2010-01-19

Ve Wong "Mì Bò Hu'o'ng Cay Kháu Vị (Artificial Peppered Beef Flavor)"

Brand: Ve Wong
Flavour: Mì Bò Hu'o'ng Cay Kháu Vị (Artificial Peppered Beef Flavor)
Format: brick-in-packet
Packets: two
Identifiables: noodle brick, oily sludge, veggie bits, flavour powder
Sodium: 1.71 grams

Today, I wanted to get one more review in before I'm on holiday for a week. I dug around the Ramenbox I received, looking for one of the scarier packets... just for you, my valued readers.

There's a backwards cultural conditioning we have which insists that "natural" is better than "artificial". Food science has come a long way, hwoever, so this isn't always the case. Artificial flavourings were one primitive mockeries of their inspirations. Now, the artificial can sometimes taste even better to us than the original because it's consistent, controllable, and much less likely to turn or spoil. Still, people have their old habits, and that's why most packaging downplays the presence of artificial flavours as much as the law will allow. Ve Wong takes a different approach. They come right out and say, "This flavour is artificial peppered beef. You'll like it." The question is... will I?

The unusually shiny packet has silver-finish areas in the background and a very modern-looking grid which may be orange to signify beef, or may simply be orange because it's cheerful. How frequently does one see words bearing two apostrophes, outside of dubious fantasy novels? Frequently, when one is reading Vietnamese; that explains the odd title of this post (which may or may not show up properly, depending.) The package also has plenty of Chinese on it, which means your humble ramen-blogger has no hope of translating it. The Vietnamese, though, works out to "fragrant plant beef flavour noodle," I think. That's close enough to "peppered beef" for me!

The packet's contents are slightly thicker than the average. There are plenty of noodles inside, in a brick which seems slightly more cooked on one side than the other. That seems natural enough. One of the inner sachets is labelled "flavouring oil" and contains a grainy, orange-and-brown oil mixture with a strange vaguely-beefy scent. The other sachet holds light-coloured powder and dessicated veggies of varied types. It's all as straightforward as the average ramen, except that the directions for cooking include both in-the-pot (boil everything together with two cups of water for two minutes) and in-the-bowl, which I followed. That simply meant opening all the ingredients into the bowl, adding two cups of boiling water, and letting stand covered for three minutes. Who don't more ramen packets have these sort of instructions? They'd make my life much easier.

The results? Yet again, I finish lunch before the review's done, and even completely forget to get a photo of the finished product. The noodles have a good texture and slurp easily. The broth is a bit on the salty and oily side, but slightly spicy, full of convincingly beefy flavour and satisfying bits of cabbage and such. Dark brown bits of flavoured soy protein added the visual effect of beef in the dish, but little texture. Overall, there's nothing to fear from the artificial flavouring, and I recommend this ramen rather highly.

Corporate shill postscript: Remember, if you want to order some, head to Ramenbox and look for it there. Use the coupon code "CHEAPERTHANFOOD" to get it for ten percent off!

Numbers: packaging 3, preparation 3, heat 2, flavour 4, overall 4
Music: Nintendo Sound Team - Yoshi's Cookie (SNES) - High-Speed Baking Action!

4 comments:

Jason said...

So, just how artificial is this "beef"? Can I hope for "so artificial, even a vegetarian can love it?"

Jessie Tracer / Electric Keet said...

Jason:
In fact, you can love it as much as you like. I see nothing on here which speaks to any real beef – or any other critter, for that matter.

Howard said...

Great post! I can't get enough of your writing Jessie. To the point, yet funny and artistic. Personal, even. Keep it up!

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