Cream of Wheat "Instant: Original Flavor"

Brand: Cream of Wheat
Flavour: Instant: Original Flavor
Format: paper packet
Packets: zero
Identifiables: loose farina
Sodium: 0.16 grams

Sometimes, one will spot a ramen which is clearly meant explicitly for the American market. It will seem to prepare like any other instant noodle, but the packaging will have Western sensibilities and the flavour of the stuff will bear almost no resemblance to Eastern cuisine. This was such a case. From the cheerful chef pictured on the box to the stalks of wheat also pictured on the box, the packaging sets the seasoned instant noodle eater ill at ease. Merely one solid colour for the background? Where is the photo of the expanse of noodles accompanied by meats and vegetables of all sorts? Even Samyang Ramen had that much.

It turns out that the box contained twelve packets within it, each an individual portion. I knew from the size that I was probably buying a multi-pack, but I didn't realise how small the individual packets inside were; twenty-eight grams is less than half the size of even the smallest ramen packets! I opened one up – easily, even without any sort of pinking on the packet – to find that rather than noodles, it contained what appeared to be coarse-ground wheat with nothing indicating additional spices, herbe, or vegetable matter. Undeterred, I boiled two-thirds of a cup of water as directed.

At first, when I poured the water over the fine sand-like pile in my bowl, it appeared for all the world like... wet sand. Chopsticks – even from IKEA – would not do for this, so I grabbed a plastic spoon to help. After a minute of stirring, however, the product soaked up all the water until it had a sort of gritty paste-like consistency reminiscent more of grits than ramen. Hesitant but unwillign to back down from a challenge, I spooned some up.

The very short cook time is definitely in its favour, but because it's not fried, it has less flavour than one would expect from even unadorned wheat noodles from Nissin or Ottogi. In no way was it bad, but it simply doesn't have anything to recommend it when there are incredibly enjoyable flavours to be had. It turns out, from looking over the box more carefully, that there are other flavours including such things as "cinnamon swirl" and "strawberries 'n cream". As unusual as ramen varieties have been, even the sweetest of them still held firmly to the savoury camp. Fellow noodle lovers... I simply don't think America is ready for this product.

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 2, heat 1, flavour 2, overall 2
Music: The Who - Who's Next - Won't Get Fooled Again


Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

I love you. XD

Anonymous said...

Damn it, this is the second thing I've taken directly at face value today.

Electric Keet said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this review!

I love you too.. .and all my loyal readers! (But especially you, what with the blue hair and all.)

It's well known that I have no sense of humour and demand to be taken seriously. This review was completely serious! (Of course it was.)

E. Kellner said...

Cream of wheat is especially delicious with almost any combination of a little sugar, salt, butter, and/or milk. One of my faves. Omnomnom!