Flavour: Chinese Onion Flavor
Identifiables: noodle cloud, oniony oil, flavour sand, dried chives
Sodium: 0.88 grams
This being the bonus ramen I got with my Ramenbox order, it only made sense that I review it first, yes? It's of a brand I've never even seen before, which is a huge bonus and a sight for this noodle blogger's sore eyes.
The packet's look is basically a primer in imported ramen visual design:
- solid fields in bright primary colours – no gradients here!
- poorly-kerned text in myriad fonts (not Myriad, which is one specific font) – I count seven, not including two for the company logotypes and one for the bar code
- near-inexplicable line art – the fellow on front is clearly making ramen, but the directions on back look like a four-year-old's drawing of toaster pastries and a UFO
- overhead photo of dolled up ramen – this one's got all kinds of meaty-looking stuff and a pea-pod! I'll have what they're having....
- inner packets haven't a lick of English on them – not that this matters because they all go in at the same time
Turning this pale ivory cloud of gossamer rice threads into lunch is fairly straightforward. It starts with two cups of boiling water, though it's here that I trip up. Two cups of what size? This would seem to be eight ounces, but I've also seen packages give a metric equivalent that worked out to six ounces per cup (as in teacups) so I erred toward the latter, expecting that the worst to happen would be over-strong broth. The directions proceed: cook for three minutes (and the package notes specifically, don't overcook them) then stir in the contents of the well-pinked packets and serve. One packet holds a semi-solid oil with gritty bits in it, and I recognise this as being the same oniony oil experience so often in other instant noodle packages. The other holds what looks like sand but is certainly flavouring powder and salt, along with dried chives. Once stirred into the just-boiled noodles and broth, the oil and sand dissolve nicely and the chives reconstitute.
The result did turn out to be a strong, salty broth and perfectly-cooked rice noodles. In fact, the noodles fell apart just right to be picked up in small wads by the chopsticks provided by Ramenbox — and only once writing this did I realise that I'd neglected to photograph the completed cooked product, so instead I took a picture of what little was left over. You get the idea; imagine that but more of it, but only for a brief time. I found myself eagerly slurping up the simple, slightly-peppery onion broth and noodles with the sort of zeal that belongs only to the good stuff. When I find myself wanting another bowl right after the first, that's how you know it's a winner, friends, and this one is a winner. Even more so, it's what Lucky Me! was trying to be and completely failed at.
This just goes to show that even taking into account the "free food tastes best" phenomenon, good stuff can come in generic, unremarkable packages.
Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 2, heat 1, flavour 4, overall 4
Music: DOKAKA - We Love Katamari (PS2) - Katamari on the Rocks