KOYO "Seaweed Ramen"

Brand: KOYO
Flavour: Seaweed Ramen
Format: brick-in-packet
Packets: one
Identifiables: noodle brick, flavour powder with seaweed bits
Sodium: 0.79 grams

It's made with organic noodles. It says so right beneath the gigantic word "RAMEN" on the front of the package. I'll admit that I don't give much thought to instant noodles being organic because, frankly, I expect some portion of them to be inorganic. It is, however certified to be organic, so I suppose that's a significant bonus. I'm also assured by the packaging that it's low-fat, and that the charming illustration – not a photograph! – of a bowl of prepared ramen with veggies including star-cut carrots is purely a serving suggestion.

Now I'm imagining that gig. You're a professional freelance illustrator trying to scrape together enough money to afford crappy health insurance and gas for your ailing '87 Honda Accord, and then you finally get a cushy gig... drawing noodles. Just a few squiggles on a page, right? No prob. Except that they want a Japanese-style spoon picking some up, but none can drip over the edge of it. And they want a bowlful beneath that, with cute veggies on top. Cute veggies? Oh, and the seaweed has to be fresh and green-looking, even though you know that reconstituted seaweed looks like a wretched green-black mess. But... you're a professional. Not only can you do this thing, but your bank account practically demands it. If they want cute vegetables, then you'll give them star-shaped carrot slices.

Sorry about the digression. Where was I? Oh, yes. One package, opened to reveal one noodle brick of a slightly lighter-than-usual texture and one large foil packet with no visible notching, pinking, or other means of opening it. The scissors come out and the packaging score drops by a point. A cup and a third of water boils, noodles cook for four minutes – strangely long, but the directions insist – and then the contents of the flavouring packet are mixed in with cheerful orange chopsticks from IKEA.

The verdict? The ramen does indeed taste rather like seaweed and miso, but the texture is that of glutinous, overcooked noodles. It's not bad, but it's not good, either. It simply is, and now it occurs why the cute veggies were requested. They would be the last, greatest hope for a mediocre lunch.

Numbers: packaging 2, preparation 2, heat 1, flavour 2, overall 2
Music: R.E.M. - Green - Orange Crush

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