Thai Kitchen "Spring Onion"

Brand: Thai Kitchen
Flavour: Spring Onion
Format: plastic bowl
Packets: three
Identifiables: loose noodles, flavour powder, veggie bits, oniony oil
Sodium: 1.36 grams

I don't like you anymore, Thai Kitchen, and I really wanted to.

For starters, the packaging of this bowl made little sense. The cardboard sleeve had tabs to pull it apart, as though one might wish to reassemble it later for a souvenir. Not even I do that. Then, the thin paper lid to the bowl tears when attempting to lift it, meaning that the attempt to retain a coherent enough lid that it acts like one is a tall order indeed. Then, I had to go digging around in the loose noodles to find the oil packet – which I only knew was in there because the instructions mentioned it – and after all that, it was the sort that needed to be opened very carefully lest it squirt oniony chili oil all over. That stuff is red. It stains.

Furthermore, the packaging tries to plain that the bowl is two servings. I know I let other ramen slide on this because it's sort of endearingly irritating (endearritating!) like a young puppy chewing on one's slippers. This is a product with careful focus-tested package design and flawless English. I want to tell it, "No, you're a big dog now, stop trying to eat my bloody couch!"

The couch-eater – I mean, the ramen bowl – was easy to assemble. Open packets, pour into bowl, four boiling water to line, cover for three minutes, and enjoy. Why do they always put that little assumption there? Enjoy? I'll be the judge of that.

It turns out that it's a very mixed bag in this case. The flavour is actually rather good, if you like lots of onion. I love lots of onion, so this is a real treat. The catch is, the noodles stayed disturbingly firm, and they're short. This means that they're very difficult to pick up with chopsticks because they don't drape and they're slick. Slurping them is right out. A spoon would make it genuinely impossible. What good is an oniony delight if I have to work so hard at eating it? The broth is incredibly satisfying, at least, but I don't think it really salvages the dish on the whole.

As an added note, I'm slightly annoyed because the battery compartment lid on the camera just broke. I might simply tape it in place. I place the blame squarely on you, Thai Kitchen!

Numbers: packaging 2, preparation 2, heat 2, flavour 4, overall 2
Music: Shnabubula - OC ReMix - Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance Behold the Winged Cathedral


Sapporo Ichiban "Kitsune"

Brand: Sapporo Ichiban
Flavour: Kitsune
Format: brick-in-packet
Packets: one
Identifiables: noodle brick, soup base, graham cracker
Sodium: 1.94 grams

All right, it's not really a graham cracker. In person, though, you'd wonder, as it looks like one, feels a bit like one, and even smells a bit like one but saltier. It is most certainly kitsune-flavoured, though.

Here's an explanation, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Fox spirits are said to be particularly fond of a fried sliced tofu called aburage, which is accordingly found in the noodle-based dishes kitsune udon and kitsune soba.

What I have here is, therefore, kitsune ramen. It cooks like most any ramen at the start, if slightly longer; boil 600mL water, cook noodles for five minutes. This is quite a bit of water, but the package claims to be enough to serve three, so it's either too much or not enough. The noodles are wider than usual, but they seem similar to average ramen noodles otherwise. After that, the seasoning and fried tofu block are stirred in and it's all cooked for another thirty seconds before serving. When the cracker – I mean, aburage – was added, it almost immediately began to reconstitute and puff up.

The flavour is a bit difficult to describe. The broth is well-rounded, salty and very slightly spicy but rich with soy and gently spicy. The noodles have a good consistency. The tofu is a bit better than one might expect given its humble dried-slab-in-a-packet nature, but it's also strangely sweet. It's a little difficult to pull apart with chopsticks in the bowl, and it practically begs to be broken into small pieces before it's cooked so one can get a bit of that sweetness spread over many more bites. Still, the dish is well worth the effort.

I don't know if this tastes anything like foxes or fox spirits, but if it does, then I know why they've made themselves so difficult to catch. They'd all be eaten up by now otherwise!

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 2, heat 2, flavour 4, overall 4
Music: Andrew Sega (Necros) - Orchard Street


Indomie "Soto Mie Flavor"

Brand: Indomie
Flavour: Soto Mie Flavor
Format: brick-in-packet
Packets: three
Identifiables: noodle brick, chili powder, flavour powder, seasoning oil
Sodium: 1.36 grams

Today's mini-review covers an Indomie flavour which is slightly baffling. There are only three "sachets", for one thing. The chili powder is expected, the "bumbu sauce" powder packet is usual for Indomie products, but the seasoning oil... was chartreuse. Seriously. The package itself is lime green with a yellow banner, and the seasoning oil splits the difference, which is slightly unsettling.

This is a broth style, as opposed to most of Indomie's other noodles which are a dry style. When I added the seasonings to the cooked noodles, the scent that rose up from the bowl was distinctly fruity. I thought of breakfast cereal, specifically Trix. You know, the obscenely brightly-coloured cereal with the rabbit on the box? It turns out that "Soto Mie Flavor" means "chicken and lime soup" or something to that effect.

It's actually quite tasty.

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 2, heat 3, flavour 4, overall 4
Music: Norio Hanzawa - Bangai-O Spirits (DS) - Forbidden Fruits Rhapsody


A Taste of Thai "Coconut Ginger Noodles"

Brand: A Taste of Thai
Flavour: Coconut Ginger Noodles
Format: cardboard pyramid
Packets: four
Identifiables: rice noodles, coconut powder, spice mix, herb mix
Sodium: 0.91 grams

I know I keep having these month-long gaps in the reviews. That's mostly a good thing, being a combination of staying busy and having rather good leftovers in the fridge to rely on. Today, however, I saw this A Taste of Thai box with its curious inverted truncated pyramid shape and I heard the call.

Next time, I'll let it go to voicemail.

To start with, the directions on the box were slightly erroneous. They assume that removing the packets will leave the noodles in the box, which it turns out is simply not the case as the noodles come in their own packet. Furthermore, they direct to close the carton while microwaving, but a label on the top of the box – annoyingly pasted directly over the opening and locking tab, I'll add – read, "New Box! Revised Microwave Instructions: Keep Carton Open When Cooking." In the interest of total disclosure, I'll add that the punctuation there is my personal touch, as there was none on the package.

One packet contained noodles. Another packet contained three packets; two were opaque silvery things (one with the word "COCONUT" stamped unceremonoiusly on it as though an afterthought) and the third was a small clear packet which appeared to contain marijuana. It turns out, after a cursory glance at the ingredients, that the green stuff was actually coriander leaf. If coriander has been legalised in your state or country, you're welcome to it. I was obligated to partake of mine... purely as a matter of science, of course.

Cooking involved putting a cup of water into the box with the noodles and putting it in the microwave for three minutes. When I opened the microwave afterwards, there was a thin layer of hot water at the bottom of the carousel. I wondered if perhaps a leak had formed. I wondered if the bottom might give out when I lifted the carton. Neither was the case, however, and I stirred in the other packets' contents, marvelling at the amount of white powder which came out of one of them. Coconut is not something to be taken lightly. Another minute of cooking – and a quick wipe of the bottom of the carton – and I had a finished product. What would be the result of such strange machinations?

Truth told, the result was a rather unappealing mass of noodles which couldn't decide whether to stick to the inside of the box or each other, so they obligingly did both. Despite my best attempts, the seasonings weren't quite thoroughtly mixed in. I found it to be an unrewarding dig to the bottom, and one I can't recommend to anyone else. I've had worse, but I didn't pay nearly so much for it.

Numbers: packaging 2, preparation 2, heat 2, flavour 2, overall 2
Music: Malc Jennings - Robocop CPC Zone OC ReMix