2009-01-01

Ottogi "Jjajang Bokki"

Brand: Ottogi
Flavour: Jjajang Bokki
Format: cardboard bowl
Packets: two
Identifiables: noodle frustum, flavour powder, dried veggies
Sodium: 1.26 grams

(Apologies; this review is actually from 2008 December 19. Also, for this review, Diamond – the arctic fox in the photos – insisted on helping, mostly by getting in the way of said photos.)

Ah, another instance of the famed jjajang. I'll admit, I'm assuming the brand based purely on the matching logo, as there was English enough on this bowl for only two things: instructions for preparation, and a warning that hot soup may be hot. Well, if I'm cooking it in boiling water, it bloody well had better be hot!

Similar to the previous Ottogi bowl, this one follows the standard of having four scored areas on the lid easily punctured by any random chopstick to allow the cooked noodles to drain. Different this time is the careful instruction to not drain it completely. "Drain Through The Holes Leaving 4 Spoons (60cc) Of Water, Add Powder Soup Base, Mix Well And Serve." The number of holes is left vague despite their very specific labelling, the number of spoons of water is very specific despite the measure of remaining water being a very vague thing, and the entire passage is typeset in capital letters, including articles. I am not making this up, and I have photographic evidence.

Also, the little Ottogi mascot looks like Vault Boy from the Fallout game series crossed with Big Boy from the restaurant chain. I just thought I should mention that.

The best part of the directions is that they are echoed just under the scored holes, but in three half-length lines of text instead of five full-length lines below. Is the language simply that much more compact and efficient? Are Koreans simply that much less prone to confusion? Is one of those lines perhaps simply ad copy and they're really kicking our butts in the category of language efficiency? I want to know, but I don't want to learn Korean just to find out.

Then again, upon viewing the side of the bowl, there's a heck of a lot more Korean along with icons of just how far one should tip the bowl to achieve the correct amount of remaining liquid. The confusion sets in as I begin to wonder just how much I'm missing. Is there more to read in English? Did I get only page one of the directions? Should I be, I don't know, adding something?

It turns out that, no, I followed the directions properly, even if I did fail to notice that the lid had three (!) table to open it and I tore it a little trying to "pull back to dotted line". It also turns out that unlike the Ottogi jjajang from a packet, this stuff seems too salty, which is incredible considering that the sodium level is pretty much equal. In fact, it's clearly a different dish, a little lacking in flavour by comparison. I'm left wondering why they would reformulate the bowl version to have one fewer packet and inferior taste. If you crave the hearty, beefy taste of jjajang, go with the Ottogi packet or a different bowl.

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 3, heat 1, flavour 2, overall 2
Music: The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - The Shadow Out of Tim - Chapter I: A Marine Biologist

2 comments:

Emilie said...

A fallout fan as well? Ahhh, it sure feels good to be with my own sort on the internet

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