slightly-sweeter-than-usual kimchi and mixed in cold wheat noodles and a few bits of salted fish. That's what I had in my hands, dear friends, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was ecstatic. I've always loved the flavour, and I had just gotten it from a shelf-stable package of instant noodles!

The thing is, it took somewhat more prep than I'm accustomed to for an instant noodle lunch. In fact, nearly all the convenience of a packet of ramen was lost, save the single-serving amounts; I had to involve a pot, a strainer, a bowl, and my own chopsticks for this ramen! That really does bring the overall score down, along with the sense that the thin-but-firm texture of the noodles is wrong somehow. Still, I feel that anything else which claims to be kimchi-flavoured noodle will pale by comparison, and that's worth a lot. Don't think of it as a convenient lunch, merely one that you can keep around for days in which you have time to cook but not to buy fresh ingredients.

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 2, heat 5, flavour 4, overall 4
Music: The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - Are You A Hypnotist??

8 comments:

zzzimverysleepy said...

I just cooked this and the flavor and texture give me a weird feeling. It is like eating spicy gummy candy or jello. Then after eating, I googled the brand name and found your site it is very interesting.

Jessie Tracer / Electric Keet said...

Korean food is chock-full of delightfully unique flavours and textures. It's certainly not to be mistaken for the typical Americanised Cantonese food people tend to think of as "Asian". It's a real adventure.

Also, thanks for reading! I generally add one or two reviews a week (barring extended pauses.)

Amy P. said...

I came across ur post about the doong ji noodle after just eating a pack myself. I wonder how ur noodle tasted like but I think you were missing a step in preparation. The sauce is meant to be diluted with cool water till the water line indicated on the plastic tray, quite a multi purpose tray in deed. The cold noodle is meant to have cold soup consisted of diluted sauce...

one of Fae's humans said...

like others before, i stumped upon this blog after making these noodles myself. as far as i'm aware, there are two different varieties of these noodles: "chili sauce" and "chilled broth".

i just wanted to point out that while this blog entry is about the "chili sauce" version, Amy P's comment refers to the "chilled broth" version that i'm currently eating.

it's definitely an interesting dish. :)

Anonymous said...

We are drunkenly eating these cold noodles as I write and I swear they are so delicious. The pear is delicious. It has a zingy fruity ka pow to it!!!

יוסף מזלטוב בן אברהם said...

Like most came across this article after making the dish myself. Mine is the "chilled broth" variety and had microwave directions.

Title on the Nongshim brand "Doong Ji, Authentic Korean Cold Noodles in Chilled Broth.

Price $1.99

It comes with 3 packets instead of two as noted in the article.

Included in the package:
1. Buckwheat Noodle Nest
2. Seasoning Flakes
3. Broth Concentrate
4. Mustard Sauce

Microwave directions:

1. Put noodles and seasoning flakes in microwavable bowl with 3 cups of water for 6 minutes.

2. In a strainer, thoroughly rinse the cooked noodles under cold water and drain.

3. Place the noodles in a bowl and pour the prepared broth over it.

4. Add the mustard sauce and enjoy.

Note this dish has NO MSG (unlike MOST noodle dishes) and NO shrimp and NO pork(unlike some noodle dishes).

Being an intense fan of Kimchi (NO MSG and NO shrimp Kimchi) this particular variety has no similarity to Kimchi what so ever but it is the best tasting instant noodle dish I have ever found. I like the cold noodles and found the overall taste complex yet enjoyable in it's simplicity.

I greatly look forward to trying the "chili sauce" version, written about in this article.

This noodly dish does meet some basic things I always look for:

1. NO MSG
2. NO Shrimp
3. NO Pork

Then this noodly dish far exceeds my expectations of an instant noodle type pre-packaged food product. Once prepared properly it is amazing and does not taste like it came from an inexpensive pre-packaged product.

Anonymous said...

BEST NOODLES EVER

can't see what is your problem ;)

I guess different ppl different tastes. I love the other flavour the most though- it is simply called chilled broth (I eat them with adding silken tofu cubes-yummmm!).

Was just looking at the ways to ship them to my country cause I moved and they don't sell them here (that's how desperately I like them)!!! Somehow I came across your blog.

Anyway, you have an example of an (European!) person here for whom these are one of the best things I have ever eaten!

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