2010-01-12

Knorr "AsianSides: Teriyaki Noodles"

Brand: Knorr
Flavour: AsianSides: Teriyaki Noodles
Format: paper pouch
Packets: zero
Identifiables: noodle pieces, flavour powder, veggie bits
Sodium: 1.58 grams

This packet bills itself as a side dish, but I know instant noodles when I see them. If the marketroids at Knorr want to pretend that this food is somehow Asian, then it gets a review. Teriyaki flavoured? Definitely.

The first thing I notice on the package – besides the photo of perfect, if truncated, lo mein on the front – is that the cooking directions are simple, but booby-trapped. They start with one and a half cups of water, then immediately suggest a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Even if the word "optional" is right there in parentheses, that's always a little troubling. Is there some need for oil that couldn't have been served by, I don't know, adding more oil to the manufactured noodles, or parhaps a small packet inside like any other instant noodle? Oh, I get it; this is meant not for starving teens in college, but for busy people who are making dinner for other busy people. Of course they have vegetable oil just sitting about, waiting to come to life in a dish! We're supposed to be Alton Brown or something Vegetable oil! Fancy.

I used safflower oil. Hey, no trans fats!

Once the oily water was at a boil, I poured the package contents in. This consisted of noodles, what appeared to be the noodles; weight in flavouring powder, and small withered bits of dehydrated carrots and leeks. The noodles started tumbling in the boiling water, but the vegetables all clumped up at one end and formed an unsettling dark green menace which slowly bubbled toward me. I knew that I had only one hope for survival. I grabbed a spoon and stirred the rapidly rehydrating plant matter in with the rest of the dish. Dispersed that thoroughly, it couldn't possibly retain cohesion enough to strike! That's right... the world saved once more by the Electric Keet's quick thinking.

After seven minutes' simmering, the liquid in the pot had reduced to a thicker sauce-like consistency. It was then that I realised that the (optional) oil was far from (optional); it would mean the avoidance of several minutes of trying to scrape burnt noodles off of the pan. I slid the meal easily into a bowl, and thought... wow, perhaps that really is two servings' worth as the package insists. Then I remembered that I was making lunch, not a side, and I dug in hungrily – after two more minutes' waiting as directed on the package. Seriously, nine minutes of preparation? That's two to three times most instant noodles, and reaching macaroni-and-cheese levels of agonising wait.

The noodles end up having a rather sturdy consistency, which is good but entirely different from ramen. The sauce is nice and satisfyingly thick. The flavour is... well, it's typically American teriyaki sauce, a little too salty and corn-syrup sweet. It wasn't bad, but it felt excessive. Do they think we can't taste things otherwise? It wasn't excessive enough to keep me from finishing the bowl before I finished the review, though, and that's usually a good sign.

The same company making "AsianSides" also makes "PastaSides", "FiestaSides", and "SidesPlus". Those are for different blogs, however.

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 2, heat 0, flavour 3, overall 3
Music: Taro Bando, Hajimi Wakai - F-Zero X (N64) - Dream Chaser

1 comment:

daniskwirl said...

I've never tried their noodles, but I really like Knorr's soup powders (Their vegetable soup mix is a staple in my kitchen). Except for their Asian soup varieties. I tried a few different flavours and they were all kinda bland, even for things like hot and sour soup.

Good to hear their Asian noodles actually have flavour.